The Bible Belt Needs Jesus

The Bible Belt needs Jesus.

But not the one the Christians there are always selling, not the one they love to preach so loudly about, not the one they trumpet from the stage and the platform and on social media.

They don’t need the walk the aisle, say a prayer, and get out of Hell kind of Jesus. That Jesus is too easy. That Jesus requires no further work. That Jesus is convenient and accommodating to their lifestyle. That Jesus allows them to leave no differently than when he arrived. That Jesus serves them salvation on a silver platter and asks nothing in return. That Jesus justifies their prejudices and consents to their violence.

The Jesus these Christians need, is the Jesus of the Gospels; the one who gets all up in your personal business, who turns over tables in the sacred temples of your greed and hypocrisy, who demands that you give half a damn about the poor and the hungry around you—enough to give all that you have for their care.

They need the homeless, poor, dark-skinned, foreigner Jesus who shunned opulence and denounced power and defended the marginalized, so that they remember where they came from and where they’re supposed to be walking toward in this life.

They need the Jesus who said, “You cannot serve both God and money.” Mt 6:24
The one who said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.” Mt 5:38-39
The one who said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Mt. 5:9
The one who said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Mt 5:43-44

They need the Jesus who healed on the Sabbath—to remind them that hurting people matter more than showy religious pageantry.
They need the Jesus who dined with the street rabble—to remind them that privilege and position don’t denote moral worth.
They need the Jesus who washed filthy feet—to remind them of the holy ground of humble service.

They need the Jesus who prepared a meal for the multitudes—to remind them that we feed people not because we believe they deserve it, but because they’re hungry.

The capricious, grudge-holding, angry white Jesus is doing them harm.
The cosmic vending machine Jesus who doles out blessing and saves them from damnation isn’t enough for these Christians.
Bible Belt Jesus is a God made in their fearful, bitter image—and he is failing them.
He isn’t transforming their hearts or their neighborhoods or the world around them, because he makes this planet largely irrelevant:

Caring for the environment is of little concern to them because it’s all a fallen world they’re eventually looking to escape anyway.
The threat of nuclear war doesn’t terrify them because it simply hastens them meeting their Maker. 
The suffering of people here and now doesn’t fully move them because they see these people as only damned souls to be saved after they die.

There is a cold, detached callousness marking so much of the Bible Belt religion in America. It’s a faith system that conveniently justifies personal gluttony and greed, while questioning the morality of those who may be suffering or in want. It’s a cause-and-effect, reward-based, pull yourself up by your own bootstraps Christianity that bears almost no resemblance to Christ at all.

And that is why they so desperately need Jesus; for the holy here and now they are missing and the flesh and blood humanity made in God’s image who they no longer seem at all concerned with this side of the Afterlife.   

Conservative white Christians in the heart of this country so desperately need the compassionate, sacrificing, suffering servant Jesus to transplant the stony hearts that allow them to live with contempt for those on the margins; for the sick and the invisible, for those with head coverings and brown skin, for those whose roads may have been far more difficult than their own.

When he walked the planet, Jesus did far more than simply give an altar call and stamp sinners for Heaven. If he hadn’t, the Gospels would be far shorter and simpler. Instead, they give us an expansive, complex, explicitly beautiful picture of the way we are to live this life:

We are called to live oriented toward others:

We are called to live passionately in pursuit of love and justice and equality.

We are called to live not to avoid Hell or to escape this world, but to bring Heaven down to it.

Conservative Christians need to recover and incarnate this Jesus so that others can see it, so that they can be touched by hands that heal and serve and restore in his likeness. They need this Jesus to step into their politics and their preaching and their churches. They need this Jesus to renovate them into something resembling him so that the word Christian can again be a source of restoration and not damage.

Ironically, the Bible Belt needs the Jesus of the Bible.

And please don’t get me wrong, I know that I fully and desperately need this Jesus too. 

But knowing is a good place to begin.


255 thoughts on “The Bible Belt Needs Jesus

  1. Absolutely, although I can hear the screaming comments already. In this world those who use power and wealth to destroy others can be seen in every color. In America the faces are mostly white and I honestly feel they act in the opposite way that belies the fact they call themselves Christian, which means they believe in Jesus Christ.

    • I suspect what they really believe in is a “quick and dirty” fire insurance policy, got that covered, and then they forget about Jesus and the things of Jesus for the rest of their lives. That is what the Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals actually sell—little “Quicky Salvation Packages” that are easy to “ho-hum,” forget about because the issue is “covered,” and never really follow Jesus. I guess those would be the seeds that fall on bad ground or get choked by the weeds.

  2. Wow, the level of smug condescension and bigotry rises with every one of these blog posts. His broad stereotyping reveals that the author either hasn’t met many conservative Christians or just chooses to only hear the handful of nasty ones. By “need Jesus,” the author means white conservative Christians need to abandon Christ’s clear teachings concerning Himself, adopt all tenants of the new moral orthodoxy, become mouthpieces for a crusty old Marxism that has never worked, and join the snobby Western progressive elites as they fade further and further into insanity and irrelevancy.

    No thanks. I’ll stick with the faith once for all delivered to the saints and the Jesus of Scripture.

    • K. Let’s do some reading together then, shall we?

      Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. (1 John 4:20)

      Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. (1 Corinthians 13:4-5)

      Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2 )

      Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray. (Proverbs 10:17)

      • You are correct 1st Corinthians 13 tells the whole story. Unfortunately 1st Corinthians 13 is so what I have not seen out of Evangelical Christians in all of this. So much so that I while keeping my faith in the Lord, I really do not wish to be associated with them because of the hatred they have shown toward every group including Christians who don’t specifically agree with everything as they see it. And the worst part of it all is that in their hatred they fail to see how they turn people away from Christ and pollute one of the most important causes Christ gave us specifically to do while we are here, to bring others to Him

        • Sorry, I am a conservative evangelical Christian. Never can you say all Evangelicals are this or that. Or that about any group. That makes you what you are complaining about. Good and bad in any group. At 74 I moved to a new city. The members of my church welcomed me and made sure we acclimated ourselves to our new area. My church welcomes everyone. We are in our community helping many each month.

    • Dear Jon:

      Some see more transformational potential in applied Marxism than in what passes as ‘once-for-all-faith-delivered’ churches.

      Marx said that religion is the opiate of the masses.

      Given that many so-called ‘faithful’ congregations consistently apply their antidotes to direct eyes away from social consciousness, some find themselves demonstrating the point of Marx’ dictum even as they deny it.

      • This is because “progressive Christianity” is an altogether different religion than Christianity. Cultural transformation is not the ultimate goal of Christianity, even as Christians are certainly called to love our neighbors and enemies and seek cultural change. You can hold to whatever old disproven political theories you want, but you can’t chastise Christians as unloving for disagreeing with you on politics. How many hospitals, soup kitchens, charitable organizations, missions, etc. do you think would exist without all those mean, old, unloving conservative Christians? Not many I’m afraid.

        • Oh yes we can. You guys believe the Christian faith is NOTHING BUT evangelism and a quick and dirty fire insurance policy. You just give lip service to the other half of Christianity that is widely addressed in the New Testament. As Jesus said, “These people honor me with their lips, but there hearts are far from me.” But hey, I like the very accurate definition of Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism that an on-line friend of mine made after years of observing it:

          “Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism are forms of faith from which all real love has been drained away.”

          Jesus and the Apostle Paul talk a lot about love in the New Testament—and they mean what they say. You people spit on it, and if you cannot cover it with enough of your spit, you try to desperately redefine it out of existence because you have no use for it–and the thought of doing it frightens you.

          One thing I like about the Roman Catholic Church, which also knows what scum buckets you fundie people are—is that they take salvation by grace through Jesus, loving one’s neighbor by actions rather than lip service, and social justice with equal gravity—and they do something about all three.

          I cannot tell you how many Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals (including preachers) have told me that they hate the Roman Catholic Church and that it is a worldwide system of evil that God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit hate because it is under the exclusive control of Satan. I may not agree with Roman Catholics like Joe on every little theological point, but they have you fundies beat by 300,000,000 miles because they take the WHOLE New Testament gospel very seriously. If that is Satanism and apostasy, then sign me up!!!!

        • Dear Jon:

          As the ultimate goal, inhabiting a new heaven and earth as new creations in Christ is plenty transformational. So it’s less than clear to me what YOU mean by ‘Christianity’ as opposed to an ‘altogether different religion’ which you say ‘progressive [whatever THAT means] Christianity’ is. Nor is the ‘Christian’/non-Christian ratio of hospitals/missions at issue. But my [1:46 pm, – ] post citing Mic. 6:8 very much IS at issue.

          Micah first requires ‘mishpat’ [justice] and then hesed [loving-kindness/mercy]’ and so to walk humbly with our God. Why?

          It prohibits offering up hesed [hospitals, soup kitchens, charity, missions, etc.] and on that basis absolving ourselves of the requirement to ‘do mishpat.’ It prevents claiming voluntarily offered mercy as full obedience while leaving untouched and excluding YHWH from the issues of justice from which our social privilege is derived.

          Yes, we love hesed [voluntary kindness]! But meddle with mishpat [justice/social privilege] and … well. You know.

          While US history reads like an illustrated version of a Marxian study in class repression, we are indeed free to endorse any political theory we want. We DON’T get to cite examples of hesed and claim we have therefore done mishpat.

          For the last 100 years, anti-socialism has enjoyed the status of a state religion. Even though readers are not familiar with the socialist program, many will find that for them, the right to quality education, health care, housing, diet, work and eventual retirement with dignity approximate far more closely the idea of the kingdom of God.

          When we come to Christ, we get not only a king, but also a kingdom in which the King defines relations between subjects. Today, what passes as ‘gospel’ is Gnosticized blasphemy which projects kingdom ENTIRELY into the eschatological realm in the hope that we can claim Christ as ‘savior’ but align ourselves NOT with God’s KINGDOM, but with the principalities and powers of this age.

          That, I suggest, is an entirely different ‘Christianity.’


          • Yeah. But being a professor at Princeton does not make you right in everything you say and believe. I suspect Machen would be appalled at what the Christian fundamentalism he helped create has become in our own day and time.

          • I wonder how many of these angry, judgmental progressives have actually visited a healthy, theologically conservative evangelical church. I assume they may have grown up in legalistic environments and become hardened by it, sadly. How else could they speak with such generalizing vitriol against all Christians outside their progressive tribe?

            • jon … JP disagrees with the doctrine that faith in Jesus is the only way to the Father.

              To him, it is our ‘works’ that bring Righteousness.

              Conservatives believe that God’s truth is way more powerful than our good deeds. In fact, God blows it out of the water when He says to Abram…

              [Genesis 15:6. .. ‘Look up at the heavens and count the stars –if indeed you can count them! So shall your offspring be.’ Abram believed the LORD and He credited it to him as Righteousness.”]

              • Dear leslie m.:

                I missed that! Could you point us to the post where John proclaims justification by works?

                Personally, I think that Calvin got it right. We are justified by faith apart from works; yet the faith by which we are justified is not without works.

                • Dear ggd,

                  I think Leslie misunderstands things that John P. writes. John knows his Bible really well and knows that faith in Jesus is the most important thing. I think what John was saying is the same thing that James (the brother of Jesus) says in the Book of James in the New Testament. Basically, James says that faith without works is dead. What James means is that a real belief in Jesus through faith alone will compel—by its very internal nature—people to do good works—often without even realizing that they are doing good works. John P. would never think that working hard for Jesus alone without any faith in him is real Christianity. Furthermore, why would you even want to work hard for a person you have no faith in? Talk about cognitive dissonance!!! The whole thing is an “oxymoron.”

                  The thing that has Leslie most upset is that John P.’s posts reach tens of thousands of people around the world every day. His reader following is HUGE. Because Leslie comes from a fundie Christian tradition that reduces the 100 percent Christian faith to a 5 percent Christian faith by focusing SOLELY on evangelism, she is upset that John’s ministry is not a fundie evangelism ministry where the sole emphasis each day is on the formula:

                  Human Sin + Repentance + Jesus = Salvation

                  She figures John cannot possibly be a real Christian because he does not emphasize that formula each day and that alone. She does not realize that there is another 95 percent of the Gospel in the Bible that only rarely gets heard. John knows the importance of the 5 percent formula. He just chooses to emphasize the 95 percent of the Gospel people ignore—and for a very good reason—it is in fact IGNORED—and Leslie and her fundie faith tradition are the chief malefactors in ignoring it. John is just trying to rebalance things so the WHOLE Christian faith of the Holy Bible gets preached. Leslie and her side do a really good job promoting the formula alone. They can keep on doing that. All John is doing is adding that 95 percent to what they do so the public gets the whole Christian watermelon. The chief problem—and the reason there is so much conflict—is that Leslie’s fundie side has (for some odd reason no one can understand) blinded itself to the existence of the other 95 percent of the Gospel when its presence is so obvious to the rest of Christendom all across the planet—including you and me.

              • Tell me. How are you going to handle that divided pasture? Shepherded by the judging King. Sheep or goat? I believe He is very interested in what we DO with that renewed and faith-filled heart He’s given us. He knows hearts… I don’t care to hear Him say I never knew you.

            • Dear Jon:

              I was raised in and am nurtured by the tradition of Warfield, Machen, Allis, Young, etc. Largely, they addressed higher criticism, which was the dominant heresy of their day. Rather than go obscurantist, it is imperative to recognize new blasphemies and heresies that arise to assail God’s people.

              ‘Christian’ confession and ‘patriotism’ today blend to lead believers into the spiritual alignment, relations and deeds of earthly principalities and powers which John forbids under the imagery of the beast and its mark, the whore of Babylon, and the false prophet. To cling to that belief system is to be separate from Jesus Christ.

              Patrio-christianity makes a pretense of holding Christ while excluding kingdom – even in incipient form – from today’s world. This is necessary to proclaim a [false] ‘Christ AND Caesar’ ‘gospel’ which promises pistic justification while remaining in solidarity with the powers and principalities of this age that Jesus died to defeat, disarm and disgrace.

              The great OT salvation event which is equivalent of the cross is the Exodus. Had Ysra’el embraced this ‘God AND Country’ nonsense, its story would end in Egypt. And Egypt’s captivity is exactly where ‘patriot-religion’ lands ‘Christians’ today.

            • Actually Jon . I was once a member of one of those churches—and I left after three years because they were self-absorbed and just plain nuts.

              Why do we speak with such generalizing vitriol against all Christians outside the progressive tribe? We do not. I like and welcome Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, and many other Christian denominations, churches, and groups.

              The reason people like me are so hard on Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals is because YOUR church tradition, when it was created in the early 20th century, was founded upon RADICAL MILITANCE. From the very historical outset, VITRIOL was the way it chose to engage the rest of Christendom on Earth. The problem little p*ss pu**ies like you, with your button down collars and close shaves, have is that you took your fists to the rest of Christendom and started beating up and slugging every other Christian in sight and hanging the word “apostate” on them. I guess the thing you fundies have never learned is that when you walk through the world beating people up, dissing their faith in Jesus, and slugging them with every piece of fundie vitriol you can find—well hey—DO NOT be surprised if several millions of your bleeding victims get upset and do the same thing right back to you.

              Son, you need to do some really deep study and research into the history of Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism in the United States—and you need to add to that a deep study of the full 2,000 years of Christian history around the world—because you seem to know so little about it. I think you would be surprised at what you will discover about your own faith tradition and about the rest of the universal church.

        • Totally agree, Jon! In the past year, my family has gone mission trips, volunteered at soup kitchens and Special Olympics, and taken loads of goods to a women’s shelter. We have taken food to the sick. In fact, every opportunity to help others is taken. The people in my church are kind. I’ve seen people give coats off their backs to help the homeless. This article is much too generalized and the writer seeks to self-promote.

        • Good for you Jon to remind everyone of our colonial past where we raped and pillaged the brown, black and yellow people – and don’t get me started on the red people. – to make our economies bigger and richer. yes we built hospitals and orphanages and soup kitchens etc with one hand – while the other hand was busy taking the resources for our own purposes.
          Jesus said that we were to love God with all our heart and strength – and to love our neighbours. (friends and enemies alike)This is the way that we can show our love for God by serving those that He has created and loves just as much as you. We are not called to ‘convert’ others by judgments and condemnation and fear – but by meeting them where they are in their life’s journey and helping them sort through this thing called life. We are called to serve others and by serving others we are serving God.
          It is not our place to tell others how to life their life – but to show them by the example of LOVE and SERVICE who God is.
          Your actions speak so loudly that I cannot hear what you are saying.
          There is so much more that I could say but I will close with this: I am very happy that you have found Jesus and that He meets your needs – but do not judge others who have not travelled the same road as you. God is calling all of us to Him and we will all get there according to His plan and schedule – not yours or mine

      • You’re actually citing the scumbag Marx here? The originator of an ideology that has killed over 50 million and ground hundreds of millions more under oppression, tyranny, and absolute poverty?

        Just shut your wicked, ignorant mouth, please.

          • I was replying to gdd who said:

            Marx said that religion is the opiate of the masses.

            Given that many so-called ‘faithful’ congregations consistently apply their antidotes to direct eyes away from social consciousness, some find themselves demonstrating the point of Marx’ dictum even as they deny it.

            That sounds like, at the least, taking Marx as someone worth listening to.

                • Karl Marx was born in Germany. He lived in France and England. He was never in Russia, or China. As well, North Korea did not exist when Karl Marx was alive.

                  whose the moron now?

                • Dear Zaklog the Deplorable:

                  Monsters like Stalin, Mao and others do what they do not because of their supposed ‘socialism,’ but because they are monsters.

                  To besmirch socialism because of Stalin is rather like holding Jesus answerable for the Inquisition.


            • Marx was an economist. If you would ever like to drop by a university, you would discover that he did a lot of well-respected economics work (for his time) that had nothing to do with his communist manifesto. This is why his name often appears in serious intellectual discussions unrelated to communism. Communism and socialism are two different things. You could sort this all out if you could darken the door of a library.

                • Nope. Get a group of people together at your house, hand out an unlabeled map of the United States, and ask them put a pencil mark “X” on Iowa. No cheating by looking at what others mark.

                  • @ Charles: At this point people who can’t find Iowa on a map may actually be better educated, on average, than those of us who live here.

              • Dear Charles:

                As an economist, Marx developed theories on currency, interest, rent, the market, exchange rates, commodity production, and more.

                That’s what economists do.

                Marx work is still well respected by some, especially as he described class relations and the coerced extraction of surplus value from labor.

                It’s telling that Smith’s ‘Wealth of the Nations’ gives scant attention to paying workers at Smith’s famous ‘pin factory’ analogy. This seems to be a recurring motif in Capitalism.

                Marx is detested to this day because he had the audacity to point out this and many other contradictions integral to Capitalism.

        • Communism and socialism are two different things. Marx did make some interesting and truthful points, but like most humans, he was a mixed bag of both good and bad.

        • Marx did not endorse the monstrosity that some evil people perverted to their own means. The basis of Marxism is sound – it is the way it was implemented that was wrong and led to millions of deaths. But Capitalism does not have clean hands either Zaklog.

    • No I think what he means is that Christians need to stop the idolatry in thinking that a president or a system of government can give them jobs, give them security and give them hope, when the only one who can give anyone hope is Jesus.

    • You still focus more on what you think is bad than what is good. But perhaps you believe that what’s good is not a matter for discussion, merely passive obedience. We liberals, religious as well as not, say quite the contrary.

    • Thank you for this Jon. This was my first time reading this blog as it was posted by someone else aND I completely agree with you.

  3. Joe you are guilty of doing everything you rail against. Again you are not God nor are you the judge of all mankind. Yesterday your praise of your saint Reagan was almost giddy like a ray of sunshine in the middle of a dark cloud. I need to remind you of what I think the most horrible sin of all is. And again pediphiles are always going to gravitate toward careers that give them access to their prey. The more horrendous sin was those in power who hid this atrocity while moving these people around giving them access to more victims. You commit a mortal sin once or twice and you confess. You don’t perpetuate the sin for decades until you are caught and say you are sorry and expect that makes it better. They killed souls Joe, souls that they promised to nurture. That sir is evil and shows how power, greed, and wealth can be used to crush the innocent. The Catholic Church didn’t fail. It was the men who held the power that did it just because they could. “Absolute power corrupts absolutely”.

    • Joanne Musto: Well said. Your reply is spot on and what we all feel about Joe and all of his aka’s. He incites anger and loves every minute of it. I do appreciate him, though. He reminds me of why I left the church.

      • “He should be striving to save souls and not pit groups of Christians against each other.”

        He is striving to save souls, by awakening them to the Gospel. The fact that you perceive him as “pitting groups of Christians against each other” simply by reminding Christians of the words of Our Lord and His commission to us, suggests that you are feeling the prick of conscience. Maybe you should give this some serious thought.

        I agree that in writing passionately about what he believes, John Pavlovitz can sometime gets close to the Pharisee’s approach “I thank you Lord that I am not like *them.*” We all need to be aware of the risks of contrasting our faith and practice to that of others.

        • I agree that in writing passionately about what he believes, John Pavlovitz can sometime gets close to the Pharisee’s approach “I thank you Lord that I am not like *them.*”

          Gets close to? Gets close to? Sweetie, he crossed that line hundreds of miles ago and is only accelerating.

      • Joe, the Catholic Church declared native people have semi souls and black people have no souls. They provided the moral justification for slavery and colonization, which are the root of the racial unrest we have now. If it is true that where you now are the humanity of all people is fully recognized, that is great. But as a member of an organization with such a brutal history you’re response to questions of race should be more engaging than dismissive.

        • This is a question which needs a historical answer. Not many of us have sources at the tips of our fingers. Though I remembered this famous speech given by Marcus Garvey in 1921 “If You Believe the Negro Has a Soul”:

          ” If you believe that the Negro has a soul, if you believe that the Negro is a man, if you believe the Negro was endowed with the senses commonly given to other men by the Creator, then you must acknowledge that what other men have done, Negroes can do. ”

          The idea that black people did not have a soul was a belief at one time.

            • I remember visiting The Mormon Tabernacle in the 70s. I slinked down in the pew when they showed their propaganda movie, –depicting a fiery hell that had only black people in it.

              • A variety of religious groups thought that way and religious leaders had to take a stand but people didnt always listen to their pastors or priests.

                The Mormons were openly vocal about it.

      • Hey Joe Catholic:

        You are right that J.P. is sowing division, and I would say, claiming, whether he realizes it or not, the right of Apostleship.

        I’m not Catholic. But I deeply respect the conservative voices in the Catholic church who stand up for the unborn.

  4. Conservative white Christians have made their position on this subject quite clear. They don’t really want Jesus himself—the real Jesus. The “Holy Bible” is much better than just plain old Jesus. As the white fundies have actually told me:

    “Their is a name that is above every other name—and that name is Bible.”


    Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
    But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2: 5-11)

    (That is one of my favorites.)

    Oh sure. White Christian conservatives give Jesus plenty of lip service—but lip service is about all it is many times. When the rubber meets the road, their real mantra is: “Screw the Jesus-believing church. I want a Bobble Bleevin’ Church instead.”

    • Whatever happened to get them to Christ and let Jesus do the work? Or do you believe that we as human beings can change someone’s sin nature? And just as an aside no sin is any better or worse than any other sin in God’s eyes. If it were so I’m sure the Bible would say so. So if we sin what we believe is a minor sin (in our eyes) it still sin in God’s eyes, and all worthy of hell. Sin is sin is sin.

    • Charles, I envision you foaming at the mouth as you write. You can take full credit for the election of Donald Trump…you and John P and all the other angry, hating, regressives.

      • The so-called “hate” you hear from us is only the heat of your own headlights reflected back on you by the mirror we provide. If there had never been a Pearl Harbor, there would have never been a Hiroshima. You are the Pearl Harbor who bombed the authentic, orthodox Christian faith of 2,000 years ago, and we are your Hiroshima. Get used to it over the next four or eight years. Can you say “100 megatons”?

    • Jesus had a lot less to say about sexual sins than he said about greed, cheating, arrogance, self-righteousness and hypocrisy. Since Donald Trump exhibits BOTH kinds of sin, one would think that at the very least, all American Christians would be united in NOT entrusting our nation to him.

      • Hi Joe. May the new year find you well.
        You said ” Shaming people because of the color of their skin or because they didn’t vote liberal Democrat is not Christianity.” I have to agree with this statement because I do not believe Christianity should be about shaming anyone. And that includes LGBTQ people, trangendered people, the poor, women who have had abortions or anyone– including middle aged white Catholics. I am not trying to make you feel ashamed. But I have to wonder if you realize how odd I find it to see those words coming from you after all your posts concerning abortion. Because you seemed quite intent in expressing the idea that anyone who voted for Hillary should be ashamed because Hillary is pro-choice. Bear in mind that being pro-choice does NOT force anyone to live their individual life in accordance with that position- no one is forced to have an abortion simply because abortion is legal for someone else. But outlawing abortion does force everyone else to live in accordance with your wishes on the subject. Living, breathing women who are long past the womb die when abortion is illegal and not all of them from botched illegal abortions. Women die because of complications of the pregnancy when an abortion would save her life. And most often, the fetus dies with her. I know that when my own sons were born, it was the policy of the local Catholic hospital that if there were complication during delivery, the doctors were required to try to save the life of the child rather than the mother. Never mind that the newborn and possibly other siblings will have no mother and a man may lose his wife and become bitter and detached from those already wounded children. I cannot fathom the reasoning of this; to wound so many in what may even be a futile attempt to save “the unborn”. And if the woman is unmarried, even if they do save the child, they become an orphan at birth, if no other family member steps up. And Republican policy is to provide as little help as possible to that child and those who try her/him. How is that “more righteous” than allowing choice? Your position forces people to live according to your values, being pro-choice does not. That mother in labor is still free to say, “Save my child before me.” Our Constitution says we are all free in our religious affairs. Pro-choice affirms that. Outlawing abortion says your faith is more important than your neighbors, a position I find contrary to the Constitution Republicans so love to claim absolute loyalty to. You preached against voting Democratic solely because of abortion alone. How is that any different from what you accuse John P of?

        • 1) It may not be the policy now; I am well past childbearing age, but it was most certainly the policy 25-30 years ago when I had my children and tied to the reason I had to leave less than 24 hours later, go to the other hospital for a tubal ligation.
          2) This is not relevant to the topic at hand.
          3) Many anti-abortion activists do NOT make any exceptions or exclude rape and incest and only make the exception for the life of the mother. Many others are also against birth control. This is also NOT Catholic policy, as I understand it, but I as am not Catholic it’s possible I was misinformed.
          4) You said “But I do think that Christians need a guilt trip for voting for pro-choice candidates unless they had a very good reason apart from the abortion issue. ” Again, how is that any different than what John P is doing? Also, I think 20 million people already living, losing their health insurance is reason enough to not support a candidate. John P is calling out the demographic group that supported Trump by the greatest margin, as defined in the polls and news as “White Evangelical Protestant” One calls on the conscience of the target group by name, not hiding behind generalities or niceties. Where did that aversion to political correctness go? Few people objected when Obama called on black men to be better fathers, because that was the target group. That is not racism Joe, that’s reality. So is what John P said.
          5) No, I do not believe an abortion in the first trimester kills “a person”. A potential person, perhaps, but definitely not yet a person. There are too many miscarriages , i.e. spontaneous abortions, in the first trimester for me to believe those are already “a person”. And where is your concern for the rights well-being of the mother, who Republicans want to deny health care to?

      • Dear Gretchen Pritchard:

        I suspect that this election had more to do with political economy than anything else.

        On ‘American “Christians,”‘ I think William Stringfellow got it right when he wrote that Christians should start reading America Biblically, and stop reading the Bible Americanly.


    • Agreed.

      The crazy thing about this “SJW Jesus” is that without Paul, there is no Gospel of Luke.

      This “Red Letter” or “Jesus of the Gospels” movement (as in ‘just jesus, not paul, not peter, not jude) is that Luke was Paul’s disciple, and Luke & Acts are part 1 and part 2 of a 2 Volume work have the same author: Luke.

      Paul’s speeches in Acts, when combined, are longer than 1st and 2nd Thessalonians and Philemon combined.

  5. Dear John Pavlovitz:

    ‘He has told you, O man, what is good. And what does Yahweh require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God [Micah 6:8]?

    At some point, we need to say that anti-Micah 6:8 compassion-less, ‘get-out-hell-free’ patrio-christology is heretical and leaves us untouched by the gospel and in a pre-converted condition.

    The gospel is not Christ AND Caesar; it is NOT Caesar BUT Christ.

    Caesar AND Christ [Patriot-christianity] is blasphemous religion; our task is to call them — and all the world — into God’s kingdom.

    • That’s why John P is such a hypocrite. He is even more a “God and Ceasar” proponent than the white conservative evangelicals he routinely demonizes for daring to think different than him about politics. He, like some of them, actually think the kingdom of God will arrive on Air Force 1.

      • Now Brian. You know you are just jealous because John P. reaches so many tens of thousands of people every day with the love of Jesus while all you can do is snatch lollipops from the hands of kids because they look like they are having fun.

      • Dear Brian:

        I’ll have to let JP speak for himself. But if by his proposing ‘God and Caesar,’ I assume you refer to his support of Hillary Clinton. I supported neither Clinton nor Trump.

        It might surprise you to read this, but some believe that it is the fascistic right which believes that Americanist patrio-christic religion which regards the US administration as a secondary mediator, beside and in addition to one true mediator, that the blessings of God’s kingdom will be brought down to earth.

        The ‘God gave us this President’ and ‘America’s last chance’ and ‘our stay of execution’ narratives that proceed from Franklin Graham and others could certainly lead some to that conclusion.

        The only alternative I see is to reject all alternate redemptive programs. I’ve already declared myself for socialism, because I believe that ideology most closely approximates the Biblical vision of God’s kingdom.

        But to say that the socialist party candidate is God’s choice for America? No socialist has any business saying such a thing, and no Christian has any basis for believing it.

  6. John P speaks often about ‘enlarging the table’ of hospitality. (bc he says, white Conservatives have a very small table) . He uses the great example of Jesus meeting with people of all walks of life; tax collectors, prostitutes, thieves, etc. Point taken. But unfortunately, that is as far as John P goes.

    Jesus was invited to the outcasts’ tables (& he accepted) because they wanted to CHANGE.

    Socializing is not the same as Fellowship.

      • My mistake I thought the point was that they invited him to his table because Jesus was special, different. I do have a question for you though. Does the fact that Trump has tweeted praise of Putin and Assange and mocked the CIA, who are his own countrymen in charge of protecting this country, not give you one tinge of concern for his ability to lead this country. Does your obsession with abortion override your concern for the living men, women, and children of this country? I am asking because the silence of the Republicans in Congress is deafening. Scalia was a conservative justice and Roe v Wade is still settled. Are you hoping a couple more justices die soon enough for Trump to replace them?

    • That is not true, and you damned well know it Leslie. Nowhere in scripture does it say or even insinuate that:

      “Jesus was invited to the outcasts’ tables (& he accepted) because they wanted to CHANGE.”

      This is something you fundies have read INTO scripture from outside of it simply because your “old man” that still lives inside of you desperately wants to believe that.

      All we really know are two things:

      1) Jesus spent time with the outcasts and dregs of society in his time 2,000 years ago. How much time is unknown.

      2) The Pharisees accused Jesus of being a drunkard and sinner because of it.

      Anything else is just window dressing and interpretation—and you fundies claim there is no such thing as interpretation of the Bible. So, there you have it.

      • There you go again Charles, foaming at the mouth and making things up. Fundamentalists don’t believe in biblical interpretation. That’s bull and you know it. They just don’t believe in your interpretations of the bible…the kind that are destroying Methodist congregations.

        • Au contraire Bwian. I have had fundies actually tell me that there is no such thing as “Bible interpretation.” They usually follow it with:

          “The Bible is simple and easy to understand by just reading it. God meant to say one thing and one thing only when He said it in the Bible—and a simple, easy, literal reading of the Bible always shows what that is.”

          You don’t get out into the fundie world and study their “stuff” very much do you Bwian? I know where you can get lots of information on their “stuff.” Try out a man who preached it for 25 years. Go visit Bruce. He can tell you plenty because he lived it and preached it—and I would advise you to not lock horns with him—because even if you are a fundie preacher—-he knows it all—inside out—better than you do and he will likely strangle you with it. Just give him a try if you think you are man enough and Jesus enough. Let’s see what your spiritual “mojo” really is. You can visit Bruce here:

        • –the disconnect I have with John Ps writings, is that in my 20 years of being a Christian, I have never met any mean Christians like the ones he describes.

          The conservative Christians I know are humble and giving. They believe that Jesus is God, that He alone saves, that abortion is wrong, the bible is inerrant, that Marriage is 1 man + 1 woman. [I already know that Progressives deem those beliefs evil. ]

          Tonight, I hung out with some friends (all races) at the homeless warming center. I saw that my gay friend, was wearing the jacket I gave him yesterday. We prayed together. There were 8 people there tonight (at least 6 of them are conservative Christian), they all believe the above things about Jesus too. I guess, John P considers them ‘hateful- evil- racist- ignorant – conservative- Christian -bigots’ too.

          I wonder if he ever extends the courtesy to ask the needy, the downtrodden, the persecuted, what THEY believe? Or does he just dominate?

          • Leslie. I think part of the problem you have is that you do not understand Progressives in the same way that you think we do not understand conservatives. Here is a tick board just for me in response to your accusations:

            1) I do believe that Jesus is God.

            2) I do believe that Jesus alone saves.

            3) It is not a belief. I know for a FACT that the Bible is not inerrant in the sense that you believe it is. All you have to do is read it, know some in-depth science, and understand the nature of human languages and the difficulties involved in translating between one language and another. I know you will not do it because you fundies are not allowed to listen to or watch anything that might corrupt the bullshit you call “Christian Faith,” but Rev. Keith Ward really does a nearly perfect job of explaining why the Bible is not inerrant. Here it is—just let me know if you dared to watch it and listen:


            3) Abortion is wrong only because people have told you that it is. The Bible does not directly address abortion. If it were that important to God, he would have done so in the Bible. The Bible does not define when God believes human life begins or when the spirit is injected into a human body. The truth of the matter is that you fundies, in the secular portion of your lives, are against abortion and you desperately want God to support your secular position.

            4) If God thinks gay people are sinners and they are all going to Hell—then fine. The only question that really concerns me is whether in this life gay people should be harassed, tortured, and driven to suicide because they are sinners—and whether they should be denied the basic civil rights civil rights every other American has simply to punish them for being gay sinners. I find it extremely hard to believe that the Jesus of the New Testament would support the persecution of LGBTQ people. It would be completely out of character for Jesus to do that, which is why I cannot go along with it as a matter of conscience. You fundies seem to think that torturing them is somehow the key to saving them. How would you like it if some man off the street were to decide to torture you for your sins? That is the kind of thing the Taliban and ISIS do—not what Christians do.

          • leslie, the writings of JP would have all believe (& according to those posting, they do) ANYONE who voted for Trump is not a Christian. That they are not of the character you mentioned those you spent time with portrayed. This began with Clinton throwing all the deplorables in 1 basket & claiming they are unredeemable. I know many who are as those you mentioned. They are very humble, caring individuals who are accepting of all. They do not believe it’s right to bully or put others down. They also know you have to walk the walk as well as talk the talk, show kindness to others. You can’t even begin to get others interested in accepting God if you are constantly badgering & belittling them. A Southern Baptist preacher said it best when he said “You can’t evangelize to those you antagonize.” The choice made for President was a much thought out, very much prayed about choice. Just because it doesn’t match the choice they came up with is no reason to bully & cut everyone down. Let’s all pray for one another, & pray for Trump & Pence, that they will lead our Nation down the right path.

        • Dear Brian:

          Fundamentalists don’t believe in biblical interpretation.

          Have you considered that without acknowledging it, fundamentalists function on the premise that they ARE the interpretation of Scripture?

  7. Bill Maher excellently pointed out the hypocrisy of (white) evangelicals in their choice of an immoral, power-hungry demagogue for the U.S. Presidency: it wasn’t about morals or even about Jesus, but it was about power.

    And yes, I am a Christian.

    • Actually Melanie. I know the stated reason Ivanka is going to the White House. However, I think there is far more to it than that. I suspect she is the true reigning genius of the modern Trump Empire today—sort of the real brains and power behind the throne. I could have voted for her if she had run instead of him. She has a loving and compassionate heart—and it shows. If she is Jewish now and takes that seriously, the fundies out there are in real trouble because Jesus was Jewish too. She will quickly learn the true things of Jesus because Jesus learned there too.

  8. If John Pavlovitz was not labeled as progressive this post would be lauded by the detractors. They cannot appear to agree with the good things written here lest they appear to align themselves with him.

    That is what is sad about christian division- petty offences over blog titles and generalizations.

  9. John Pavlovitz. This may very well be the best on-line blog “sermonette” you have ever done. I am going to edit it a little (just for grammar purposes) and republish it on my blog with a “by line” for you along with a link to your blog. If you object, please let me know in writing, and I will take it down.

        • Of course not. Joe is principled, intelligent, rational and kind. I was referring to Charles. He and John P are one and the same.

          • Brian, I don’t know Joe personally so I cannot speak to his character, intelligence. demeanour or personality traits behind the scenes. However on this blog he doesn’t display those favourable characteristics with any consistency or quantity towards others, unfortunately.

            Charles and John P are not one and the same. They are two distinctly different people. Therefore it is your prerogative to make false statements, but in doing so, you call into question the verity the content of your subsequent comments.

            • You don’t think they’re one and the same? On what basis? I think they are. As for Joe, he’s quite consistent. Perhaps it is daring to express a contrary opinion you find troubling. Perhaps “Hutch” is another John P. There seem to be lots of them on this blog.

                • I guess you are aware that this rational conservative vs. emotional liberal meme does not hold up well in Bible terms. Jesus was more emotional than he was rational—and the emotion of love is the driving force behind everything he says and does. His name was not Jesus Ben Vulcan.

                  • Charles, you are passionately priceless. What a beautiful statement to make about Jesus… Until the Jesus Ben Vulcan bit. I admit, I chuckled :/

                  • I agree Charles

                    Jesus was emotional which is why he cried over people who died and was angry at hypocrites and sad when people were hungry and needy.

              • Thanks Joe. I also promote in other places—like on Facebook. John P works as an artist, exercise trainer, and nonfundie preacher. When I work, I do so as a professional anthropologist, environmental scientist, technical editor, and science writer. John lives in North Carolina. I live in Tennessee. John Pavlovitz and I have never met face-to-face. John P. used to comment here quite often, but he quit doing that about 1.5 years ago.

                I wish you the best in the new year Joe.

                • Give it a try. You seem to have a lot to say. I suspect you would garner quite a following. I was quite surprised at how many people were interested in my assorted blogspots and how man people show up. It will probably be slow for a few weeks and then begin to pick up some steam after that. One key to it is to be a good writer because it makes what you write easy and fluid for people to read. You have that issue already licked—with only the open road before you. Political blogs seem to get the most visits and views. Maybe you could have a blog that addresses political issues from a conservative Catholic perspective. I bet that corner of the market is not all well covered.

  10. Ain’t it a hoot how all the white “Christians” who voted for Trump because “he tells it like it is”, “isn’t afraid to say what others are afraid to say”, and “is gonna get rid of all this ‘political correctness'” are the first to cry “racist” when they are called out?

    You’re right on the money, John P…but you’re wasting your breath. Just like the Pharisees of old, these “Christians” are beyond redemption yet certain they are God’s chosen ones. Their only interests lie in holding others accountable to the letter of their own laws and retaining power over the lives of others. Again, like the Pharisees of old. One more (or millions more) sick, hungry kids aren’t going to prick their small, cold consciences one whit.

    So, we’re stuck with them as the world has been stuck with their hypocrite ancestors for thousands of years. Better that we should spend our time creating our own communities of action and resistance.

    Don’t feed the trolls…feed the poor. Has everyone here who has wasted the time to reply to the local trolls gone to contribute $3 to Planned Parenthood? I did…it was my penance for wasting 90 seconds of my life responding to one of them. You should, too.

    If everyone who’s upset with the hypocritical 74% of those white Christians who voted for a serial adulterer, liar, and cheat gave just $3…well, you know the rest.

    So…what are you waiting for? I’m just going to guilt and shame you until you do it, so you might as well do it now. 🙂

    • Henceforward, I will no longer feed trolls and will put my energy into building a community of resistance and so forth, thanks Rick sorry I wasted my breath on Brain.

      • @Hutch….Hey, we all fall into the trap. I used to spend hours trading barbs with the tee bags under articles on my local paper’s website. (If the article included a picture of a black man or had the word “gay” in the headline, you could be sure of several hundred comments from the tee bags.) Thing is, a friend of mine who still bothers to show up on the comments sections tells me those same numbskulls are there with the same racist, homophobic, misogynistic, anti-worker rants. There’s no upside to feeding the trolls.

      • Feeding the trolls is a habit like eating Doritos. It feels kind of fun at the time but later you realize that you’re kind of queasy.

        Better to pass along an article or some thoughts that will inspire and motivate like minded folks to, say, call their legislators, write a letter to the editor, or give $3 to the Southern Poverty Law Center than to waste a moment of your life trading barbs with racists and homophobes.

    • The thing about liberals/progressives is that they do not “build” anything. They are wholly dependent on things that have been built by conservatives, whether it be schools, hospitals, denominations, congregations, missions, nations, etc. etc. Everything liberals/progressives touch is destined to perish. They have no life in themselves and must suck the life out of others and what others have created. And so by giving $3 to Planned Parenthood they support the culture of death and literally suck the life out of another. Ironically, liberalism/progressivism is suicidal.

      • Funny, my now deceased Christian dad was a Roosevelt liberal. He worked in the construction industry and also helped to build churches and build new chapels onto churches. He built plenty throughout his lifetime, and no finer a man ever lived—even though he was one of the working poor (40+ overtime) you fundies take pride in pi**ing on for being lazy.

      • “And so by giving $3 to Planned Parenthood they support the culture of death and literally suck the life out of another.”

        I just gave another $3 to Planned Parenthood.

      • Dear Brian:

        Everything liberals/progressives touch is destined to perish. They have no life in themselves …

        Judgement Day honesty — isn’t ‘no life in themselves’ true of all creation? Or, does your theology exempt part of creation from the fall?


    • I think the more we ignore the trolls the shriller they will become.

      Joe Catholic says, ” I am starving ! Please feed me your negativity and insults. I hunger ! I thirst for your liberal tears! Don’t let me die out in this desert of my hate-hungry heart!!!!”

      Brian says, “Please! I beg you don’t ignore meeeeee! it’s all about meeeeee! I built the cities and the highways- you did nothing ! Don’t ignore meeeeee! Help meeeeee I am melting !!!!!!”

      And if we respond to those trolls they will lick their lips and pat their bellies and turn on you!

      Joe Catholic will say, ” you progressives are really hypocrites deep inside. I made you mad but you are the ones who said the bad words ! You can’t blame me for being nasty to you. I am right and you are wrong!”

      Brian will say, “You Libtard loser, you just proved you are beneath me, MAGA”

      So, let’s all try to ignore them and make our own comments and talk amongst ourselves. It’s gonna be hard. Can we do it?

      • Aleck, I am with you mate. On to better things. Love what the writer has to say on the blog. But, I have some gigs to get ready for. Been an experience and a half. Keep the faith.

      • @Aleck
        Good thinking that’s right on the mark. You have to wonder why the racists and homophobes come to a site like this that clearly expresses views directly counter to their own. Check out other left leaning blogs and sites and you’ll see pretty much the same thing. But go to right wing sites and you won’t see liberals trading barbs with the wingnuts.

        Because trolls are needy and have issues that neither you nor I can help them with. In fact, trading barbs with them just feeds their dysfunction. Trust me, there will be no point at which any of these local trolls will say, “Those guys make some good points. Maybe I ought to give it some more thought.” In the meantime, time that we could have spent supporting each other and providing useful information and inspiration is wasted on irredeemable batwing crazies.

        Better to come here with an article or some information that folks who support and agree with John P. can use. Or with a copy of the letter you sent to your legislators or local paper that will inspire us.

        But, hey, I’m preaching to the choir in your case…you’ve already got the right idea.

        • Thanks Rick !

          I have never seen so much attack and vehement hatred as I have in the trolling comments against progressives like John Pavlovitz (and especially LGBTQ people). It really surprised and discouraged me at first especially the anonymity of it. Sometimes I think that many Christians hide their distain and hatred for others, like me who are gay, and I am glad John Pavlovitz allows the comments because it shows the ugliness of their heart for what it is. This leads me to doubt their brand of christianity and has helped me to be no longer cower underneath their contempt. I would rather make jokes about it even though it makes me feel sick and sad inside. But, through the Lord is my help in times of need and I find myself refreshed through your response. I appreciate you reaching out. See you around.

          • @Aleck

            Well said, overall. It’s difficult not to engage with the trolls but you have to keep reminding yourself that not one of the kids that will be sicker and hungrier as a result of GOP actions cares that you or I busted the chops of some black-hearted troll here or elsewhere.

            When one of the trolls gets under your skin, use that energy to call a legislator or…donate $3 to PP. That really pisses ’em off, apparently.

            “This leads me to doubt their brand of christianity …”

            I don’t doubt “their brand of christianity” at all. It’s a black-hearted, mean-spirited, hate-filled brand that allows them to pretty much ignore just about every letter of the Gospels and to vote for criminals like Trump while feeling very pious and self-righteous as they puff out their chests in the front pew.

            • Yeah, Rick I find trolls manipulative in the way they try to worm themselves into your space by shaming and taunting you to get you to respond and fight back. The way they show up and respond to a comment to bait you. It reminds me of the bullies on a playground when I was growing up. They would walk around all tough and sneering. Looking at everyone with confidence. The kids would move out of the way or they would get pushed. I would lean against the wall and study them. If the teachers were out in force and they couldn’t get away with chasing some poor bloke they would pick on one of their mates and then say to the teacher they were only play fighting. Real sobs they are.

              No matter what the trolls say they don’t want a discussion- they want a sparing partner. Someone to trade punches with. It’s a sport to them not an honest sharing of ideas. Not even funny.

              I might lose my sense of humour

              if I am not careful.

                • oh gosh Aleck I just had a memory after reading your comment. Those school yard bullies were horrible. it seemed as though they went looking for joy just to stomp on it. If a group of kids were playing hopscotch they would throw stones at them to make them scatter. They were miserable kids who couldn’t stand to see others be happy.

              • so true Aleck, the bullies are the ones who pop the balloons at the party and make the children cry.

                That’s why Joe Catholic slithers around the comment section looking for those who get encouragement from John Pavlovitz’s post just to slam their comment.

                He can’t stand to see anyone benefit from this blog.

      • No it’s your aggressive obsession with this blog that makes you a troll. I for one am repenting of my participation in that. I will share my view but I won’t troll through comments looking for someone to pick a fight with anymore.

        I am done giving in to my knee-jerk reactions to jerks.

        …………..except if I am doing a stand up comic routine with a mic in my hand. :p

    • What a great idea Rick Bohan! My check is in the mail. I would love to march on Washington of Jan 21 but it’s impossible so donating would be the next best thing. We women have to be aware of men like Joe/benny etc.etc.etc. are out there to take away our rights as women and we need to resist. There is also a march being planned in my community that I will attend. THANK YOU!

        • Great Leslie. Take out your Bible and cite the scriptures that specifically forbid abortions. None of this “knitted you in the womb crap” which is just poetry. I want to see the scriptures that specifically forbid abortion by name. My church says there are none—and they are right. So do the Jews who know the Bible better than either you or me. I would like you to wake up to the FACT that Protestant resistance to abortion was a TRUMPED UP JOB from the very beginning that was identified and promoted by Paul Weyrich at The Heritage Foundation for purely political reasons designed to make fundies like you vote Republican for the rest of your lives. All this anti-abortion hype you fundies have bitten into so deeply is nothing but brainwashing propaganda created by political operatives and fundie leaders who want a taste of the big political pie their Republican dog handlers eat.

          • P.S. I respect Catholic Joe’s position on abortion because he is required to go along with it by his Pope. The thing I like about the Roman Catholic Pro-life position is that it is at least applied evenly and consistently across the board. You fundies accuse other Christians of having a “culture of death” when you people never saw a prison execution or unjust war you did not like to splash around in like it was a kiddy pool.

            • You’re really too stupid to see the difference between executing a convicted murderer and killing an innocent, unborn infant? Okay. Sure. I totally believe you’re that rock-bottom dumb.

              • Maybe you could learn how to read Bozo. I was simply praising the Roman Catholic Church for having a consistent Pro-life position. With regard to how thy define human life and when it begins or ends, they simply take the position that all life is precious to God and no person, organization, state, or country has a right to take a human life except God. One could even debate the latter.

                • And for your comment to make sense, there must be some meaningful equivalency between deliberately ending the life of an unborn infant who has harmed no one and deliberately ending the life of a man who has willfully killed another human being. If these two acts are not morally comparable, your comment makes no sense whatsoever.

                  I’m sorry you’re so completely incapable of seeing the logical implications of your own words.

                  • My friends who hunt frequently tell me:

                    “Don’t know why I hunt. I just do. It’s some sort of thing inside me—some drive—maybe ancient—that just tells me I need to go hunt something. Maybe your problem is that you just feel this deep and powerful need inside to identify and kill “guilty life.” You sure seem to think it would be a lot of fun. However, if you talk to the prison employees who have to actually do the executions, they say that it sickens them and that their is nothing noble about it.

                • Not going to look at your videos anymore. I am here to discuss things. The command ‘thou shall not kill’ includes all types of killing even, hatred of your fellowman.

                  btw, I happen to disagree with abortion but you will argue with anyone, won’t you?

                  • Not going to look at your videos anymore.

                    Yup, keep that mind tightly sealed. Don’t risk alternative viewpoints leaking in. You might start *gasp* thinking for yourself!

                    • I do think for myself which is why I say no to watching a video and it is also why I cannot be manipulated by you.

                      In case you didn’t read what I said:

                      btw, I happen to disagree with abortion but you will argue with anyone, won’t you?

          • You often fall back on the “abortion isn’t addressed in the bible so there can’t be anything wrong with it” argument. There is a lot of stuff that is illegal here in the 21st century that wasn’t addressed in the bible. Show me the verse that specifically forbid texting while driving, computer hacking, or wire fraud. All things that are against the law, yet appear no where in the bible. Since no one in 1st century Israel was getting ultrasounds showing their kid had down syndrome, or spina bifida, there probably wasn’t anybody “compassionately” aborting those babies, either. Why would the bible forbid something that no one at the time had any comprehension of?

            • …not to mention, God always values LIFE! It’s written on every page of the bible, and it’s written all over His Creation. Life! It’s the best thing that’s every happened. Protecting LIFE is what GOD is all about. It couldn’t be more clear. In fact, it jumps off every page, and grabs you. LIFE. LIFE. LIFE.
              Unless the scales are removed from blind peoples eyes, they cannot see it. What’s blinding them!?

              • LG , you go on and on about life but are content to live in an eternity where people suffer forever while you live in bliss. You are the biggest hypocrite on this blog. In the past you have posted horrible condemning comments. I remember a traumatizing comment about Jesus coming back to earth to unleash the greatest bloodbath the world has ever seen. Is that bigger than the number of abortions ever done? Where is the life in that? This post written by JP is about your kind of christianity.

      • @Ann
        Thanks for the kind feedback and thanks for your efforts. As you say, not everyone can march but there’s something that each of us can do. Make a call to a legislator. Write a letter to the editor. Pass along an article that keeps the rest of us informed and inspires us to action. One time I wrote a message of support on the Facebook page of the mosque here in town. If everyone of us who is in despair at the election of this racist mob-connected freak to the Presidency engages in these sorts of small actions, it all makes a difference.

        What DOESN’T make any good difference at all is engaging with mean-spirited trolls.

    • Dear Joe Catholic:

      Recently, President Peace Prize started re-bombing Somalia, a country that has not had a functioning government in 20 years.

      Somalians are among ‘the poor.’

  11. Thank you, John, for your continued wise words. I am so thankful that pretty much every word you write speaks of my deepest thoughts in the past 2 months. Keep up the good fight – we need you and your voice calling out the shallow things people do in the name of religion – all while they are being sold a bill of goods.

  12. as usual – another inflammatory and divisive rant from the bowels of John P. – keep your children away from this so called “youth” pastor….

    • You mean keep them away from his bowels. I am sure all of us already follow that policy. The thing I wonder is why you think it necessary to alert the world to stay away from someone’s bowels? I know Mr. Kellogg’s bowels “smelled as sweet as the driven snow” because he said so. Have you too run into contrasting bowels that enable the necessity of your alert?

  13. Maybe a distinction needs to be made between “conservative” Christians and “far right” Christians, Far Right being the politically motivated Americanized brand of Christianity bent on making its science denying agenda the law of the land, regulating peoples sex lives, deregulating laws that protect the common good. Anyway, thats a nutshell overview as I understand it, and with that being said, this article didnt mention politics or Trump or HRC. What right minded Christian would disagree with the Gospel message espoused in this article? And those who accuse it of being bigoted and racist are reading it through a lense of prejudice against the writer. Jesus wasnt a liberal or a conservative but the best of both! The fine points of theology and interpretation and political preferenes aside, what Christian wouldnt agree with JP here on what it means to be a follower and disciple of Jesus? From my personal political perspective, I dont think JP acknowledges or else is unaware of the dark side and underbelly of neo-liberalism that has been pervasive in the Democratic party.

    • He singles out as lacking, and lectures a demographic based on their skin color. That is basically the exact definition of racism.

    • Debra, I think Jesus was neither conservative nor liberal. He was apolitical. He came from another realm. He didn’t come to fix a broken system or to put society in order. He came to give eternal life and comissioned His followers to spread this good news by exemplifying Gods love to all.

  14. How humorous to watch Christians argue these fairy tales! Like anyone needs Jesus these days! Give me a break! Or perhaps the flying spaghetti monster!

    • Yes, let’s all move to an atheist paradise like Cuba, or North Korea, or Soviet Russia, where everyone is free of the poison of religion.

      • Zaklog: Yep that is what I’m arguing…NOT! Red herring. I’m not even commenting on politics. His post asserts people need Jesus. Then you all are arguing about the type of Jesus needed. Really? My point: who needs Jesus? My simple comment demonstrates the inability for people to discuss things coherently on comment forums such as this one. Good luck, May the Great Flying Spaghetti Monster be with you all!

  15. Liberal African American Christians so desperately need the compassionate, sacrificing, suffering servant Jesus…Liberal African American Christians need to recover and incarnate this Jesus so that others can see it, so that they can be touched by hands that heal and serve and restore in his likeness…There is a cold, detached callousness marking so much of the far left’s religion in America…And that is why African American Christians so desperately need Jesus.

    Sounds startlingly racist when you replace one demographic with the other.

    • Yes, but you see, black people are just better than white people. Therefore your analogy makes no sense, said the vile leftist racist.

      • Let’s try it with Muslim Refugees and see if it makes any difference.

        Muslim Refugees so desperately need the compassionate, sacrificing, suffering servant Jesus…Muslim Refugees need to recover and incarnate this Jesus so that others can see it, so that they can be touched by hands that heal and serve and restore in his likeness…There is a cold, detached callousness marking so much of Islam in America…And that is why Muslim Refugees so desperately need Jesus.

        Nope. Unsurprisingly still just as bad.

          • Yeah but what does fit everyone is the gospel. The gospel is the great equalizer but the voices of dissent are oblivious to that.

          • I think you missed my point. The author, and not for the first time, is singling out a group of people by race and lecturing them condescendingly about their failings. Anyone with a shred of intellectual honesty knows that is the textbook definition of racism, regardless of which race he’s speaking of. But he’s liberal, though, so it’s totally cool.

              • There is nothing in this post, or any of the other in his “White Conservative Christian, This is Why You Suck and I’m Better Than You” series about him reflecting on himself. In his world, being conservative and Christian are mutually exclusive.

                • well that is your spin – but not the whole truth.

                  I think white people cannot stand correction because they are so used to being on the top of the pile.

                  I know what it is like because I am white.

                  A young black man brushed by me once and turned around with fear in his eyes and said “sorry mam’ I didn’t mean it !” I could tell his apology wasn’t done out of politeness , I could tell it was done out of fear of retribution. I looked him in the eyes and said as kindly as I could ” It’s okay” Yet, young white men run into me all the time and never say excuse me or anything.

                  That’s my story, my impression, my observation, my generalization. And I do a lot of walking !

  16. It’s easy to fall into judgementalism when you’re preaching to the choir. The parable of the sower explains, I think that some lives are more fruitful than others. I agree that “conservative” Christians are side tracked, but think the problem stems from divided loyalty. You cannot serve two masters and you cannot pledge your allegiance to two kingdoms. American christians in general are conforming to this world at the cost of the transforming of their mind / thinking to heavenly things. At the harvest God will sort it all out. Meantime we can express the love of God to all we come into contact with (on purpose) by showing reapect and giving the benefit of doubt to one another.

    • Not everyone knows what you mean about the parable of the sower why not be straightforward when you talk. It’s all Christianese to you but you don’t even know what it means either because you end by saying “oh well God will sort it out at the harvest.” The harvest what are we objects for consumption. Don’t you realize we are human beings and not inanimate objects subject to metaphors?

  17. I have learned that it is so much better to write from a place of “we” and “me too” instead of “you, you, you.” This author doesn’t do the former until the end, and it’s a rather paltry “me too” after a gross overgeneralization and mischaracterization of white, conservative evangelicals. As one, I am appalled at the judgmental, arrogant tone of this piece. Of course, I agree we ALL need the Jesus of the Bible…many people distort Jesus into being who they want Him to be (a social worker, a good role model, etc) while far too many forget He calls us to sin no more and tells us He is the only way to the Father. Yes, we should absolutely help those in need, and I don’t know a single white, conservative evangelical that doesn’t. I know it’s not just about charitable giving, but those stats are very telling! Should we ALL do more to reach out to others, especially those not like us? Of course…but a condemning, biased blog is not the way to do it. I look at service organizations, and the ones I know and have been involved in are almost all exclusively run by evangelical Christians (Caine’s organization, Franklin’s organization, crisis pregnancy centers (many are also Catholic), Salvation Army, etc…) So, yes, ALL Christians should be challenged and encouraged to get more involved in service in addition to financial giving, but to say “white evangelical Christians” aren’t doing it is untrue.

    • He is not saying that ALL white Christian evangelicals are not doing their part. He is speaking in Trending terms. Most evangelicals in the united States are white—just in case you cannot read statistical tables. Most of these churches are so heavily focused on evangelism ALONE that they only contribute paltry sums of the church budget to help those who Jesus called the least of these. I guess I would put it to you like this, if your fundie or conservative evangelical church is not contributing the same amount of money to help the least of these as it contributes to evangelism and missions, you are out of balance and unBiblical.

    • Dr S. yup. I especially like what Salvation Army does, day in, day out, month after month, year after year, with no complaining, just serving.

  18. I love the way John Pavlovitz writes. Finally a message about the Gospel that is delivered with raw simple truth. The dissenters here can’t see the goodness in the message because they are too busy straining their gnats and looking for something to complain about.

  19. As an Atheist I can honestly say, if we followed just the few scriptures mentioned in this article, the world would be a better place.

    • That’s right Donnie. I would like to ask you a question. Did your personal observations of the behaviors of Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals play a major role in your decision to become an atheist? Thanks!!!

      • I suspect it was a lack of objective evidence – but that really doesn’t matter when the real subject is a matter of faith and salvation…but you know how those evil fundamentalists are…hrrr….excuse me while I play with this rattlesnake….lol…

        • I could tell you a funny story about that. It happened when I was buying the cemetery monument for my mom and dad. We talked about religion a bit, and how it seemed like a little something was missing. The old guy at the monument store said: “Your almost there son—to the whole Gospel.” What he meant was that my Christian experience would be whole and complete once I discovered speaking in tongues, using my upraised hand as a God antenna, faith healing, snake handling, and poison drinking. Go to the sandstone Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee, and you will see a lot of that. Some of the snake handlers that use rattlesnakes actually die. Of course, it is never the “piezon” that does that. It is lack of faith in the Lord. So, the next time someone runs over your pedestrian butt with a 16-wheeler, it was not the impact that killed you. It was your lack of faith in Jesus.

          • I’ll still break bread with these “salt of the earth” folks, be at peace with them and yes, pray for their well being. Their religious, political and social values are what they are and no danger to me…so, when in Rome, do as the Romans do….regardless, I think I’ll keep my arms wrapped around the reality I contend with everyday….rattlesnake is good eats!

            Anyway, peace to you and your parents.

          • I have some thoughts about snake handling and poison. It is written in scripture, “they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all.”

            Well, that statement as a metaphor means to me ….they will debate with mean spirited trolls who speak condemning words and not be discouraged, they will not die from their words or insults which are like snake bites and poison.”

  20. I heard a story once about a man who had a dream. He was walking along a path he knew well when a fog surrounded him and he lost his way. A figure appeared out of the fog and attacked him . They started to fight. He fought back intensely. But the harder he fought the more the figures came against him. He kept struggling and struggling , but no one gave in. Now there were hundreds against him. A hundred to one. He couldn’t stop beating them off. He knew if he gave up for one moment they would surely destroy him. Eventually he collapsed under their weight. He wept and resigned himself to the end. The figures stopped pounding him. The voices faded. The fog slipped away. In the end they didn’t destroy him, it was only a fog passing in the night.

  21. I know a Liberal Indian Christian, who sadly fits most of the profile you specifically believe is almost only present in Conservative white Christians. Do my Conservative Mexican American Christian friends fit your profile, too? I’m mostly German, thus white, and my ancestors had to change their last name to avoid being detained during WWII for supposedly being loyal to Hitler. I find it troubling that preconceptions are being made about me, just like my German ancestors, solely because I’m white, I’m Christian, and because my moral compass has currently inclined me to be considered conservative, regardless of my moral beliefs that are in alignment with liberal ideals. Neither the Democrat nor Republican parties fully represent the social issues of Christianity. Why does there need to be racial stereotypes associated with political parties and why are we seeming to allow political parties to define what a Christian should and should not ignore in The Bible?

    • Dear KatyW:

      Some probing questions there.

      As I see it, all parties are inherently parasitic. They see Christ’s body as the host, and desire to engorge themselves on its nourishment.

      Whenever ideologies of the left or right are able to overlay themselves on the local church, the elders are failing their duty to protect the church from heresy. Persons espousing partisanship in church are liable to ecclesial discipline. The congregation that does not practice Biblical church discipline Biblically is no church.


    • KatyW

      Stereotypes are there for a reason because there is truth to it. Pointing out a generalization makes it easier to write about a problem or a situation that is still going on or is still prevalent. All this fuss about JP using ‘White’ or ‘Christian’ in his title is a distraction. Journalist use this technique all the time to sum up their story in a headline. You will find similar stories about “White Americans” written in newspapers and journals. The hang-ups people are having over this is overblown. We need to gleam the truth from opinion. Read widely from all perspectives and examine ourselves. We can also encourage others to think about ‘if’ these things apply to ourselves and how we can do better. This is how I read John Pavlovitz’s blog and this is how I read Matt Walsh’s blog. With a critical mind.

      And, don’t forget Progressives are being generalized and stereotyped as well. It might be better to be a christian without affiliation although that would make it hard to commit to one church congregation.

  22. Dear JP Reader:

    The suffering of people here and now doesn’t fully move them because they see these people as only damned souls to be saved after they die.

    Translation: We’ve succumbed to Gnostic blasphemy.

    PS: I need Jesus too…

  23. Studies show that by any measure — giving time, money or even blood donations — conservatives are more generous. They just don’t lobby Caesar to “give” your money and count it as a good deed on their part. See

    So we already have the real Jesus. We give OUR money, not yours, because by definition we can’t give away what isn’t ours.

    The “Christian” Left are pro-perversion, pro-abortion extremists. They know nothing of the real Jesus.

  24. “The line separating good and evil runs through the heart of each person regardless of skin color” and regardless of any of the other “reasons” we separate ourselves from each other.

  25. Pingback: Remember Your Promises | Hey Preacher!

  26. Pingback: Conservative White Christians Need Jesus –

  27. You took the words right out of my mouth. I, personally, don’t know a single Christian who believes those things. I do know quite a few pastors who embody, “We will know they are Christians by their love, ” not condesention.

  28. Yes we do need Jesus…again! A second conversion. But all the dialog in the comments, much of which I agree with, won’t do it. Here is what did it for this once conservative white guy: Disillusionment. Sooner or later this self-absorbed, self-righteous religion will leave you empty. That’s where it left me. While groping in the darkness I chanced to start reading. Tolstoy. Bonhoeffer. Mother Teresa. Dorothy Day. The words of Jesus. I also got involved in the lives of people who needed some mercy, because I recognized I was the recipient of mercy. In the process I was transformed.

  29. An interesting question is: Why does John Pavlovitz get trolled so much? If a person doesn’t agree, they don’t have to come read his page. It’s not required by law, after all. What’s going on? Why don’t those who take offense at John Pavlovitz simply ignore him and hang out on conservative sites? The answer can be found in demographics. John Pavlovitz’s type of Christianity, along with others such as Rob Bell, Sister Joan Chittister, Father Richard Rohr, the late Matthew Fox and Marcus Borg, and (locally to me) Jim Rigby, represent the future of the church. Progressive Christianity is increasing in America, especially among young people, while conservative Christianity is decreasing. Nobody likes to see their power ebb, and nobody likes to see themselves being replaced. While trolls can be infuriating, and their anger can hook our anger, it’s an anger born of grief. John Pavlovitz has earned the loyalty and respect not only of multitudes of progressive Christians all over the world, but a fair number of atheists too. Conservative Christians can’t do that. According to Julia Guin of the Washington Times, white evangelicals are mostly incapable of converting any adults at all, and even their ability to retain their own youth is diminishing. That’s the hard reality they’re facing.

  30. Using their down home terminology and everything, this was incredible . I hope and pray that this can reach out to our country at its time of great need, and force the conservatives to stop playing mean Mr. Potter in “It’s A Wonderful Life”, and try to be Clarence ,or George.

  31. This is just beautiful…Careful, John, you might bring me back into the fold, and trust me, no one wants that 😀

  32. The great Southern writer Flannery O’Connor wrote, “But approaching the subject from the standpoint of the writer, I think it is safe to say that while the South is hardly Christ-centered, it is most certainly Christ-haunted.”

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