Read an Excerpt From "God Told Me to Hate You"

Now Featured in the Patheos Book Club
God Told Me To Hate You:
An Evangelical Minister's Escape From the Clerical Closet

by Tom Muzzio

Regarding the book's title. Where did that ever come from? There is a general understanding that fundamentalist Christians and Roman Catholics are quite different. Catholics talk to God, but God talks to Protestants. In no place is this more obvious than Pentecostal churches, where even the most unsophisticated can get a "word of knowledge" directly from the mouth of the Almighty himself.

Years ago I was preaching in an Assembly of God church in Springfield, Oregon. During the course of the sermon I mentioned that I had a phobia about something, which I presently don't even recall. But the part I remember fondly is what happened after the service, during the period when the acolytes swarm down upon the visiting speaker, usually asking for a special prayer or blessing from one of God's truly anointed. On this particular evening, a well-meaning, portly woman in a white faux fur coat and matching boots pushed her way up to me. She looked like a polar bear, and the ensemble just wouldn't have been complete without the matching white coffee-table-sized family Bible that she carried conspicuously near her heart. She came up to share a word that the Lord had given directly to her for me during my sermon.

"Brother Muzzio," she exclaimed breathlessly, "God gave me a word of knowledge while you were preaching, and he told me to tell you that you should have no phobias. Phobias are of the devil. In fact, while you were preaching I saw the letter "F" appear on your tongue! That was clearly a sign that God doesn't want you to have any more fobias!"

I admit that I was a bit skeptical. Either God needed an editor or spell-check. But what could I say? God told her!