Are you a goat?

Are you a goat? December 18, 2012

Now y’all know I tend toward the kinder gentler form of blogging, right?  Y’all know that my meemaw would not approve of me hollerin’ in public  like some hick with rollers in my hair and a Marlboro hangin’ out of my mouth. Well, I’ve been asked more than a few times by some of y’all to stop being shy, to not be so damn polite and just speak boldly what I believe.

Well, ok, – here’s one for ya…

There are folks claiming to be Christians who feed on a heart-full of arrogant, ignorant, narrow interpretations of a dislodged handful of scripture and a head full of misogynistic, sycophant opportunists masquerading as self-proclaimed prophets. In my limited time on this blue ball I have experienced them as more interested in cramming their world-views, justified by a murky interpretation of holy texts, down an already parched throat than they are willing to allow the Spirit of grace and love to permeate their lives and be cooled by the waters of honest and faithful dialogue where a posture of listening and questioning are the paddles that keep us moving in this journey toward The Center. One such individual had the tits to ask if I take Matthew 25 literally since that is “the heart of the social gospel.”   I figured a full post in reply was worth my time, and maybe yours.

Sister – you are wrong on your thoughts about more than a few things (yes, I have taken the time to read your blog). Though you are not  wrong about Christians like Bonhoeffer, tenBoom and Stowe, you are dead wrong in your esteem for a people such as the Dobsons, Pipers, Spurgeons and Franklin Grahams of the world – how you can conflate the two types I am truly baffled.

Yes, I take Matthew 25 quite seriously and yes, I read it as one core element of the over-arching Narrative that calls me to speak up on the side of love for ALL people. But you are wrong if you think I take it literally – hell you do not really take it literally for if you did you would think it is actually and literally talking about  wooly little sheep and bristly old goats not an allegory about types of people -parables are not literal.   Yep, I read Matthew 25 and take it to deeply to heart and believe there are sheep and goats in the world  you just don’t realize I think you might be one of the goats.

I believe the goats are the ones who persecute others in the name of legalistic religion devoid of love and compassion – and perhaps so did Jesus (Mark 3:1-6) .  I believe the goats are the ones who spend more time and money ranting about sexuality than caring for the poor, hungry and imprisoned  – and just maybe Jesus did too (John 8).  And I sure as hell believe the goats are the ones who claim that God would allow children to be slaughtered because an earthly government actually believes in the protection of ALL religion and can not allow state-sanctioned prayer of ONE religion in public schools.  That sort of belief about God is blasphemy and I will not tolerate it anymore. As Rachel Held Evans said – God cannot be kept out.  Any blithering Fox news rant or pathetic blog that claims God would do such is blasphemy plain and simple. God did not allow or cause such horror.  That is not the God of the manger, that is not the God of the Beatitudes, that is not the God executed by the state on a cross and that is not the God of the empty tomb.

It is time that more of us who see the goats masquerading as Christians lift the wool from their backs and reclaim the Gospel.

Next post  is a peppy little ditty for Advent and Christmas – I believe, help my unbelief (or the waiting is the hardest part)!

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480 responses to “Are you a goat?”

  1. When someone does not agree with you, and says so, it is a rant? And you characterize such people with ugly words? Then you sign off, “peace.”

    • I am only telling the truth that needs to be told over and over again. Look around all of my posts and read the comments of people hurting at the horns of the goats I call out and read what a relief it is to hear a Christian tell a different story.

  2. I’m really thrilled I stumbled upon this. I’ve kept my faith secret and rather useless for a couple decades, for fear of being mistaken for, or even becoming, one of the goats. I haven’t had a church family for about 20yrs, and haven’t had a desire to find one.

    I still don’t know where I stand on that, but knowing that a community of people like you exist gives me hope that I am not alone, and the courage to come out of my own Christian closet.

    Thank you.

    • Hi Jennifer, I so understand the sense behind being a secret or closet christian particular when our faith can be associated so often with prejudice and hatred. I’m quite frankly embarrassed sometimes by what my so called brothers and sisters in christ say and do! But heck I’m also getting sick and tired of letting them (the goats) define Christianity to the rest of the world – hence I came out of the closet last year and I’m now trainining to become a minister. I’m probably crazt but I’d rather be on the side of this kind of crazy, wouldn’t you? Besides ‘the goats’ need loving too. At the end of the day there’s no actual ‘us and them’ only us people- anxious, vulnerable, fragile people.
      Where ever you are, I wish you well. You are not alone!

  3. Thank you Kimberly! I can’t tell you how much I needed to read this!! I’m writing this in Derbyshire UK, where it seems that being “shy and damn polite” is an occupational hazard and Christianity specifically in the Church of England has been stampeded by herds of goats. It’s a right old barn yard over here. For decades I’ve wisely been on that back pew too – I mean who in their right mind would want to get involved with organised religion? So it’s something of a shock to now be training to become an ordained minister in the Cof E. It’s been a long winding road and despite wondering what on earth I’m doing, I’m daft enough to think I need to make my voice heard and enable other voices to be heard that “speak up on the side of love for ALL people”. The thing is there seems to be few wooly sheep kicking off and being heard, or maybe it was ever thus I don’t know. What I do know is that reading your blog feels like an antidote to being isolated and inarticulate so I’m eternally grateful to you to for speaking boldly. God bless you sister! I dream of a church filled and led by more people like you.

    • Cath,

      You make my heart sing and my eyes tear up. I am so grateful you are bringing your voice here and to the world as a minister. There is so much good we can do if only more of us are willing to take a risk and speak up and act out!


  4. These are some very mean streets on both sides. Hope you all obliterate one another with your wise cracking vocab. The meek will inherit the earth. I’ve lived through the extremes and you ar really missing it here.

    • Wow,
      You’re not the meek if you hope we destroy one another.

      Actually sister, if you read other posts of mine, bother to get to know me before you offer your superior judgement on “both sides” you will see that I do indeed take a kind and gentle tone more often that not. The thing is, we can only keep silent for so long. If we do not speak up on the side of love and justice then we are participating in the evil that is masquerading as Christianity. Choosing to do nothing is really a choice to support oppression.

      Jesus was most certainly not a doormat as he stood up to the religious and state authorities of his day. He and his followers in New Testament times were compassionate, and they were non-violent, but they were not doormat, milk-toast men and women. For example,”turn the other cheek” thoughtfully understood, actually encourages subversive, even dangerously subversive behavior.

      Jesus often publicly pointed out injustice or hypocrisy, and frequently irritated and even enraged “the powers that be” – to his own death.

      I invite you to become familiar with Walter Wink…'%20Third%20Way.pdf

      Peace be with you.

      • The GOSPEL has been reduced to a message merely about forgiveness while the idea of regeneration and transformation seems almost totally forgotten. GRACE has become simply a gigantic hug from God and is no longer the muscle of God brought to earth to aid the weakness of men and to give them strength. FAITH has morphed into this bizarre idea of “honest doubt” and has lost its essence of rock-solid unwavering confidence in the ability of God to perform that which He promises. HOLINESS has transformed into moralistic tyranny for the soul and something to be avoided at all costs. RIGHTEOUSNESS has been redefined to mean an unreachable standard of perfection. PURITY has become nothing more than a legalistic attempt to stay away from things and thoughts that God knows we won’t be able to abstain from anyway. LOVE has become unconditional acceptance and tolerance of sin. ~Eric Ludy from the BRAVEHEARTED GOSPEL

        • Wow, that’s a pretty flagrant comment. Perhaps you should re-read your gospel and meditate upon it a bit. Because I’m pretty sure that Jesus had a lot to say about love, and relatively little to say about how to justify your own prejudices by misusing the scriptures.

          • Big ideas, fancy words, but how do you address Matthew 23? Specifics please, naked. Do you refer to yourself as a red letter Christian? If so, I guess you don’t pay heed to verses such as 1 Peter 4:18 “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”

  5. Kimberly,

    First time reading your blog. I grew up Baptist and now quite far from the religion of my childhood (I’m a Pagan now, and a queer one to boot), and I think if I had known more Christians who thought, acted, and wrote as you did, I wouldn’t have had so many scars in my heart as a child. Thank you for the kind and kickass reminder of the best of what Christianity can be. Thank you for taking a stand against ignorance and hatred. Thank you for being a pretty cool person.


    • Daniel, kind sir, your comment, you my new friend are exactly why I write. I hope my fumbling around on the journey can be a tiny of flicker of light. Love you!

  6. Dear Kimberly,

    Thank you so much for having the courage and tenacity to stand up for what is right. One of the greatest aspects of the United States is that we all have the freedom to practice or faith (or non-faith) in the manner of our choosing. Our nation is shocked and in mourning for this horrific tragedy; to use this as a political scheme is disgraceful and only adds to the hurt. We should be concentrating on providing love, support, and healing for the victims and their families. These “goats” may bleat and paw, but they will lose. We are a nation of many peoples, ethnicities, religions and cultures – that is our strength. Thanks agains for speaking up and shouting out against injustice, intolerance, and bigotry. Your meemaw would be proud.

    • Thank you so much friend, your words truly mean a lot to me. I am utterly shocked by some of my friends and even seminary colleagues who are using language of punishment in the context of this conversation. Though I hate it deeply I am afraid I will need to cut some ties here soon.

  7. …I have different family legends than you, it seems.

    Once, there was a time when the Hebrews used to get together once a year, pick the toughest of its herd, weigh it down with all the sins and foibles of the tribes, and exile it to death in the desert – making of it, literally, a ‘scapegoat’

    my grandmother told me that the reason the Christians gave their devil goat horns was partly because of Pan, and all the other local ‘spring kings’ – but also because goats are stubborn, resilient, competent, and do quite well on their own, where sheep took to domestication so well that they quickly lost the ability to live without mankind.

    Goats do not fit in with the Controlling Church not because they are evil creatures, but because they exist in an naturally anarchistic state, able to judge friend or foe for themselves, and that did not suit the Church, who wanted a flock of sheep, easy to herd, afraid of the dogs (well are they named DominiCanis) and not prone to mischeif.

  8. By this very logic people who spend their time ranting and raving about how they think sexual immorality isn’t a sin would be goats too.

    Those who turn the grace of God into a license for immorality are goats. Jesus himself discussed adultery, lust, fornication, and marriage – Do you think he is a goat as well?

    • Actually, a key component of her logic was the amount of time and money spent on said ranting in comparison to time and money spent caring about others.

      Implicitly, there is also the purpose of said ranting — is the rant designed to create fear and gain control over others, or to drive out fear and set others free from oppression? The people ranting about sexuality seek to control the behavior of others, to become oppressors. The emotion behind Kimberly’s post is directed at oppressors on behalf of the oppressed. There’s a bit of a difference there.

      • Thank you Matt for your support – I am glad you spoke up as one who understood when Casey clearly did not.