A lot of people are surprised to find out that I go to church with all my best drinking friends.
And I'm surprised at their surprise.
The Christian church is for everyone, and I'm sick of this idea that you have to have your act together to go to church somewhere.
So here's some new permissions and qualifications for going to church:
1. You don't have to stop drinking. In fact, you don't even have to be completely sober on Sunday morning. Go drunk if you want. It's ok.
2. You don't have to stop smoking - anything.
3. You don't have to stop looking at porn.
4. You don't have to stop being racist.
5. You don't have to be white to go to a white church, and you don't have to be black to go to a black church.
6. You don't have to be reconciled to your wife, your kids, your parents, or anyone.
7. You don't have to dress up, or cover your tattoos or remove your piercings.
8. You certainly don't have to stop cussing.
9. You don't have to vote republican, or democrat, or even care about politics whatsoever.
10. You don't have to be straight, or married, or never-divorced.
11. You don't have to have a clean criminal record.
12. You don't even have to be in this country legally.
13. You don't have to stop being angry.
14. You don't have to love Jesus, or be a Christian, or even believe in God.
15. You don't have to ask God to forgive your sins.
16. You don't even have to admit that you have any sins that need forgiving.
17. You don't have to take communion or be baptized, or say any kind of weird prayers.
18. You don't have to stand up, sit down, raise your hands, clap, sing, or even stay awake the whole time.
Come angry, tired, lonely, confused, frightened, suicidal, drunk, stoned, full of rage, careless, reckless, weak, anxious, nervous, sad, scared, and skeptical. Come bruised, beaten, and stupid. Come prideful, perfect, and pain-free if you want. You can come to church the exact same asshole you are today. Sit in the back and be angry, or sit in the front and cry, or stand in the lobby panting like a madman, but don't stay away because you don't think you're good enough.
And don't let anyone tell you you're not welcome, ever.
The moment a church turns someone away out of shame is the moment they need to lock the front doors, grab an axe and chop the cross off their steeple.
Jesus came with grace, and I'm sick of church people taking that power away from him and keeping it for themselves.
From this point forward, there will be no more withholding of grace in the Christian church for all eternity.
You are welcome, just as you are right this second.
Be confident in your assuredness that the grace of Jesus applies to you, your neighbor, and your mortal enemy, whether you like it or not.
In spite of all our fakery, Jesus' program remains firm. He saves losers and only losers. He raises the dead and only the dead. - Robert Farrar Capon.