Tag Archives: law

From a Battle Cry to a Peaceful Sigh

21 Apr

I had never felt such a deep sense of purpose as when Ron Luce announced in 2005 that we had 4-5 years to save the world.

I was 19, an intern at Teen Mania Ministries just finishing my first year. I was full of fire, wide-eyed and ready for more action.

According to his passionate “statistic” laden speech, if we didn’t get the teens of our country saved in the next few years, then America would become a post-christian culture where only 4% of the population would claim they believed in Jesus. And that would be the moral downfall of our nation and the rest of the world.

I had always felt that beneath my fear and self-loathing, maybe I was destined for something great.

I knew I was going to be a writer, but writing wasn’t enough.

I wanted immediate results.

The world was dying and needed me.

After all, what else was going to give me purpose?

What else was going to give me worth?

I felt the stirring, maybe the same stirring young men have when signing up for war.

The need to be a part of something greater than myself.

It was, after all, a spiritual war, or so they told us over and over.

Our weapons were prayer, but prayer wasn’t enough.

Our tactic was large Christian youth events, but that wasn’t enough.

They needed to be the biggest, the best, the most relevant, in order to snatch the young people of America from the moral decline of of our once god-fearing country, the sexualization promoted by MTV and Victoria Secrets, and the violence made “cool” by Grand Theft Auto.

This “spiritual war” quickly transitioned into a cultural one.

It wasn’t until I was on my last year touring on the road after three years, that I began to realize:

This had nothing to do with Jesus.

But if I couldn’t save the world by telling teens to turn to God and away from distractions and sin, what was my purpose?

I forgot I was a writer somewhere along the lines. But my experiences haunted me, crept through me, and just wouldn’t leave me alone. They had to be told.

At first, the words came out the only way I was conditioned to let them: as a rallying cry.

I wanted my stories to move people out of their “comfortable christianity” to do something.

But I was still trying to change everything.

The main issue was, I didn’t yet realize Jesus already had.

I remembered being in a van, riding back to my hotel in San Francisco. We were expecting 20,000 to attend our huge youth rally at the Giants Stadium that weekend.

It was the height of the Battle Cry movement, and the media was angry, which made us even more excited,

“It means we are making a difference! We are being persecuted! Yay!”

People lined up on the city hall steps to hold a rally and pray. There was nothing specifically said against homosexuality, but the residents of the city felt like our choice of location spoke very loudly- after all, those were the same historic steps where homosexual marriage took place.

It sure looked like we were there to fight a cultural war. I didn’t recognize it at the time because I was smack dab in the middle of it.

I was just trying to do God’s work.

So there I was, driving down the road that ran in front of the city hall steps. On my left on the steps were my people, a passionate group of young teenagers and youth pastors, praying and singing worship songs, speaking over a bullhorn about taking back America for God.

On the other side, was them. Protestors. Supporters of the LGBT community. Atheists. Liberal media. Transvestites dressed as nuns.

I felt sick. Dizzy looking from side to side.

I wondered if Jesus were there, where he would stand.

We drove by quickly, and I was relieved to be in the van, to avoid participating.

Something was wrong, fundamentally, deep down.

I had spoken a gay nun earlier, at another California event. We had an honest conversation and it really put some things into perspective for me. The funny thing was, the sign he was holding said, “God is love.” I don’t remember much specifically about the conversation, only that we were interrupted several times by youth pastors wanting to put their two cents in.

Something was wrong.

And it wasn’t just Teen Mania.

It was me.

Jesus never pushed people aside in the name of  “standing up for truth.”

He was truth, and demonstrated it in his actions, with his loving words.

The ones he spoke harshly against were the ones who put morality over people.

The ones who valued their “cause” over individuals.

He did not bother fighting a cultural war.

He realized who the real enemy was.

He never even claimed his “rights.”

He knew his citizenship was first and foremost heaven.

I’ve known all this for some time, but do I really believe it? It’s so much easier to value “stone-cold, hard truth,”  because it’s tangible. The law feels easier.

When it comes to belief, it’s a little scarier.

You can’t control another’s beliefs. You can’t even know them, really.

Jesus said once, “Your only sin is that you don’t believe.”

Which makes sense because what we believe about Jesus and God is the single most important thing about us. I mean, that is life, to know Jesus, and how can you know what you don’t believe in?

Also, what we believe about ourselves matters greatly. Because if we don’t believe Jesus has given us all things, we won’t act out of that. Instead, we’ll think we have try to behave and avoid sin by focusing on all our flaws and trying really, really hard to be good. Ridiculous, right?


So what we believe matters greatly. I think we can create our entire reality based on what we think about.

Negativity attracts negativity.

In the same way, positive thinking attract positive things.

But that is not the end of the story.

There is this thing called grace, and in one way, it turns the whole system on it’s back.

Or, as Bono so wonderfully put it,

Grace, she travels outside of karma.

But at the same time it makes the whole thing truer than true.

Grace is a gift. And that gift is all things pertaining to anything positive: life and love.

But in order to take that gift, you must first know that you do not have to pay for it, and believe that even though it may seem to good to be true, it is.

Now, isn’t that a better purpose? I don’t have to save the world. In order to really “make a difference” I simply feel compelled to speak and write the truth of what Jesus has already accomplished:

All. Things.

Now I can rest.


Breathe out.

Be at peace.

That is my purpose. To love and be loved and rest in his grace. 

I know this now. I wish I could go back and tell twenty-year-old me that. I wish I could sit down with her and calm her anxious and zealous heart. I’d tell her she doesn’t have to break her back working for a ministry, volunteering her time, burning herself out pouring out to the world.

I’d tell her she doesn’t have to choose sides.

I’d tell her she is free. That Jesus has already redeemed. That grace is truly enough.

I’d tell her,

The war that your fighting has already been won. 

(Sleeping at Last)

An Open Letter of Apology (To Anyone I Gave Religion Instead of Love)

7 Feb


It’s me, Brooke. I am a gorgeous mess, an abstract soul, a work of art some people can’t decipher.

In the past I was full of fear and insecurity. I hated myself. I remember making a mental list of all the things that would have to change to become “normal.” Some things were in my power to fix, some were out of my control. I was only five or six years old.

I always knew God was real, and that he loved me, but somewhere along the lines I adopted the suffocating belief system that he would love me more if I was better.

If I was holier. If I was normal.

Given the option at eighteen to pick between the dirty, crooked, path I saw myself heading down, and the pristine holiness I thought was attainable, I took the latter. I threw myself into a lifestyle of dedication and purity,  of prayer and sacrifice.

I just wanted to be better.

I just wanted God.

I know during those roller coaster years of losing the parts of me I hated, and reinventing myself to be who I thought I needed to be, I alienated you.

For this I am deeply sorry.

I am sorry for thinking your sin was worse than mine because it came out in your actions instead of just dwelling alone in your head.

I am sorry for judging and giving you a formula prescription instead of really listening to your story.

I am sorry for believing my righteousness was connected to my rightness.

I am sorry for giving you law instead of love.

I  am sorry for blindly following others, for allowing myself to become a robot.

I am sorry for being afraid of truth that dressed a little differently then what I was used to.

I am sorry for making it “us vs. them” and for putting you in the “them” category.

I am sorry for preaching Jesus’ love but living like a Pharisee.

I think about how I used to view the world, and it seems like I don’t even speak the same language.

Before, everything was cause and effect, an eye for an eye, reaping and sowing.

Now, I know there is nothing I can do to make me better.

This is the Good News.

It’s not persuading someone of some historical facts, or convincing someone they are broken and need fixing.

We are all beyond broken.

We are dead.

Then life comes in, and everything changes.

This life is purely gratuitous.

It’s more than we could ever need. We don’t have to polish it up. We don’t have to add anything to it.

We miraculously become complete.

Believing this is how I finally learned to love myself.

So, while I can’t erase those years of living under bondage  and putting chains on you with my words and actions,

By grace, I will now write and speak only of freedom and grace.

Where you go from here is up to you.

Sometimes these things seem too good to be true, but that’s exactly what makes them true.

So please, forgive me.

Please, throw out anything that doesn’t bring life, especially religion.

Embrace Jesus who is love and grace, and be free.




“God’s Will” Doesn’t Tie Us Up

24 Sep

Christianity is a weird and awkward thing. The more I love Jesus and see who He really is the more I realize I want absolutely nothing to do with religion.

“Religion” literally means, “to bind or tie.”

I have returned to bondage over and over again in my life.
I have listened to the voice, and I have parroted the voice that says:

You are not praying enough.
You need to read (and translate and study and apply) the bible more to your life.
You need to give God more of your life.
You are not doing enough to meet the needs of the world.
You are not telling enough people about Jesus.
You need to make sure you avoid anything that looks sinful.
You need to give everything you have, not waste a single second, always be trying to become a better human being.

Sounds like good advice…..right?

In the past, it sure seemed like it. I used to give that advice to others when they struggled. I used to preach that advice, believe it, try to live up to it, but now the grace of God has revealed it for what it is: disgusting.

It adds links, one by one, to the heavy rusted chain around your neck, choking all life out.

When you grow up in the mindset that these things, listed above, are necessary to be “in”— to be loved, to be worthy to gain an eternal reward— it is hard to be released from those sort of shackles.

It feels safe inside the bondage of religion. It feels easier to try to be under the law and attempt to gain some sort of right-ness with God by the petty little things you do, but it is just worthless.

So worthless.

Then, to complicate things even more, I brought “THE WILL OF GOD”  (Duh, Dun DUHH! Pause for dramatic music) into the whole matter.

(Now, I cringe at that phrase, thinking how many lives have been ruined by attaching that label to a selfish, evil, or just plain lame decisions and events.)

As if it were not enough to try to avoid sin and “get closer” to God, I believed if I wasn’t close enough I wouldn’t be able to hear His voice and understand what he wants me to do with my life. Oh the pressure.

This is especially treacherous when you are eighteen and you have to have a complete life vision and plan from the LORD all laid out or you will end up a drifting loser and make all the mistakes your friends did, living some mediocre life in the suburbs with your eyes glued to the television and the world will end up dying because you did not fulfill your DESTINY.

Or, at least that is what I believed. Maybe I was crazy.

So I fasted, cried, read more books, sought consul from “more mature” Christians, prayed, and screamed:

“God just tell me what to DO!!”

I lived in fear that I’d marry the wrong person, have the wrong job (or be in the wrong ministry, because the thought of having a “normal” job sounded like suicide,) move to the wrong country, miss out COMPLETELY on God’s “perfect will” and waste my short life, ending on my death bed with regret. DUN DUN DUHHHHHH!

(All these thoughts were religious, returning me to bondage.)

The great irony is,

The will of God is simply that I live in freedom, in love, in Him.

It was never hidden until I was “good enough” to see it, it was always right there for me to see, my eyes were just closed.

I am so grateful for a God that rescues.

He wouldn’t let me stay in my chains playing with my filthy rags.  He gently led me to a place where I realized I had nothing.

I saw my neediness. I saw my failure. My own stinking humanity.

I saw the worthless and futility of it all.

I came to see I can’t do a thing, and that’s the point.

But there is a but.

“Then who can be saved?”

“With man it is impossible, but with God all things are possible. “

Yes. Hallelujah. LIFE. This is the Good News.

There is no fear in that. There is no pressure. There is no condemnation. There is no “getting it wrong.”

As I my eyes have been opened to what is behind the veil that has been torn,

I see all things have already been done, all things are already mine, and it changes everything.

I don’t need to ask God what His will is, it’s right there! For me to start believing all that I have in Him.

Yet at times I still choose not to believe, to allow emotions and confusion to take place of the reality of His life in me. When I can’t see where I am going, when I don’t know where I am going to live or what I am going to do or how I am going to make it, I go back to my old cry, “God just tell me what to DO!!”

And then, I hear it, a  whisper:

“Here’s what to do- let me love you.
Stop trying.
Realize this is a gift, this life, this right-ness with me.
There is nothing but Grace, it is not a concept, it is ME.
I have given you all things.
There is nothing you can do to be closer to me, I am as close as your breath.
I will take you on this beautiful, wild adventure if you just stop trying to figure things out.
You don’t need to return to bondage by trying to be better, you never will be.
Let go of that.
Let me live through you.
Let me love in you and out of of you.
Then you will live in joy. You will not know guilt. You will be free from fear.
Your life will be abundant because it will be my life.
You will not look at your petty sin because you will look at me.
You will dream big and have the courage and motivation to follow those dreams.
You will not need to constantly stop and ask me which way to go, because you will know I am the way.
You will stop asking for answers and rest in my love.
You will stop asking for a plan and realize, this is the only plan- to know me and be known by me.
That is my will.”


*For a great biblical teaching on this, check out Andrew Farley’s Message Click on “Recent Messages” Then  “8-28-11- Finding God’s Will.”

Or e-mail me- writeeveryday@gmail.com and I’ll send it to you.

Also you should read a blog by Don Miller, because he is awesome.

Men & Rocks (A Parable)

30 Aug

Two men were walking down an old dusty road called life carrying sacks.

One stopped along the way and picked up a stone called “Addiction,” and put it in his sack. The second man picked up a stone called “Evangelism.”

They walked a little further, when the first man found a rock called “Sexual Sin.” He put it in his sack. Nearby, the second man realized he must be missing something so he found a rock called “Feeding the Poor,” and did the same.

The two men walked on, a little slower this time because of the weight. The first man stopped by a tree and found a large boulder called “Self-Hatred” which he carefully squeezed into his bag. The second man found one just as big called “My Reputation,” and fit it in his bag.

They continued along the road. The first man acquired several more over the miles of travel: “Abuse,” “Dishonesty,” and “Drunkenness.”

The second man also picked up more to add to his load. They were big shiny rocks with long fancy names such as: “Memorizing Scripture,” “Attending Church,” and “Protesting Abortion.”

By this time, both men could barely walk under the load.

Out of nowhere, along came a man with a smile on his face. He stopped and looked at the men, both sweating and straining under their heavy sacks.

“Let me carry them.” He offered, firmly but gently. The first man put down his sack and looked inside. He recognized the rocks were no good. They were jagged and dirty and making his back ache. He closed the sack and handed it to the smiling man, grateful for the relief.

The second man put down his sack and looked in. All his rocks seemed were smooth and shiny, even though they were just as heavy.

“I can’t just let him carry them,” he thought to himself,  “They are my responsibility. Besides, they are not all dirty and jagged like the other man’s rocks.”

So the second man said “No thank you.” He closed his bag, and hoisted it back onto his own aching back. He continued to shuffle down the road, miserable and sweaty, but filled with a sense of self-pride.

The first man joyfully skipped down the road, following his savior, free from all things that had weighed him down.


%d bloggers like this: