Open Letter to Chipotle

In “honor” of Pride Month, here is an article I posted on last year during Pride Month.


I received an email from my local Chipotle Mexican Grill on June 12 advertising an upcoming event at the Lakeville, MN location. The event was a “Drag Lunch” featuring drag queens Trixie Mattel, Kim Chi, and Gottmik. The entertainers will come dressed in “Chipotle-fied looks” and perform stand-up comedy sets. Proceeds from every lunch sold will be donated to the charity of each performer’s choice: GLAAD, Trans Lifeline, and The Human Rights Campaign. Each charity can raise a maximum of $15K a piece, with the “winner” receiving an additional $10K in prize money. What follows is my open letter to Chipotle.


Dear Chipotle,

Chipotle should be commended for its dedication to a zero-tolerance discrimination policy. As a person with a deformed face, I can attest, this ethos is much needed, and greatly appreciated. With that said, there is a vast sea of difference between protecting the rights of your LGBTQIA+ employees and foisting the agenda of the LGBTQIA+ community upon an otherwise incurious community.

I understand that being recognized as a pro-gay business is en vogue. I also understand that it is extremely lucrative. Chad Kempe, the man behind Flip Phone Events raised a whopping $88K in one afternoon during a Drag Brunch at Union Rooftop restaurant in Minneapolis.

But cashflow aside, are we really “supporting and empowering” LGBTQIA+ individuals when we provide these types of public platforms? Think about it. We are inviting drag queens into the public square, putting them in silly “Chipotle-fied looks,” and having them entertain us while we eat. Doesn’t this sound a bit reminiscent of the old circus side shows where unfortunate deformed and disabled individuals were corralled into tents where patrons, for a small cover charge, could come in to freely point and gawk?

If you don’t want to take my “un-woke” word for it, perhaps you will listen to the words of unrepentant, loud-and-proud drag queen, Kitty Demure, who recently went on record speaking to moms saying, “I have no idea why you want drag queens to read books to your children. I have no idea. What in the hell has a drag queen ever done to make you have so much respect for them and admire them so much, other than to put on make-up and jump on the floor and writhe around and do sexual things onstage?”

I have spent the last three years working with the ex-LGBTQIA+ community (a massive multitude of individuals whose numbers have been suppressed and whose voices have been silenced because their lifestyles fly in the face of the “scientific facts” being disseminated upon the masses). Over the course of these three years, I have met some precious people…many of whom have become dear friends. They are survivors. They are overcomers. Without exception, every one of them that I have had the pleasure of getting to know has escaped and overcome pasts that the average human being could never imagine. Sexual abuse, rejection, abandonment, toxic shame, and trauma. Without exception, these individuals speak about a rock star lifestyle of drugs, alcohol, substance and sex addiction—a constant attempt to cover up and compensate the constant feelings of abandonment, abasement, and abuse.

Is it “loving” to ignore the deep-seeded pain, sorrow, loss, abuse, and trauma of fellow human beings? Should we sweep this level of hurt under the carpet and encourage these individuals to remain as is? And for what—our entertainment? Rather than befriending these individuals and getting to know their heart, we settle for inviting them to rooftops, burrito joints, and public libraries where, for a small cover charge, we can gawk at them like they are nothing more than soulless, circus freaks.

This is why, despite Chipotle being my all-time favorite restaurant, one that I frequent multiple times a month (sometimes twice a week!) I can no longer support Chipotle. As of June 12, I will not be returning to a Chipotle restaurant; because the wholeness, health, and wellbeing of fellow human beings is of more value to me than an overpriced cup of guacamole (even if it is best guac I’ve ever tasted).

Where will the “up to $55K” raised at this (and forthcoming) “drag lunches” go? It will go towards organizations that are striving to unwittingly keep LGBTQIA+ individuals in a perpetual unhealed state of trauma and toxic shame, and rather than empowering these individuals, these organizations will blindly keep them forever relegated in the public’s minds-eye to that of sideshow attractions that exist for the sole purpose of satiating our unquenchable quest for entertainment.

Politics, proclivities, and philosophy aside, I urge you, Chipotle, to simply stick to doing what you do best—burritos. If I want help in transforming the hearts and minds of my community, I’ll volunteer at a church or a rec center. When I walk into a Chipotle, I want lunch—not a lecture.

With utmost sincerity,

Vicki Joy Anderson


Consider the Chickens, O Wounded!

A friend of mine recently began sharing with me some of the frustrations of raising chickens. She began talking about pecking order and the precautions that need to be taken to protect those birds lowest in pecking order. I couldn’t help but see the allegorical social similarities between chickens and kids in junior high. For those of you, like me, who were of the “lowest pecking order” amongst our peers in school, you will soon see that we need not stretch the imaginations far to see the lessons to be learned by observing a chicken coop.

Here is an excerpt from the website

Pecking at each other is normal chicken behavior. It’s probably the most used form of communication amongst a flock. Sometimes when a chicken is molting, it will have bald spots. Normal pecking will often result in a wound. The chickens doing the pecking don’t necessarily aim for the bald spot, it just happens.

But when chickens draw blood, they go a little berserk. For some reason, blood sends everyone into a frenzy, and they further attack the already-wounded animal. The more blood there is, the more they attack; and most often, this will end in death for the wounded animal.

Sometimes, I will have a chicken that just gets picked upon constantly. She’s most likely towards the bottom of the pecking order. If she has wounds, I’ll be more likely to remove her from the flock and put her in our chicken infirmary until her wounds are completely healed. If she is molting, I’ll keep her until she is fully feathered again.

We touched on this last week, but it bears repeating; when a chicken has been removed from the flock, it will lose its place in the pecking order and be treated as a newcomer. Newcomers are treated terribly by the existing flock and must prove themselves if they are to be anywhere but the bottom of the pecking order.

For this reason, it’s important that you always introduce, or reintroduce, chickens to an existing flock in groups of 2 or more so that they get a break from the harassment until the new pecking order is established. It is also important that newbies are in top condition with no bald spots or wounds before being brought back to the coop.

At Agape First Ministries, we talk a lot about how the Church has both wittingly and unwittingly mishandled, hurt, damaged, and in some cases even downright rejected or driven off, same-sex attracted individuals and those coming out of the LGBTQ lifestyle. People who are searching for community—safety, love, acceptance—family.

I wonder if there is something to be learned here? By removing these individuals from the flock (the larger church body/megachurch lobbies and gatherings), bringing them into a soul infirmary (one-on-one personal discipleship and relationship building), and then introducing them back into the Church coop with “2 or more” gathered around them (think in terms of Aaron and Hur, holding Moses’ arms up throughout the battle).

In God’s economy, the first shall be last and the last shall be first. If this isn’t a verse about pecking order, I don’t know what is! This verse shows us that when Jesus walks into the Christian Coop (aka the Church), He searches out those lowest in the pecking order, He gently picks them up, and holds them in His arms—safe from the frenzy of clucking and pecking—heals their wounds and sets them back on their feet. He is also there to watch over that fledgling, newly healed bird, ensuring that they move up the pecking order from last to first.

I have seen Him do this in my own life. How beautiful that He has baked this process into observable creation—in a chicken coop, of all places! Solomon once said, “Consider the ant, O sluggard!” To which I say, “Consider the chickens, O wounded!” And to the Church I say, WHO are you in this scenario? The loving farmer, tending to His much-loved bruised little birdie…or one of the chickens with the smell of some wounded bird’s blood filling your nostrils?

Truth be told, I believe we have all been on both sides of the beak. The good news is, there is hope and healing for all of us. 

Beautifully Broken

Kintsugi (which translates to English as, “golden joinery”) is a Japanese art form which employs lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum to repair broken or cracked pottery.

This is likely a foreign concept to our modern Walmart worldview of, “meh, just buy a new one!” But kintsugi is so much more than some ancient superglue secret—it is a deeply philosophical psychology of self-identity.

According to the “Traditional Kyoto” website, kintsugi is a philosophy which, “…treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.”  In other words, in the same way that great, great-great grandma Sarah’s butter dish is worthy of repair because it holds the memories of four-to-five generations of family history; likewise, our heart, once fractured, split, or cracked, hold a history, a bevy of memories, a voice, a past, a story, and most of all, it holds value.

I remember about a decade ago, driving alone in my car blasting a Pantera song on my car stereo, hitting repeat over and over again, singing with the clanging, clashing, discordant heavy metal tune with all the passion of a Scottish regiment warrior marching into battle. The song, ugly as it was, had become my anthem.

Look at me now
I’m broken!
Inherit my life
I’m broken!

Over and over again, I vocal fried those words from the depths of a hollow pit where I sat in silence with a soul long covered with cobwebs, preferring the darkness to the exposure of light…because where light was…there were people; and where people were, there was PAIN.

I cringe now looking back on that season in my life because I was playing right into the Adversary’s hand. God was telling me through His Word that I was knit together in my mother’s womb, and that while I was there, being fearfully and wonderfully made, HE was there with me! Those 9 months of gestation, I was in the very heart of where I strive every single day in a prayer closet to find myself again—in His presence. Safe. Surrounded by love and perfect shalom.

But the Adversary wants us to forget all that. He doesn’t want us to know who we are. He wants us to believe we are rotten, ugly, worthless, unlovable, unforgivable. So, he stirs up our mind and our heart and our emotions until we are whipped up in a frenzy, screaming, “I’m broken!” on the top of our lungs—thinking in some distorted way that some heavy metal singer has more insight into our hearts than our own Creator.

That’s where kintsugi comes in. This golden joinery isn’t just some smelly tube of super glue—but the filling in of the cracks with something precious—something of value. Lots of kintsugi pottery is done with 24K gold, making in many cases, the cracks the most valuable part of the pottery.

I used to look in the mirror and all I could see were the scars. The scars represented pain, trauma, surgeries, being bullied, rejection, heartache, shame. If only these scars weren’t on my face! I spent decades in that mindset, until I learned about kintsugi. As I was listening to it being explained, and photos of golden cracked pottery were being shown, the Holy Spirit flashed a picture in my mind. It was a picture of my face, with a 24K gold scar running across my forehead and down my reconstructed nose. That was the first time I saw my face through His eyes. I saw the design. The intentionality. And the beauty of my scars.

But the scars on my face were only half the battle. My heart was pretty battle scarred too. That’s the long part of the journey—digging to the deepest dregs of our despair and handing the crumbling pieces over to Jesus. When I began my healing process, I remember not wanting to unlock the soul cellar and show Jesus all the smelly, rat-infested, moldy memories of my hurt and pain. I was ashamed of these memories, but Jesus wasn’t. Remember, this is the guy who touched dead bodies and lepers, and He didn’t get sick, they got well!

As I handed each sorrow over to him, one by one, instead of plugging His nose or sending it flying into a trash bag, I saw in my mind, Jesus gently taking each hurt and placing it in a curio cabinet. After everything was displayed in the cabinet, through the Light of His love, the once ugly memories took on a certain look of beauty—as does anything once viewed through the lenses of His glory rather than our pain. Then, He took a key and locked the cabinet and put the key in His pocket. The memories were now treasures, and they were no longer mine, but His; and they were safe from being manhandled or further broken by those who did not know their value.

Jesus also reminded me that day that He has some scars too—on His head on and on His side. And after His resurrection, one of the first things He did was appear to His disciples to proudly show off those scars. Those scars bore a testimony. Thomas didn’t believe Jesus had risen. But he believed the scars. Do you see that? Thomas didn’t believe JESUS, but he believed the scars! So also do our scars bear testimony of what we have been through, and WHO got us through it.

Have YOU been broken, cracked, or shattered? Jesus wants ALL of you—and He wants THOSE parts of you too. He wants to fill those cracks with pure gold. He wants to make your brokenness part of your story. Part of your value. Part of your joy. The Adversary is telling you that you are broken; but your Savior is telling you that you are beautifully broken.


“God will not look you over for medals, degrees, or diplomas; but for scars.”
― Elbert Hubbard

Introducing Vicki Joy Anderson


Hello, my name is Vicki Joy. I am a newbie here at Agape First. My story deviates a bit from the norm around here because unlike many of those in (or drawn to) this ministry, I have never had a struggle with same-sex attraction. I do, however, have something in common with many who do–misplaced sexual identity and childhood trauma.

Being born with a birth defect that deformed my face meant getting teased or bullied wherever I went. I couldn’t even go to the grocery store or a movie without being stared at, pointed at, laughed at, or called names. (Probably didn’t help that my name conveniently rhymes with “icky” either!) But even those who approached me with compassion, asking me what happened to my face—honestly, it’s violating when strangers demand answers from you that come from the deepest core of the most-wounded parts of your heart.

Long story short, after 18 years of school, dealing with peers, being bullied, beat up, name called, and never being asked out on a date…by the time I graduated from high school, I was emotionally drained and completely detached. I also felt left behind. My friends were all going on to do adult things like driving cars, going to college, getting jobs, or getting married…while I sat at home terrified over the thought of growing up. If I went to college, I could buy four more years, but then what? I’d been in survival mode my entire life…but after college, could I survive…on my own?!

I didn’t realize how deeply this fear was eating away at me until my sophomore year in college. I had an emotional breakdown and sought the counsel of a friend. He led me to Jeremiah 29:11. Even though I had been raised in the Church and knew Jesus, I remember being in awe of this young man who was able to so easily locate some obscure verse in the book of Jeremiah. (This was long before the days of cell phones and Siri, kids!)

As he read the verse out loud to me, that little room FILLED with the presence of God and it was as if the words were being spoken directly from His holy lips to my quivering, anxiety-ridden, broken heart.

For I know the plans I have for you, Vicki Joy. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.”

I underlined that verse and wrote the date in the margin: January 11, 1991.

The entire course of my life changed that day. Overnight? No way! I’m still in process. But that was the day I realized I wasn’t a victim. God wasn’t a jerk or a sadist. He was ON MY SIDE. He was routing for me, fighting for me! He loved me, and unlike everyone else (at least in my own mind) He wasn’t ashamed of me, and He didn’t think I was ugly.

But, as I said, I am still very much a work in progress. I said a few paragraphs earlier that I don’t like it when I have to show the deepest core of the most-wounded parts of my heart with strangers. But that’s exactly what I intend to do right now. I’m going to share with YOU something I rarely speak of—but I do so because I believe I am not alone in this struggle.

I am 49 years old and I am a virgin. I am neither proud of, nor ashamed of this fact. But for many, many years, I believed I was a virgin simply because I was single and I had chosen to  obey the Word of God in this regard. But as the years went by and I (very intentionally) sabotaged every single potential dating scenario possible, I realized that my motives for being a virgin were likely much, much deeper than my being a “good, obedient Christian.”

For me, everything the Bible said about not having sex before marriage wasn’t a stumbling block, but a life line. It was like having a suit of chain mail on—a way of protecting myself from having to show the deepest core of the most-wounded parts of my heart to ANYBODY…EVER…including a husband. Nothing scared me more than the “H” word. Because a husband would have power…the power to cheat on me, abandon me, divorce me, reject me…and I was not going to EVER, ever let that happen to me again!

I don’t like sharing this with you. It is embarrassing to believe you lived your entire life from a perceived position of control, and then realize you were really operating out of toxic levels of fear and weakness. But praise the LORD, even when I was weak, HE was strong! HalleluYAH!

Plenty more to say on this topic, and plenty more likely will be said…by me…in this blog. So, if any of this is resonating with you or speaking to your heart, you are welcome to take this journey with me. Our goal isn’t to rush out and join a dating site, or to get married by some set deadline. Our goal is love and the eradication of all fear (because there is no fear in love). First, we learn to rest safely in the arms of the One who loves us. Next, we learn to open our hearts and love Him back. Then, if and when God takes us deeper, we learn, through fearless faith, to let go and to let others in.

Will this journey into the arms of the King of Kings be easy? I think C. S. Lewis said it best when telling little Lucy about Aslan the lion. “Safe? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course He isn’t safe! But He’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”