Peacemaking – A Flourishing Cottage Industry

Let's pray that the human race never escapes from Earth to spread its iniquity elsewhere. C. S. Lewis




Church conflict appears to be on the rise in 21st century Christendom, and it seems that hyper-authoritarianism is a major contributing factor. Interestingly, the art of “peacemaking” is definitely in vogue, especially among those whom we label as “Calvinistas”.

A couple of times this summer my daughter and I have visited a local used bookstore which sells, among many other things, Christian books. I had no idea that peacemaking had grown into a cottage industry until I saw and purchased the following books: The Peacemaker (Ken Sande), Peacemaking for Families (Sande), and The Peacemaking Pastor: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Church Conflict (Alfred Poirier). I just bought the third volume today, and inside the front of the book was a pamphlet published by Peacemaker Ministries called “The Peacemaker: Responding to Conflict Biblically”. Although Ken Sande didn’t write the third book, he endorsed it by writing:

“Pastors serve on the front lines of the spiritual war that engulfs this world. All too often their greatest battles take place within the church itself, where they are caught in the crossfire of personal, theological, and congregational conflicts. The endless skirmishes leave many pastors – and their families – so exhausted and wounded that they lose their joy for ministry or leave the pastorate altogether. This book provides a gospel-centered strategy for equipping pastors to be highly effective peacemakers who can lead their flocks safely through conflict while building a culture of peace in the church.”

Among the endorsers of Sande’s The Peacemaker is R. Albert Mohler, Jr. who wrote the following:

“This generation of believers is called to authentic Christian peacemaking and reconciliation. Ken Sande shows the way in The Peacemaker. All pastors and Christian leaders should read this book.”

How about the ‘priesthood of ALL believers”, Al? Why are you encouraging just pastors and Christian leaders to read Sande’s book?

Here’s my question. How many Christians outside the pastorate have ever heard of Peacemaker Ministries? Dee and I only became aware of this ministry a couple of years ago when Ken Sande contacted Kris over at SGM Survivors regarding the Noel and Grizzly saga. Kris responded to Sande with an Open Letter which she published on her blog. Why was Kris contacted by Sande in the first place you might wonder. Well, it appears that he has had close ties with C.J. Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries for years. In fact, Sande spoke at Covenant Life Church just yesterday morning. You can listen to his message here.  At the end of his message, I found it interesting how Sande manipulates CLC members who are comtemplating leaving the church.

I decided to read the revised and updated edition of The Peacemaker (copyright 2004), and I found Sande’s description of himself interesting: “As a lawyer and full-time Christian conciliator…” Yes, Ken Sande’s credentials are his engineering degree and his law degree. How did he become a Christian conciliator?

Mark Dever also endorsed Sande’s book with these words: “Here is wisdom both biblical and practical. You can tell it was written by a man who has lived out these principles as a lawyer in practice, and as a leader in his church. We are in his debt.”

Not everyone shares Dever’s sentiments regarding lawyers. In fact, it is Sande’s legal training that most concerns me about his peacemaking tactics. As I understand it, those who engage in Sande’s peacemaking process must sign a non-disclosure agreement before the peacemaking commences. The Peacemaker pamphlet includes this mission statement on the back: “The mission of Peacemaker Ministries is to equip and assist Christians and their churches to respond to conflict biblically. We provide conflict coaching, mediation, and arbitration services to help resolve lawsuits, family conflicts, business disputes, and church divisions. Our training services include seminary, the national reconciler Training and Certification Programs, and custom training for denominations, seminaries, and parachurch ministries.” (And don’t forget that Peacemaker Ministries is a registered trademark.)

As I read Sande’s book The Peacemaker, it is amazing how regimented he is in his approach. For example, here is a Peacemaker’s Checklist (also called The Peacemaker’s Pledge: (1) Glorify God, (2) Get the log out of your eye (3) Gently restore, and (4) Go and be reconciled.  (pages 259-261) 

Then here are peacemaking responses (published in The Peacemaker pamphlet):

Personal Peacemaking: Overlook an offense, Reconciliation, Negotiation

Assisted Peacemaking: Mediation, Arbitration, Accountability

Cindy Kunsman, whose critique of Peacemaker Ministries was featured last Friday, just sent Dee and me an e-mail with these “observations”:

“Everything is a formula. If we humble ourselves, God gives us grace. If we are proud, God resists us. Want grace? Be humble. Like some chick said over on True Womanhood, put in a quarter and get what you want out of a machine.

If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanses us from all unrighteousness.

I hear him saying that this is a formula to get something.

This is what I hear, based on the way he talks about this.

Confess so that you can be forgiven, and the extra benefit of that is the cleansing. So if you want to be clean and pure, and that is your endpoint to be the perfect and the better Christian that is more highly evolved, the way that you get that benefit is through the act of forgiveness.

I think that listening to this sermon helped me put my finger on what is written in the book. It is all works.

You know where you are supposed to end up and what you're supposed to be like when you're done in this life. So rather than follow the Holy Spirit and hold His hand as you walk by faith as love for Him flows through you to Him and His love for you flows through you and changes you all the more, you follow a plan. Everything you want and every attribute has a Standard Operating Procedure that tells you how to get that attribute.

(That is an engineer and an attorney — all logic. The kind of perspective that tends to cause Calvinism appeal to an attorney and an engineer more than it does to a musician or a poet. Everything is algorithmic.)

It is all problem solving, and the Bible is a rule book that has remarkable principles in there that we can apply, if you just understand the principles. If you have a problem, you solve it by following the algorithm.

That's what I don't like about that book. It contains really nice ideas and principles and concepts. It isn't exactly saying a whole lot of stuff that's blatantly wrong. It's Scripture. But it's Scripture as an algorithm.”

As I read The Peacemaker, I couldn’t help but think about the tragic situations Noel and Grizzly and Wallace and Happymom faced. Does Sande address their plights in his book? As far as I can determine, he includes three paragraphs in his book that explain how to deal with abuse.

Sande writes:

One of the most difficult offenses to address is one that involves an abuse of power or authority, such as physical or sexual abuse. In rare situations, a victim of abuse may have gained sufficient strength to go and talk directly to his or her abuser. In most situations, however, it is not wise or constructive for a victim to talk privately with the abuser. Many abusers are very adept at manipulation and intimidation, and they will use the conversation as an opportunity for further abuse. Therefore, it is usually best to involve others in the confrontation process.

If the abuser is a Christian, his church has a responsibility to confront his sin, promote genuine repentance and confession, support counseling, and require him to submit to necessary legal consequences. This involvement can and should be carried out in cooperation with actions that civil authorities must take to deal with the abuse.

At the same time, the church should be ministering lovingly and diligently to the victim of abuse. This calls for compassion and understanding, acknowledging any role the church may have played in failing to properly protect the victim, providing needed counseling, and changing policies and practices to prevent similar abuse in the future.” (The Peacemaker, pp. 156-157)

While I appreciate Ken Sande’s advice regarding sexual abuse, I wonder whether the SGM pastors ever read this little section of the book. Several weeks ago Mark Mullery confessed that using a “peacemaker model” in dealing with sexual abuse was inadequate. If anyone has an older version of The Peacemaker book, would you please let me know if Sande’s three paragraphs quoted above are in that edition.

Like C.J. Mahaney, Ken Sande is a name-dropper in his masterpiece The Peacemaker. Here is a list of those whom he quotes: J.I. Packer, John Piper, R.C. Sproul, David Powlison, among others. It seems obvious to me that Sande’s peacemaking principles are primarily intended for those who share his reformed view of Scripture.

There is so much more to say about the peacemaking principles Ken Sande and his colleagues promote. As we have discovered from Mark Mullery’s confession, one size DOES NOT fit all kinds of conflicts. Sadly, some pastors are misapplying Ken Sande’s peacemaking approach to resolving conflict with tragic results.

We are extremely concerned that the 21st century peacemaking process often favors pastors over congregants. Furthermore, we believe the non-disclosure agreements participants are expected to sign prior to engaging in the peacemaking process result in silencing the flock, whether intended or not.  We cannot state this strongly enough to our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Please, please be extremely careful about signing any kind of covenant or agreement. Caveat emptor!


Lydia's Corner:       1 Kings 11:1-12:19         Acts 9:1-25          Psalm 131:1-3          Proverbs 17:4-5


Peacemaking – A Flourishing Cottage Industry — 73 Comments

  1. Pingback: Peacemaking – A Flourishing Cottage Industry | The Wartburg Watch | CMCenter

  2. Aaargghh! This reminds me so much of ‘systems’ I have come across here — people who decide they are going to solve other people’s problems, and their starting point is that both parties must be in the wrong for a problem to arise. Actually, no. It takes 2 people to make a relationship work and only one to break it. Where there is abuse of power involved in any form, there may only be one side in the wrong, or predominantly wrong. But because their formula says that there is equal sin on both sides, they are forced to conclude that the legitimate hurt feelings of the injured person are sin equal to the wrongs done to them. Alternatively, the injured party’s sin is their legitimate exercise of freedom which offended the abuser in the first place. I knew of a case, years ago, where a woman was physically hurt by her husband for not jumping up and tidying up the pantry when he suddenly got it into his head that it needed doing, and needed doing NOW. The people from the church who ran intervention concluded that her failure to go and tidy up the pantry was sin equal to his abuse of her. When she refused to agree that the 2 things were commensurate,(rightly, I believe) she then became labelled as the unrepentant spouse. I don’t know enough about these Peacemaker people to say for sure it is the same sort of thing — but it certainly feels like a very similar dynamic!

  3. “This reminds me so much of ‘systems’ I have come across here — people who decide they are going to solve other people’s problems, and their starting point is that both parties must be in the wrong for a problem to arise. Actually, no. It takes 2 people to make a relationship work and only one to break it. Where there is abuse of power involved in any form, there may only be one side in the wrong, or predominantly wrong.”


  4. Lin,

    As I was reading The Peacemaker, I kept thinking about Wallace and Happymom. These PM principles definitely did not apply to their situation. Mullery made it clear in his confession that he expected both sides to “get the log out”.

  5. I have Sande’s book, 2nd edition, 1997 I think is the year it was published. There is no similar section in the edition I have. Two portions are listed in the index under abuse., 136-7 and 259-60. The first is about 14 lines and mentions child abuse, but the focus is on acting quickly so that the example of the offender does not lead others astray. There is no suggestion of use of the civil authorities.

    The second has about ten lines that relate to crimes that can cause serious harm being the province of the civil authorities and may need to be referred to the church and the police at the same time. It caveats that whether the police are involved may depend upon whether further harm is likely to occur!!!

    The language is so soft as to be twisted and manipulated by any intelligent and manipulative offender — meaning most sexual abusers.

  6. One thing that gets on my nerves is conflict resolution even being suggested when it is obvious one party is the real offender.

    I prefer the 1 Corinthians 5 type of resolution to this problem.:o)

    Let’s take child abuse out of the equation for a moment. What if the conflict is between adults and the offender is a narcissitic sociopath who is awesome at manipulating? (There are a ton out there and it seems ministry as a career choice attracts some)

    The peacemaking process approaches this like both parties have responsibility for the offense. Why can’t the guilty party be guilty? Are we afriad to say that? If they wronged, they wronged.

    Put abuse in the equation and it becomes surreal. It becomes downright evil.

    Personally, knowing what I know concerning the state of Christianity, I would have to recommend these situations be taken totally out of the churches hands at all. To even think in terms of the peacmeaking process when something of this magnitude has taken place, sickens me.

    Some will say I am unloving and that is unChristian. I really don’t care. I don’t think we are talking about “Christians” who molest and abuse. At the very least, give it some time. A long time.

    I agree this is a big time cottage industry, and so is church discipline. Problem is, the guys handling this stuff, I would not trust with my family recipes.

  7. BTW: I meant to say above that people should call the police. Church and “peacemaking” should be far down on the list of priorities when your child is molested by a church member.

    Seriously, can we buy a clue?

  8. Lin

    I think you may be right – often the State deals with abuse in a more straight forward way than ‘the church’ who are usually more interested in maintaining their holy status quo.

    One need not look any further than the Pope’s reaction child abuse within American Catholicism during his years as Cardinal Ratzinger!

  9. But the statement is true even if it sounds formulaic. You know many of the blogs were on track for the longest time but it has been over a year since in reading them due to busy schedules and coming back I am astounded at this tone. This site sounds like it has been giving in too total bashing instead of balanced during the last week that I have read the reports on C.J. I mean the guy totally supported Josh Harris’s work on lust and attitudes with women. And now the current bashing on Peacemakers? What gives? If you keep writing Sande on this and post his responses that would be interesting.

  10. Casey,

    Sorry, I don’t get your point other than you disapprove of our ‘tone’. Could you please clarify.

  11. Arce said:

    “I have Sande’s book, 2nd edition, 1997 I think is the year it was published.”

    Yes, the second edition came out in 1997. The Peacemaker was first published in 1991. Sande’s been at this game for a long time – at least two decades! I wonder which version Mark Mullery read and applied.

  12. I didn’t imagine that my unfolding Eureka moment this afternoon while listening to Sande’s message at CLC on Sunday would end up in a post! I couldn’t put my finger on it while reading the book, but I could hear it in the presentation.

    The effect is subtle. Like theistic existentialism versus Biblical Christianity, one starts with man as central and one with God, though the two ways of approaching Christianity are quite different in many respects. The difference in their endpoints is also quite subtle.

    Does your grandchild want to sit on your lap because they just love sitting on your lap and want to sit with you more than anything else in the universe at that moment? Or do they want to go through the motions to get the piece of candy that they know you have in your pocket?

  13. Arce,

    This is terrible about the first edition. Why am I not shocked? Act quickly, not to limit abuse but to limit the abuser’s ability to influence others so that they don’t understand abuse as tolerable? Did I get that right? Not to limit the degree of harm done to the one who is abused?

    I guess that the benefits of the forgiveness process offer a means of healing that is sufficient enough to deal with the lasting or complex effects that follow physical or sexual abuse? And if necessary, a little nouthetic counseling will fix the rest? Yet that support through therapy would be a vital part of making restitution to those who were in need of it.

  14. Actually Cindy, Arce has the second edition, which was published in 1997. The first edition of The Peacemaker came out in 1991.

    Yes, this cottage industry got its start two decades ago.

  15. Deb, I’m glad that Sande went back to address and include some material about abuse as time unfolded, though it is telling.

    I guess that I want to give Sande the best benefit of the doubt, and it’s easy to miss things in the first edition. You can draw upon feedback when you edit for the next one. I would like to think of the omission of material on such an important topic would have promptly made it into the next copy. That points out to me that it didn’t make it in until a later editing. 🙁

    But, at least they have been willing over time to add some of these concerns into the text, at least.

  16. Here’s another question I have about the book for those who have read it or are looking at it now for the first time. Do you see a tendency to rush past justice in order to get at forgiveness?

    I’ve heard this discussed in theology by using the illustration of a criminal court. The priority of court proceedings involves determination of truth and of a verdict which establishes the first step in justice. Testimony and facts are considered by the court in order to arrive at that verdict. It establishes what has happened and whether it is right or wrong. Sentencing (where forgiveness is offered to offenders) is a different proceeding, and offering forgiveness to an offender shouldn’t be a consideration when you are trying to establish justice.

    If someone has been robbed of a large sum, it may be fine to argue for leniency when a sentence is considered. If leniency is included as part of the trial to determine whether a robbery took place, it does injustice to the person who was robbed. Pushing for forgiveness of the debt before the verdict that a robbery took place argues that there was no true wrong done.

    When reading and considering the Peacemaker Materials, do you think that they tend to put too little focus on justice and too much focus on forgiveness, really inserting it in there before it’s appropriate? Is that another subtle problem with the book? A jumping over justice in favor of forgiveness?

  17. Casey

    This blog is always willing to post any response to our posts by the involved agencies. If you have truly been reading this blog, I would refer you to a post written by a Christian Cruise group rebutting our post. This blog is open to a panoply of viewpoints. We do not delete comments unless absolutely foul (there have been a couple) or they have some legal/ethical concerns.

    So, comment away and point out specifics. The tone thing is used in arguments when the accuser just doesn’t like what i being said but has no way to logically rebut it. I look forward to your reasoned response.

  18. To me it is pretty clear ….

    Criminal activity needs to be turned over and handled by the appropriate authorities. You don’t use church discipline to handle a murderer. You call the police. For your normal church conflict situations (it saddens me to call church conflict normal), those need to be handled within the church. You don’t file a lawsuit because the church allowed the youth group to decorate the church this year for Christmas instead of Mrs. Jones who had handled the Christmas decorations for the past twenty years.

    If only church life were that simple.

  19. What do you do when an inadequate policy or procedure, or inadequate oversight of application of an adequate one, has resulted in the opportunity for sexual abuse of a child? The abuse is clearly a criminal matter as it relates to the abuser, but the failure to have a proper policy or procedure or a failure to apply it, is a failure of the leadership of the church, probably due to an overabundance of trust in someone not so trustworthy. Since the church or its leadership was negligent and that negligence contributed to the harm suffered by the victim, it becomes a matter of a civil tort.

    The tendency of church organizations (church leadership) has been to cover up the crime to avoid the liability. But to me that is a sin by the leadership and is disqualifying of that leadership. So, do the victims and families go to that leadership for justice, or do they go to the civil courts?

    Sande suggests that we should go to the church leadership that caused the problem. But he would generally back the leaders over the congregants in any such dispute, which means that those partially at fault get a free ride.

    My remark is that the church leadership needs to admit negligence (fault), provide an appropriate remedy to the victims, change the policy. procedure or implementation, etc. IF the leadership has attempted to cover up the abuse, then they must resign or be fired, and should be held to account for the harm caused by the coverup.

  20. The ironic thing is they have no freaking idea what forgiveness really is, neither do they understand depth of forgiveness and how it generally works in a persons life. They also lack understanding for how people are able to give and how soon based on the type of offense. I believe that all matters to God and is understood by Him. It may be easier for me t forgive a petty argument or dispute that it is that you raped me.

    Most often, when I have said I forgive you based on external pressure, I never really had forgiven the person. Forgiveness is a work that God does in our hearts and it’s not always instant. Depending on the offense, it may take him some time to get us there. With bigger issues, it has always taken me time to forgive and when I had finally forgiven, it was not something I was immediately aware of–you know, that moment or spot in time. There would be some conversation, some thought, some interation that made me ealize I had finally forgiven that person. Why do they not get this? Do they not realize that these pressing and coerced issues of forgiveness that they foster simply aren’t real and genuine? They can’t see in a persons heart neither shall they force the heart to do what it is not ready to do. I believe God gets this and they do not. They often make God a forceful monster who just forces himself and his rules on others. Like he lacks all understanding of the heart and how he created us–that he is impatient and stern. He just wants his rules to be obeyed. I think God is far more gentle than that.

    Funny that Mohler says Sandes process is authentic. What is it with these butt wads and tge word authentic. They love it like it’s word porn. It just gets them going and they start going ape wild over it. You call anything authentic and God-centered in the reformed world and you have your pass into their high society and private clubs. You get a bunch of works-centered A-types and tell them something is authentic and God centered, and you have a frenzy of do-gooders competing for righteousness and to be accounted for as godly–better than–doing it right. You have just created an elitist separatist Christianity country club and Mohler’s the freaking chairman.

    Funny Dever said that. He gave a Bible study one night re Christians suing each other. One example was that if someone damaged yourcar or home and you lost it, in order to do ths first Corinthians command, you would bring the mediation to church and you might have ti take a significant loss if that person refuses to take responsibility or cannot pay you back.

    Me and my friend looked at each other and rolled our eyes. I was like what the hell you paying Geico for every month if you’re going to wreck my car and not pay for it. I since then would tell people who wanted to borrow my car at tge church that they could not because if they wrecked it, according to the church, I shouldn’t sue them and I cared more about having my car than giving them a ride. Lol!!!

    I’ve seen all this in action as wel as people acting like both people have wrong in a situation–which we know to be untrue. I told a friend the other day that the wrong I’d be confessing and the log in my eye if somebody had raped my baby was from whipping your ass up and down the sanctuary until I couldn’t breathe anymore. Yes, Lord, I am sorry for that…kinda, because I will do my best to grab your manhood and make you scream like a little bit*ch begging for mercy just like the way you tortured my child. I will own you, buddy!

    Hmmmm…I wonder if they’d want to mediate with me after that???

  21. @ Cindy K: I have the original 1991 edition of the book, but it’s in storage… it’s the one that had my hair standing on end, because iirc, it makes it sound like “pastors” are never, ever wrong.

    I picked it up secondhand because a friend who went to CLC had told me how wonderful it was. NOT!

  22. Cindy, I am so glad you articulated this as the works religion it is. We can do all the outward works we want to look more Christian but it will not change one single heart.

    There was a very liberal social Gospel type Christian on another blog that for years kept bringing up the Amish girls who were raped and killed by that guy who came in the school. She would go on and on about how wonderful the Amish were for instantly saying they forgive the gunman. (He killed himself)

    What she did not make known was that the fact it was the church elders who gave the instant forgiveness on behalf of the girls to the media. We never heard directly from the girls that made it out. I always wondered if this was because they were girls. I wonder the same thing about SGM.

    I think the Amish were right to help the family of the gunman and reach out to them. They were victims, too, in another way. But for the leaders to give instant forgiveness on behalf of the young victims was overstepping boundaries that belong to a personal relationship with Christ.

    What human can facilitate that? All we can do is love, support and encourage and protect the victim. it is a journey of forgiveness for them…alone.

    So, this issue of forgiveness can have implications in all areas of Christianity. From liberal to fundy.

  23. NLR

    You bring up a good point. Everything must be viewed in the light of history. Back in the early church, there was no insurance. When the little guy lost his abode by a rotten Christian who was giving loans at exorbitant rates, the little guy was on the street, homeless. There was no Rescue Mission to sleep in, no government bailout to provide cash to make it through, no government housing, etc. The church functioned in this capacity in order to bring justice to the situation.

    Today, we all must buy insurance for our cars and homes. So, about a month ago, a nice Christian girl seriously dented and scraped the side of my son’s car to the tune of $2500. I talked to her Mom and offered to do this outside of insurance if she did not want it reported. But, since the cost was so high, she decided to let the insurance handle it. There was no animosity and the insurance agent was very helpful. No problem. Why in the world would I not want the insurance to pick this up? That is what we pay for.

    The comment by Dever sounds weird. There is recourse in such situations. If said Christian refused to pay for damage, the courts could garnish his wages and teach him responsibility. If this caused hardship for his family, the church could step in and help support them. Where am I wrong here?

  24. The shootings (in the Amish school) happened in Nickel Mines, PA. Nobody was sexually assaulted, though.

    It was a horrific thing. Details are easily findable.

    (Side note: last year, I ended up having to drive a back road “in” Nicekl Mines – which is just a dot on the map, not a town per se. The road was jammed with Amish teenagers in buggies, and I realized that probably all of them had been in that school. [shivers])

  25. Ok, so I started thinking “What would I do, if a friend came to me and told me that their child had been molested by another friend?” After getting over the shock, I think I would google what to do, so I did, and it turns out you have options:
    1. Report to the police
    2. Report to Child Protective Services
    3. Report to the Child’s Doctor
    4. Take child to the emergency room and report it there (this assumes you found out about the incident quickly).
    5. Take child to a licensed mental health practitioner, and well guess what… report it.

    So apparently my responsibility, if someone where to tell me something of this nature, is to support them as they report it, and then support them as they deal with the following ordeal.

    This will result in an investigation and most likely will include a physical and mental exam or two for the child. It may result in the arrest, trial and incarceration of the accused abuser. I say accused because not everyone who is accused of abuse is actually guilty, but it is not the church’s place (or mine) to determine their guilt. Thank God its not, I don’t want that responsibility. Our legal system has its flaws, but it is still better equipped to handle this situation.

    In terms of the Peacemaker Ministries: It seems to me that the verses concerning forgiveness and also staying out of the courts have been blown completely out of proportion. I always understood the latter to discourage Christians from duking it out on Judge Judy or from suing MacDonalds for failing to warn you that the coffee was hot. Those verses do not require Christians to obstruct justice – which from my non-legal point of view is what happened.

    As to forgiveness – it becomes a whole lot easier to forgive once you understand that forgiveness doesn’t equal reconciliation. Forgiveness (as I have come to understand it) is really about refraining from ruining your own life because of bitterness/anger etc over someone elses sin. It enables the victim to heal and is part of the healing process. I agree with the earlier poster who pointed out that it isn’t always instantaneous, it can be a complex process. As to reconciliation, Proverbs has a lot to say about trusting someone who is abusive and unrepentant – and it has nothing to do with pretending that it didn’t happen.

  26. Dee–

    You are so right. There was also a story shared by one of the elders at that Bible study that night or Dever, I can’t remember who said it so I dont want to quote anybody, but the story was about a dispute between two members of a church, the one member had to pay some really high sum, I think it was around $100k. Anyways, they shared how the church stepped in to bring reconciliation between the two members. THey told the guy who would be taking the loss that the church could possibly help him some financially with the loss. But overall, that if he was looking at this the right way, and according to Corinthians, then he would go into this realizing that he could walk away with a loss nad would have to be willing to take that loss. Especially if the other member refused to provide compensation for the damages. So then the person went on to state in some terms or another how it was the godly thing to do–the right thing to do. The guy who was taking the loss was applauded for his willingness to take such a huge loss at the price of “honoring God” and Scripture.

    I smirked. I was like whatever… I do not agree and therefore, I’m gonna K.I.M. (keep it moving).

    I’m like you, I’d choose to give the person the ability to compensate for it without the court or without calling their insurance company. But if they don’t comply, guess what NLR is bout to do?? Mmhm… You guessed right. Girlfriend is gonna make that call!

    Gonna break this post up because it’s long. I have an incoming rant! Hahaha!

  27. Numo, thanks for the correction. I thought I read he exposed himself to them and there was some contact. The Amish were very agressive in keeping details private after the intital event.

  28. Most people have a false impression of the McDonald’s coffee case. McDonalds had intentionally had their coffee machines set at a higher temperature than the rest of the industry, and the difference is that the higher temperature makes the difference between classes of burns — leaving a scar or not — if spilled shortly after served. They had had a number of complaints against them as well, and had been warned that this was not a safe practice. The lady that was burned lost skin off of her thigh and private area and had a permanent scar that resulted, as well as a large medical bill. McDonalds has since reverted to the industry standard of the temperature of the coffee.

  29. You know what’s so funny… After several months, I realize how that group of people used the Bible and godliness and grace yet to walk all over each other. It was crazy the things done around there as “evidence of Grace”. Sometimes I’d just laugh. But I also have street sense, aka a notch above common sense. I’d see stuff go down and just shake my head at it. Like y’all are some dumbarses. You act like you’re gonna get a bigger crown in heaven for letting somebody use the crap out of you. Let me enlighten y’all with a few examples:

    1. The listserv. The listserv is on google groups. It’s SUPPOSED to be a social listserv where people can post things they want to do and indirectly invite others along or find someone to do something in common. Unfortunately, the guys used it often to get people to do stuff with them than taking the risk to ask a certain girl out. So non-commital they are. But the women do the same thing. (rolls eyes).

    The dang social group turned into the “can I borrow your used underwear group”. Yes, I’m being facetious but that’s exactly how ridiculous these requests were. Somebody wants to borrow 100 toothpicks! What, fool did you know that Dollar Tree was up the street? You ain’t got a dolla???!!! How bout I meet you at the Metro and give you a dolla, boo, cause seriously, that’s ridic!

    a. People wanting rides to the airport…every da*n week! My response: You ever heard of the #5 bus. It goes right out to Dulles for $5. You know Dulles is far right and my car is a gas guzzler. You also expect me to take you for free and not give me any gas. I dont know you either. Not that I need to know you to be nice, but you get where I’m going. If I can ride the dang bus when I need to go to the airport, why can’t you? You think you’re too good?!

    b. People wanting to borrow vehicles, pricier things that aren’t easily replaced, like can I borrow your vehicle to go on vacation wtih because all my kids can’t fit into our car? My response: Urm, Boo, you needs to rent a minivan. If you wreck my car, you’re gonna pay me. We WILL be going to court if you don’t. So naw, hun, you can’t borrow my car.

    c. Can I borrow your china for a tea party? My response: Uh naw, it’s my grandma’s. Why don’t you grow up a little, earn your own tea cups and then have a celebratory party. These mean a crapload to me. You don’t. Sorry, but no.

    Then there are the loans:

    1. We have a couch that we cannot fit into our new apartment. You can USE it for a few months. The leg is broken. You can get the leg fixed if you want. The repair is $100. But this is a loaon.

    My response: Go to uhaul. It’s called a storage unit. My house will NOT be your storage unit. There were tons of emails going out about people loaning people stuff that they didn’t have room for but wanted it back later–even baby toys, baby clothes, baby books, furniture and so forth. Y’all ever heard of letting go of sh*t you can’t keep. Trust me, I do it all D time! Oh and some would have the nerve to put that if you break it, you’re going to have to pay for it, here’s the price and here’s where you can get it. Are you freaking fa-real, Bob? Seriously? Naw, Boo, keep your ish. I dont want it because once it enters this house, it’s mine.

    3. Baby sitters. We are looking for a babysitter, preferrably someone who lots of people at the church know, for our date night tomorrow/tonite/every week.

    My response: You don’t know me. Why would I come watch your kid? Besides, I’m single. You ever try and ask me over for dinner sometime and get to know me. You know, actually be my friend. Maybe I’d be more inclined to let you have a date night once a month. But since you’re married, now with baby in tow, and think your needs are more important than mine, then naw. You stay home. I stay home. NONE OF US will be going out on a date. How’s that for fairness.

    I was shocked at the amount of poeple that would literally let strangers watch their kids. Hence, why there are issues with child abuse in teh church. You got dumb stupid parents so busy wanting a date night that they’d put their kids at risk like that. I was shocked at the lists I ended up on to babysit for people. I grew up in a time where parents realized that their lives changed DRASTICALLY. Having a date night once a week, or even every other or once a month wasn’t goin to be that way anymore. They were parents now. It’s called sometimes you gotta put Bub and Sissy to bed early and be all romantical at home. Just make sure they’re really sleep before the “party” really gets started. That’s what parents have been doing for what…decades, before Josh told everybody they should expect people to watch their kids regularly so that they could have date nights.

    4. We’re moving…for the fifth time. We need people to come help us move TOMORROW (yes, because for some reason we didn’t know we were moving until tomorrow (SMDH)) and we need six people, two trucks, a few hand trucks, and you need to be here at 8:00AM because we want to sleep in a little, please do not come before then and please dont ring the doorbell and wake the baby.

    My response: It’s called a moving company. There are many affordable ones. I used one. Why can’t you. Your furniture is heavy as hell and grown folks with an entire house to move should use moving furnitures. This ain’t college no more, Jack.

    4. More rides, more borrowing stuff… More cultish acting folks who can’t hang out with anybody that doesn’t go to the church. It’s a self-sustained system of co-dependency and an enclosed protected society. you don’t need to go anywhere else to have any need you have met. And once when that seemed like a comfort zone and having all my needs met became a glaringly obvious ridiculous issue of people taking advantage of one another in the name of Christianity and displaying community, endeavoring to care for one another, etc… (insert more Christianese crap).

    The one email that set me over the edge was that one of the Super Rock Star couples of the church traveled once a week for like four weeks and expected people to take them to the airport and pick them up, with day-before notices each time, mind you. I was so disgusted with them I yanked my email off the listserv. At the same time, a dude asked some men for some ties because he had no money, BUT they had to be either new or in a very good condition and preferrably stylish and fashionable. I wnated to go punch him in the head. This same guy is living with a couple, has been for over a year now, has no intentions of moving anytime soon, and is arrogant, young and full of himself. I laugh at how ridic it all is.

    5. They have no street sense. A dude came from jail. He was honest. Said he killed a man. I was like urm, okay, whoa. Alright, I’ll shake your hand, but stop looking at me like you’re undressing me with your eyes. Yeah, buddy, see, I’m not wet behind the ears like all these fake wannabe Christians here. Ret hur is the real deal. I know what’s up and I’m not gonna fake it.

    So for months I watched single women give this man a ride–alone. Shook my head. I watched people invite him into their homes. I watched him undress women with his eyes, including me. I watched people give him money. I watched him talk the talk, which I discerned was fake, but I did believe he was trying. I really believed he was. I just knew that after 3 years in the pin, dude wasn’t really all that rehabbed… Probably because I saw him three previous times in Chinatown reading poems to people for money. They knew that too, because some of them were with me. But they were busy playing white Jesus to the poor black man who was about to bamboozle them all. I knew the deal and had some street smarts and I knew dude was pulling one. I just sat back and laughed. I did warn them though.

    He believed in Christ and he could quote the Bible. They were impressed. I was not. In fact, I was shocked he hadn’t become a Muslim. If he was, they would have really jumped to the opportunity to convert and serv him. They were lettin this dude work them…HARD. People in that congregation are pretty well off. Many of them wealthy. It was a gold mine for him. I sat and watched with discernment, and I saw little things out the corner of my eyes that put me on alert.

    A few months later, guess what? Email goes out to the members. Avoid givin money to this guy. He’s been lying to people and getting money from people left and right. Do not give him anymore money, let the pastors and elders deal with him. A few days later after that, another email: he is now under care of the pastors and elders. After having instructed him to not ask anymore members for money, he has continued to do so and we have put him under discipline (because he had become a member).

    He gets put under discipline. He disappears. Another email goes out: Avoid him at all costs. He’s wanted for embezzelment or something (whatever it was was serious and he needed to turn himself in) and they were petitioning with him to turn himself in. He then got voted out of membership. Dude was back to his old ways.

    Me and a friend laughed. I said, they didn’t know this guy, had him in their homes, around their kids, all in their personal lives. Where is their discernment? They want to meet the rules and live by the code so much that they refuse to think for themselves. It was so ridic.

    It’s amazing the love-bombing that happens around there and the unreal stuff people will do for you and not even know you. You then think this is real Christianity, you judge other Christians according to this false standard, and you become enamoured with your church feelin that you could never leave. For a single person, a family overwhelmed with kids and responsibility, and people in any stressful environment, especially that of DC, this is all seemingly a godsend. You think God has finally gotten you to the promised land and your milk and honey overfloweth. It’s hard to go to a normal church with normal, discerning Christians after all this.

    My mother told me my church was a cult the very first time I told her the stuff they did for me and I slammed her for it. I even hung up the phone on her. I was so freaking mad. Man do I owe her an apology. I dont think the church is a cult, but she knew what she saw what was it was. And I respect her for that. I hope to never be that way again when somebody tells me something that I dont want to hear about something I’m involved in.


  30. NLR, I am speechless. I cannot believe the list serve. I know the “dating” formula invaded many churches and became ridiculous. No wonder there was sexual abuse like we have seen. They trusted people based upon them being in the same church.

    I don’t even leave my purse in the pew to use the restroom.

    I am also familiar with the leaders expecting perks from those they see as below them. This is something these church groups picked up from MLM. Scripture is actually the opposite. Those who are mature in the faith are the biggest servants to others. So, right there, we see a huge disconnect between what scripture actually models and what they do. (more works)

    I want to sincerely thank you. Your posts give us so much more insight into this system on a daily basis in praxis. How the behavior of the leaders filters down to the grass roots level.

    Some of this stuff is unbelievable. Listen to your mama from now on!

  31. Lin–

    Thank you. And sorry for some of my potty words. I’m studying my French right now, going to France in 56 days! (wooooo doggie) and thought I’d practice a little bit here 😉 My cheekyness is scandalous! Ha! This is what repression and oppression does to you!

    Yes, dear, they trust way too many people with their kids and their homes too. Many people let people house sit for them, or would ask people to house people who were coming for summer internships, internships at the church, visiting a family member, for a sister and her boyfriend, for a wedding party, for this, for that. The dependency was unreal. My answer was always no. I don’t even have a roommate, and I was constantly highly pressured to get a roommate, but only one from church because if we didn’t get along or something happened, church discipline could be exercised on the person. (YEP! Unbelievable that’s why people do that. I still can’t believe it. I can’t believe the crap that I chose to let ring dissonant in my ears. But honestly, it hadn’t much to do with it all being God, as it had more to do with me wanting kudos from God and wanting the benefits of that great society. I mean, I might as well had been Jackie O. in a high society club. The benefits were AMAZING! But they cost you. Kinda like Satan convincing you to something that he knows is going to rob your spirit of something that’s going to cost you much to get it back. Mmhm… there’s always a price.)

    I don’t have a roommate because I am very protective over my home. My home is my sanctuary. It has to be and should be the one place that I go to where I should not have to battle with anyone, where I should not feel that I can’t come to because of some strife there, or because I don’t feel safe. I grew up in a volatile and angry home. I will not do that to myself as an adult. I have a choice. If I can’t put you out on your ass because of some ish you’ve done because of the law, then you can’t stay with me.

    I also firmly believe that a person’s home should not be a revolving door. You shouldn’t have to adjust to learn with new people every few months. It does lots of emotional damage and for me, I believe, is quite unhealthy. A home should be stable. You should know what to expect generally. And you shouldn’t have to be making adjustments every 3,6,12 months. It makes people clinical and spacey-eyed and they don’t even realize it. I’m not going to work hard and bust my arse all week, pay to live here, and come home to a shelf in the cabinet and one in the fridge. Naw, boo. Not me. One guy told me and a used-to-be friend that we should let some younger girls live with us to minsiter to them and disciple them. I said my house is for me to relax. not be on stage and teaching folks. That will be for my husband and kids. When I come home and I’m tired, I wnat you to leave me the heck alone. I’m not 17 anynmore. I’m 33. A grown woman. I need my privacy and my space.

    I also don’t let strangers come stay with me, use my bed, my wash cloths, towels and anything else. I dont know you. Just because you are a family member/co-worker/friend/clergy from another church doesn’t mean I should trust you and let you in the most private of spaces I have. This is NOT a commune, and I am not a hostel owner. This is my HOME people. It’s my refuge.

    Thing is, Lin, it’s why I said over at Survivors why CJ is going to feel right at home at CHBC. Because I’m not talking about a Sovereign Grace church here, I’m talking about Capitol Hill Baptist. No, I admit, they are not as worse as SGM. I hope to believe that if children were or have been molested by someone, they would immediately call the cops. But many of the other social and cultural cultlike high-demand issues are there. They’re just far more subtle than they are at CLC. But it’s authoritarian, paternalistic and controlling. And….contrived.

  32. …and Lin, if my short-term memory wasn’t suffering right now, I could write a book on all of the examples socially that went down. Sometimes, I thank God that my memory is suffering because to remember all of that is reliving the nightmare that it had become.

  33. Correction: About the home being a revolving door… That’s about having different roommates all the time, with people getting married, with the culture being transient, people are always having to learn to live with new people every couple of months, weeks, year(s). It’s unhealthy, in my opinion. I’ve seen the emotional damage and strife it causes people. It’s like a never-ending college life.

  34. and one more thing, Lin…. I got put on the listserv at SGMs new church plant in my area before I joined. When the messges started going out, and Carolyn McCulley started posting movie nights, I knew I was in trouble. It was wonderful seeing all the wide-eyed bambi’s tell me they were in her small group and I should join too. Afterall, we single women needed such a great example. I almost threw up the communion cracker.

    I still love the worship there, but that’s because I love a more charasmatic worship. I do love lifting my hands and closing my eyes but that’s also because I connect with God through music. I’m a musician. I just wished I had a revolting reaction to the dissonance in their teachings, doctrine and culture that I have when someone is off a quarter tone on an intrument, or is singing out of tune. It drives me wild like a dog whistle does for a dog. I dive, cover my ears and close my eyes.

    Truth on the other hand, has become like a Bach Cello Concerto to my soul… (preferrably in G)… Like deep colored warm mellow wood; like an old antique familiar smell; movement like a wide flowing brook, and chords bright enough to make your spine tingle…

    Hmmmm… I’m all relaxed now.

  35. Hi, NLR.

    Love your description of “truth”. I think figurative language communicates so much more than literal language.

  36. You are going to France? Good for you!

    When you are healed totally, you should write a book about your experience because you describe it so well and bring a total level of common sense to the silliness and legalism.

  37. Sometimes we can be blinded to truth, by being fed half truths along with spoon fulls of sugar. Gets very confusing, and objectivity is obscured.

    But when we encounter a more pure form of truth (truth that hasn’t been remolded into a tool or weapon for the sake of ideology or self;…also, assuming that 100% truth is a rare thing), I think it strikes a primal chord in us to some degree. We recognize it.

    In the way that most people can recognize when a pitch moves from being even infinitessimally sharp or flat to being perfectly in tune. It’s not until it moves to being perfectly in tune do people really hear the difference.

  38. Elastigirl–

    I love that handle. The Incredibles is one of my favorite movies. Thank you. I love figurative language as well. It helps me when I can’t describe something with literal language, as you said.


    Yeah, it’s sort of therapeutic, so to speak. For the past two years, I’ve been doing EVERYTHING with a group of people. Coming out of the highdemand-ness and codependency made me paralized. It compounded my struggles of lonliness being single, and my hope for marriage. It just made everything exponentially worse. One of my daily prayers is asking God for courage to live the life that I have–not one I can contrive, not one that isn’t true, not one that people make up to protect them from the real world. Being single is just as hard as being married with kids, divorced, widowed and vice versa on all of those things. They are just all hard places in life, and they all have moments of joy and pain.

    For me, as a single person, this constant and instant love, friendship and ability to always have people there was like an answer to prayer. Imagine the shock to my soul to realize how damaging and fake it all has been. It sometimes still saddens me. But the Lord has been kind and real, Jehovah Shimmah. He’s been here, very near, glued to my side. He has given me what I’ve asked for–so much that I stopped vying for all of the relationships where people remained unresponsive or were not available. We also live in DC culture where it is difficult to maintain and keep friendships. People are very noncommital and it’s transient. It’s a hard place to be sometimes.

    I would just cry and say God, give me courage to live this life. I am single. I’m not married today. That day will have it’s troubles too. But today, I am alone, I am afraid, and my heart is broken. I cannot depend on “your” people to love me well and do it earnestly. I don’t want to depend on people like that anymore. I have been tricked into becoming dependent when I should be far less dependent on others and more dependent on you. I have replaced you with them and I am sorry. You are my Savior. You are my Abba Father. You are my Companion. My Keeper. My Soul’s Delight and I have given that away and traded it. I have resorted to making mud pies in the slum when I have been offered a vacation at sea, because you see, it’s harder to connect with you God–sometimes. It’s hard because you’re not always tangible and readily there. It’s hard because temptation requires waiting patiently on you to deliver. Relationship with you sometimes is hard work and I dont always want to work that hard. I want what I want, when I want it. I’m sorry God that I traded you for all that and I need you to be here, with me now!

    I have prayed that consistently. God has answered–quickly! In just a few weeks, I stopped calling people. I said the ones who really care about me, they will notice my absence and call me. And they did just that. It was a lot fewer than I hoped, but yet, there it was. I started doing little things like going to the grocery store alone, or to the mall. Yes, I cried all the way there. But I sucked it up and got out of the car. I’ve never felt so alone.

    I’d go to a local wi-fi bar or restaurant and take my laptop with me and learn to be alone, and learn also how to interact with the general unsaved public who was all going to hell from not being Reformed (hahahah!). I stayed home more or went out more. Whatever I felt. I stopped sending out emails to all my “friends” asking them to do stuff with me. You see, they are all so busy serving everyone in teh church, that they dont have the room nor the time to just focus on a few relationships and do well in cultivating them. It’s not like the south that I grew up in where people formed relationships in hopes that they would last a lifetime.

    I found my interests again. I started back with my dance classes and am looking for a local orchestra to join. I gave up a lot of my own interests in order to be part of that congregation and serve them and include them in every waking ounce of my life.

    It has all been good and I have even gotten to the point where I enjoy time alone. It’s just me and God and often, it feels great. Because there is no condemnation. He isn’t sniffing my sin or taking me through spiritual abuse every other minute. I sense not only his affirmation for me and care for me, but also his love. Something I had come to really miss. It’s been great having the real God back again. Boy, have I missed him. I have missed myself too. I still need courage everyday to live the life that I have. I dont know if I’ll ever be totally at peace with singleness, but at least I can have a much better time and enjoy it the way I should–like going to France with noone that I know, and opening opportunities to meet others (I’m going with a wine club. I dont know anyone, but they seem like decent people. There will be some single women going to. We shall see what happens!)

  39. NLR — I’ve had my own experience, somewhat similar to yours. An amazing realization I’ve had is how good and wonderful people are (who don’t even go to church!).

    I have recognized more sincerity and genuine character in them than in those from my past church circle. And much more peace. Yes. They have peace. Not having to live one’s life through such a bewildering sieve of guidelines / requirements, and at the risk of harsh confrontation.

    I have better friends now than ever before. Kind, sincere, genuine. Largely because I am also so much more relaxed. I am free to be me, without second-guessing myself all the time, and minus the crazy self-denial reflex that developed. I am free to enjoy other people for who they are.

  40. NLR,

    I have heard (and felt) more spiritual truth in Beethoven’s violin concerto than in all the cocksure mouthings of all the preachers in Christendom combined.

  41. RE Elastigirl on Tue, Aug 09 2011 at 06:13 pm:

    My experience is very similar. It’s like the starry skies out in the boonies and drinking from one of the springs out there that hasn’t been touched by a municipal treatment plant. Oh! what freedom and goodness, and healing for the soul!

  42. Being single is not as bad as being in a bad marriage, when your partner is not loyal and conceives a baby with someone else!

    When I had been single for over a year, I prayed that God would let me know, because I was not meeting the kind of person I would want to have a long-term friendship with, let alone marry. I told Him I was willing to be single if that was His will, but I knew it would be a struggle to stay on the straight and narrow. It was three weeks later that someone came into my life. So. Pray about it. Be willing to serve Him regardless. And pray He will reveal His will for the future, including, if it is His will, who that partner will be.

  43. HowDee YaAll,

    Many members are serving faithfully on the front lines of the spiritual war that is engulfing SGM.


    All too often for the SGM member, the greatest battles are not taking  place on their knees in devoted prayer, but within their very SGM church itself, where souls are caught in the crossfire of lies,deception, and over-top-authoritarian practices.    

    congregational conflicts, you bet.
    member abuse, you bet.

    With not an end in sight…


    These endless SGM skirmishes are leaving more than a few SGM pastors – and their families – not to speak of many a  member and their families -marginalized, exhausted, wounded, and kicked to the curb. Their “Joy” in serving damaged  by the very ones that engendered their trust. 

    Some are even considering leaving altogether. 

    You know, you can’t blame them?

    Many, however, are seeking a gospel-centered strategy for removing pastors, in a closed system, that are highly in-effective -who are unable to lead their flocks, ensuring personal safety or otherwise, with integrity, sincerity, faith, and diligence, in following the scriptures and providing the much needed encouragement as one following Christ. 

    Can’t say I blame them, none neither…

    Conflict resolution?

    Not from my cheap seat…

    Building a culture of peace in the church?

    in a pig’ eye…



  44. NLR — thanks for the Christian craigslist thing — you had me laughing and crying and nodding and slapping my legs and shouting hallelujah. One of these days, we’re gonna hang out and make some music together — and it’s gonna be Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee — either on this side or the other. Lord bless you!

  45. Well Shazam. Ken Sande and Peacemakers also appear to be an evil institution of the patriarchy.

    Let’s settle all conflicts in secular courts.

    Deb/Dee? Who’s your next target?

    I’m ready!

  46. Seneca

    The issue is not mediation, conciliation, or even peacemaking. It is the particular approaches of Ken Sande and how they get implemented in churches with a CEO or entrepreneurial pastor model. I have been mediating conflicts since 1970, before we even called it that. I have read Ken Sande’s materials, years ago, and have friends that have received training from him.

    Effective mediators, conciliators, and peacemakers must be scrupulously neutral with respect to the participants in the conflict or disagreement to be effective. The only advocacy is toward reaching some settlement that is freely entered into by the participants, without being forced into the settlement.

    Sometimes the best that can be done is to eliminate the extremes from the discussion and encourage people to try again.

    In conflict resolution, experience and available studies show that a mediator that favors one side may get to a resolution, but the resolution fails in implementation, because the non-favored party resents the process. Often, they just walk out.

    The problem with Sande is that he seems to favor the pastor or other professional leadership in the church. That fits with his theology and ecclesiology, so it is a natural tendency. But it results in things like the terrible handling of the sexual abuse of children in particular SGM churches, which damages the victims and their families, and eventually the church as well.

  47. @ Lin: that’s possible, though not something I ever had heard or read in the ensuing coverage. (Which was big here, since there are so many Amish in these parts who have relatives in Lancaster County, PA, where the shootings occurred.)

  48. @ NLR: on the constant revolving-door roommate thing – I really hear you.

    it was hard for me to break away and get my own space, and it only happened after two not-so-nice roommates tried to force me out of an apartment I’d lived in for *years* before they showed up. The whole thing was horrible, but also long gone.

    I never, ever want another roommate. Especially one i don’t know but who is “recommended” by a church in the way that you’ve described.

    I also think that this is pushed on single women more than it is on single men, but I could be wrong on that…

    also – Driscoll’s church has its own social network and last month I saw a *real* application for baptism from one of the Seattle “campuses.” The first question was: Are you a member of our social network?

    I am not making that up; wish I was.

  49. also… I’m very partial to Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin myself… 🙂 I truly do hear something that I can only describe as “divinely inspired,” even just plain “divine” in them.

    It’s like music from another, better place – and y’know, I’m not a big Bach fan, but …

  50. Seneca Griggs,
    Do you ever attempt to add anything substantive to discussions, or are drive-by animadversions the full extent of your repertoire?

  51. Seneca

    Please forward all emails you have sent out in the last two years. I am sure we could dredge something up.

  52. Folks,

    Please see the new short post. Also, go to SGM Refuge to read the letters.

    Thanks for the heads up. It gets messier and messier.

  53. Man! I’m just getting in and there’s so many great comments and stuff I gotta read! Alas, it’s the witching hour and I should try and get some rest. My tummy is full of beer and pizza though. I might have nightmares!! Oy vey! I’ll comment personally to each of you tomorrow. Nite!

    Numo–those partitas make me cuss. They can’t be from heaven. Bach was smokin some hash writing music with insane fingerings like that. And Tchaikowsky his evil twin!! They hate violinists! Gotta be true. Just gotta be! Those partitias sit on my stand, open, everyday and mock me. It’s always a pitiful exchange between us. They call me punk, I flip ’em the bird. I get sucked in to prove myself, hear them and we fall in love again. Its really a sick romance.

  54. @ NLR: heeheehee! Try viola, why dontçha?! 😉

    (I’m bad;it’s what percussionists are good at! [cue drummers’ jokes].)

  55. Sick romance indeed, NLR. And yet, they can be the toughest to kick. Glad you and everyone else that has managed to get out has done so.

  56. Numo-

    Yes, I play the viola as well. The music is generally a little less complicated. You no likey Bach? Hmmm.. Maybe you’re a Shostakovich, Paganini or Wagner kinda girl? Satie or Vivaldi?

    * * *


    Thanks for the hug. I’m the huggy type. I love hugs!

    * * *


    I’m glad I could provide the entertainment. Man, maybe once a week I’ll post an ad that I saw and my response to lighten the mood sometime. With all this tomfoolery coming out of this “church”, we need some laughs here and there.

    * * *


    Arce, for the most part, you are right, being single, generally, isn’t as bad as the example you gave of infidelity. But I could tell you some horrible singles stories that I know of that are just as bad–not mine, per se. It’s all subjective really. I don’t wish to compete, but I will say that’s horrible that happened. I know a woman who did that as well and a few dudes.

  57. Dee–

    You make me laugh. I read that and envisioned you throwing down your book and raising your hands up as if you are just fed up with me not writing! Hahahaha! You are so done with me.

    Okay. OKay. Okay. I surrender. I’m going to write. We’ll talk offline. I’ll email you. I have some questions on how to get organized and begin.

  58. Muff Potter–

    “Cocksure mouthings”… Heh. (I smile coyly and whisper that to my co-worker. We both blush and clutch our pearls. I dared her to use it in our next production meeting. I’ll report later. I’m sure there will be a toast aferwards (Starbuck’s of course–no drinking on the job.)

  59. RE numo on Tue, Aug 09 2011 at 10:09 pm:

    I too am a Bach fan and I adore the Brandenburg Concertos. Like diamonds they never wear out and they have indeed achieved immortality. My favorite is nr. 5 in D major.

  60. Muff–

    That’s one of my favorites as well, and No. 3. I don’t like the first movement though.

  61. Muff

    I love the Brandenburg Concertos. My husband was an undergraduate music major (voice and composition) at Dartmouth. He set some of TS Eliot’s poems to song and they were performed by the Dartmouth Choir. He took his premed courses on the side. Music is a big part of our enjoyment in life.

    I, on the other hand, cannot sing in key for more than a few notes and was a terrible piano player. So now I just admire others!

  62. I’m off today and I’m taking a break from cooking dinner for MsFSGP (she loves it when I’m not working). I’m diggin’ the music talk here. Just finished some Bach during my morning commutes; nice!

    I must say that all the rumblings from Mt St SGM has me thinking more of John Cage.

    On PeaceFakers – I think it was last year ol’ CJ was promoting the PM conflict-resolution-in-a-box piece. All SG senior pastors supposedly received one courtesy of corporate early in the year. I never heard how these items were utilized in the local franchises.

    Back to the kitchen (and switching to Coltrane),
    Former SG Pastor

  63. FGSP,

    Another Bach lover who also loves Coltrane. Heck, I love almost all music, ‘cept overly twangly country, heavy metal, most rap, grunge, and, anything played too loudly when I or spouse be trying to sleep or have conversation. The heavy beat Tejano music from the guys out back penetrates insulated walls and you could dance to it in our living room.

  64. Love Coltrane… But now listening to Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue… Freddy Freeloader. One of my faves.

  65. Anybody like trumpeter Chris Botti around here? I’m so trying to get someone to go with me to see him next week at the Wolftrap. Where’s a date when you need one!

  66. You jazz-lovers: agreed on Coltrane and Kind of Blue (Miles/Bill Evans/Trane Cannon) – what’s not to like?

    Not a big fan of the Brandenburgs overall, though I *love* Bach’s works for solo violin, cello and lute, and a great deal of the choral music. (Being raised Lutheran, we’ve got a lot of segments of the chorales and oratorios in the hymnbook; by other composers who were contemporaries of Bach, too.)

    But me, I’ve gravitated toward Middle Eastern, W. African and Brazilian music, among other things. (As a percussionist, all of these things are kind of a natch.)

    Nice to hear that others here have such interesting musical backgrounds and tastes! 🙂

  67. @ NLR: Chris Botti really can play, and I hate to see him get knocked by the “jazz purist” crowd. (I’ve been one of them, so I kinda know how that works – Us against Them. Silly, really.)

    If I were still in D.C., we could do a ladies’ night out at Wolf Trap. [sigh – them days are gone; it’s quite a haul]

  68. He set some of TS Eliot’s poems to song and they were performed by the Dartmouth Choir.

    I don’t suppose there’s a recording lying around somewhere…?

  69. Truth be told, I never got much into jazz, although in my opinion, Steely Dan’s “Aja” is the best fusion album ever. I also dearly love the works of the old school bluesmen; Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, & B.B. King to name a few. And for a white boy? These days Clapton does indeed turn black when the spirit moves him.