Peter Newman, Serving 35 Years for Molestations at Kamp Kanakuk, Was Allegedly Hired by Fellowship Memphis While Awaiting Trial

“I feel that some people have a hard time with the truths around us, not only the sexual abuse by priests, but all bad things. I call it chosen ignorance. This modified form of ignorance is found in people who, if confronted with certain truths realize that they have to accept them and thereby acknowledge evil, and that scares them. Opening up and letting the truth in might knock them off their perceived center. It is too hard, period.” ― Charles L. Bailey Jr., In the Shadow of the Cross link

http://crimesceneinvestigations.blogspot.com/2009/10/former-kanukuk-kamp-director-thrown-in.html
Peter Newman Mug Shot

Is Fellowship Memphis an unsafe church for adults and children? We'll let you decide. Today's story calls into question the leadership at Fellowship Memphis in regards to their decision to hire a pedophile awaiting trial.

Information from an anonymous source

I know the name of the individual who has given us this information. He is a most credible source, having been present at the church for much of what we discussed in our last post as well as this post. We have decided to redact his name for the sake of privacy. However, if the church attempts to discredit the information provided by this individual, he will come forward with his name, gladly!

Contract worker, volunteer or direct hire: Makes no difference

Before we get into the heart of this story, I think we should clarify something. Churches that get caught in difficult sexual abuse cases usually try to downplay their relationship with the accused offender.

A former church that I attended, in which the pedophile is serving 13 years, claimed that the molester wasn't hired by the church. He was merely a volunteer from the seminary. At Fellowship Memphis, the leadership has allegedly asserted that Newman was merely a contractor.

I don't care whether the abusers were volunteers, contractors, or direct hires, the church still bears responsibility for its actions. The church will look bad no matter what the molester's or voyeur's job title was. Churches – "Stop knocking yourselves out to distance yourself and let the buck fall at your feet where it belongs."

Side Note

-This post is focusing on Peter Newman due to his relationship with Fellowship Memphis. Kamp Kanakuk also had another pedophile incident which you can read about here: Former Kanakuk Counselor Lee Bradberry Sentenced To Ten Years For Sex Crimes Involving Young Boys

Everything to do with Kanakuk is spelled with a "k" which is a Kanakuk thing.

Kudos to Eagle and Amy Smith

There are some bloggers who keep each other informed about coming stories. Eagle has written a number of excellent articles at his blog Wondering Eagle on this situation as has Amy Smith at Watchkeep. I would not have known about this situation if those two hadn't been keeping an *eagle* and *watchful* eye on this story. Thank you!

Thank you to the brave informant

Coming forward and trusting others to write your story is difficult. You are brave. Thank you for caring about the children.

Peter Newman: Long time abuser/molester of campers at Kamp Kanakuk

What is Camp Kanakuk?

Kanakuk located in Branson, Missouri, has been long known as the premier Christian camp in the United States and abroad. In an effort to be completely honest, Dee got sucked into the hype for this camp and two of our children spent a few summers there. (I have repented!) Well known Christians send their kids there and parents like to stand around, pointing out the celebrities on Parents' Day. It was around this time that Dee was in the process of changing her views of much of this stuff.

Kanakuk describes itself here.

Since 1926, Kanakuk has been the Christian summer camp for over 300,000 youth. As a world leader among Christian summer camps, Kanakuk provides children with fun, safe and professional outdoor youth camping experiences that grow them spiritually, physically, emotionally and socially. Our leadership programs, rigid hiring procedures, and low staff turn-over rates allow us to hire summer camp staff that are leaders in their schools, churches and communities. Learn more hereabout customizing your child's summer camp experience.

…Our summer camp staff includes over 1,800 dedicated, kid-loving, Christ-following, fun-producing college students. Full-time leadership staff train and prepare them in five areas: Readiness to serve in a Christ-like manner; Coaching skills and Kamper safety; Core Kanakuk philosophies; Activity based application of Biblical principles; Creating an uplifting, fun and encouraging environment.

Joe White: CEO

Some of you may have heard about Joe White who has spoken at conferences such a Promise Keepers, etc. Here is how he is listed in Wikipedia. Note the highlighted portion.

Joe White is a speaker, author, and current CEO at Kanakuk Ministries.

…Kanakuk Ministries is a holder of numerous ministries, most notably Kanakuk Kamps,[1] a large Christian sports camp based in Missouri that has been operating since 1926. Joe graduated from Southern Methodist University, and was an assistant coach at Texas A&M University before taking the reins of Kanakuk. Additionally, Joe has started several ministries including Kids Across America, a sports camp for underprivileged kids, Kanakuk Haiti, Men At The Cross, Pure Excitement, and After Dark.

He currently resides in Branson, Missouri, with his wife, Debbie Jo.

Joe and his camp, Kanakuk, have been sued by Multiple former campers claiming that he and the camp knew that former employee Pete Newman was abusing children on camp grounds from 1999-2009.

Peter Newman and Camp Kanakuk 

I remember the day that I received notification from Kanakuk that my children had attended the camp when Peter Newman was a counselor. As I would discover, he was only interested in boys and only my daughters spent time at the camp. Newman was a long time employee of the camp but, under his family man, jovial, Christian exterior, there lived a monster. (He is married and has children.)

Newman was discovered to be exhibiting sexually inappropriate behavior in 1999.  Joe White was reportedly made aware of the situation and decided to keep him on staff.

According to Red Dirt Report in Sandusky-like camp director arrested in Missouri – what did Kanakuk's "godlike" Joe White know?

“At least as early as 1999, Defendant Joe T. White, Kanakuk Ministries and/or Kanakuk Heritage, Inc. knew that Newman, in the nude, was riding four-wheelers at the ‘kamp’ with nude ‘kampers’ who were minor children entrusted to the care of Defendants. In response to this sexually inappropriate behavior, Newman was placed on probation.”

Despite these revelations, White would keep Newman “on staff in easy reach of his future victims.”

Newman continued his heinous activities and was finally arrested in 2010.

According to the Branson Tri-Lake News in Kanakuk named In lawsuit over jailed counselor, even though Joe White allegedly knew about the problems in 2003, he allowed Newman to have contact with children according to a lawsuit petition.

  “In February 2010, Peter Newman pleaded guilty in Taney County to several counts of statutory sodomy and child enticement involving child abuse of a boy on Kanakuk property between approximately 2005 and 2008,” records state. “In 2003, defendants White and Kanakuk had actual knowledge that defendant Newman continued to engage in activities with children at Kanakuk camps that involved defendant Newman and the children becoming naked together.”

Why would Kanakuk give Newman a promotion and allow him to have access to boy kampers if they knew about his activities? $$$$$

The Branson Tri-Lake News had this to say.

  “Defendants Kanakuk Ministries and Kanakuk Heritage chose to protect the sexual predator rather than the children,” the petition states.

    The documents state that the defendants’ motivation for continuing to employ Newman was financial “in his reputation among kampers was such that it engendered return visits to kamp and more money for” the defendants.

    The report states that Kanakuk did not limit Newman’s access to boys.

    “Instead, Kanakuk promoted Newman inside the camp and to the world as a good, inspiring, Christian role model who developed deep connections to boys,” documents state. “Newman’s inappropriate nudity and private sleepovers with boys were not disclosed to the public, including John Doe IX’s parents until after Kanakuk was sued by one of Newman’s sexual abuse victims in 2011.”

    With knowledge of three separate events, the result should have been Newman’s dismissal, documents state.

*Warning: short, graphic section dealing with the activities of Newman to give readers an understanding of his crimes.*

What were some of the alleged activities?

According to Finally, Kanakuk Kamp sex scandal may receive national attention:

Kanakuk promoted Newman as a "camp director, devoted husband, loving, beloved friend and mentor to youth" long after being made aware of sexual misconduct allegations. Camp officials also allowed Newman to "continue to promote himself all over America as an expert on teenage sexual purity."

-Newman had one-on-one Bible studies with boys in his hot tub.

-Newman used his unrestricted access to Kanakuk facilities to lure underage boys to the facilities during the off-season for sexual purposes.

-Newman bombarded the plaintiff, referred to as "John Doe, J. G." in the petition with phone calls and letters and engaged in phone sex with him.

-Newman had sexual relations with boys in Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. (Not mentioned was Colorado)

-At a "Purity Conference" in Memphis, Newman engaged a group of boys in sex talk, telling them what it was like to "have sex with a woman now that he was married."

-Newman invited the plaintiff to a conference in Oklahoma where he tried to get the boy to engage in sodomy, was turned down, and finally convinced him to engage in a mutual masturbation session.

According to the petition, the plaintiff was first seduced by Newman on Feb. 7, 2003, and then again the following day at K-Kountry in Taney County, at an area known as "The Pit," a foam pit next to the gymnastics equipment.

In the summer of 2003, the petition says, Newman lured the children with a yellow jeep into "spending time with him on Kanakuk property."

According to another source

Newman admitted he betrayed the trust of underage boys and their parents when he held naked bible study in his hot tub, where he performed masturbation with/or on the boys, performed oral sex with the young men and played naked basketball with the youths.

*End graphic material*

Newman goes to prison.

The Crime Scene reported Newman Sentenced To Two Life Terms Plus 30 Years

Peter "Pete" Newman pleaded guilty in February without a plea agreement to two counts of first-degree statutory sodomy, three counts of second-degree statutory sodomy, and three counts of enticement of a child. 

…Every available seat (at least 100 in attendance) in Judge Mark Orr's courtroom was occupied by victims of 34 year-old Newman, their families or supporters of Newman's.

It is obvious that the judge realized the extent of Newman's crimes by the unusual length of the sentence. This judge gets it right!

Judge Orr retired to his chambers to decide Newman's fate for a little over 40 minutes, when he came back and delivered the verdicts it seemed that both side were a little stunned. Merrell said, "I'm satisfied, but there's always a sense of gravity when someone is sentenced to life. Adding, "I have never seen consecutive life sentences in all my years of practice."

Kanakuk is now being sued by the victims, and they are casting doubt on the severity of harm on the victims (Despicable!!!!- I cannot contain myself.)

I would sue if I were in the position of these families. I find this response on the part of Kanakuk reprehensible!

Dallas trial date nears for $10 million sex abuse lawsuit against Kanakuk Ministries

My two daughters traveled on those buses from NorthPark Center which are mentioned in the story.

In court documents filed in February 2013, Kanakuk says it will present testimony from expert witnesses that will cast doubt on the severity of the harm John Doe suffered as a 12-year-old sexual abuse victim. That testimony is expected to include the suggestion that John has "false or distorted recollections" of his encounters with Newman as a result of "external suggestion."

Kanakuk has been granted a motion for an independent medical exam of John and plans to call on a medical professional who believes that the child does not suffer from "a major depressive disorder." Kanakuk will also call on the CEO of a camp consulting firm to testify that the 2003 streaking incident was handled appropriately and that "there is no evidence of gross negligence or malicious conduct by Joe White or camp management."

Another federal suit filed in Dallas claims camper was sexually abused over seven years at summer camp Kanakuk

The new suit says Newman “developed a deeper and more trusting relationship” with the boy, identified only as John Doe III, by “phoning him directly at his home in Texas, by emailing him at his home in Texas, and by sending cards and letters to John Doe III at his home in Texas.” The suit alleges this was part of Newman’s “grooming” process and “led John Doe III to more completely trust and believe

Defendant Newman.” Says the suit, which is below, “These acts continued throughout the abuse,” some of which was alleged to have taken place in the boy’s Dallas-area home.

Kanakuk has long been popular with Dallas families, in part because NorthPark Center is one of the stops on its charter-bus route.

In 2009, Fellowship Memphis apparently decided that Peter Newman would be a wonderful person to hire!!!!!

I want to thank the former attendee of this church for revealing the following information. Unfortunately, it seems to indicate that Fellowship Memphis does not take either child sex abuse or voyeurism seriously. 

Due to previous friendships and employment, there was supposedly a connection between Fellowship Memphis and some of the folks at Kanakuk. For example, David Newman, Peter Newman's twin, who spoke out on his behalf, is a pastor at Antioch Church of the Y which is part of Fellowship Associates as is Fellowship Memphis. (We will be discussing this group in the near future.)

The following is the alleged timeline as best as our informant can remember.

  • Spring 2009: Peter Newman leaves Kanakuk.
  • Summer 2009: Newman is hired by Fellowship Memphis as a curriculum writer and is given a place to live.
  • ​June 2009: Newman produces a written confession of his crimes.
  • September 2009: Newman is arrested & then released on $50,000 bond along with a court order not to be around children but he continues working at the church.
  • January 2010: Newman finally leaves the church to stand trial. 

Our informant, having heard about the Newman situation, questioned Bryan Loritts about Peter Newman's position at the church. Loritts allegedly responded "It was just some skinny dipping thing." As far as our informant knows, the church attendees were not informed of Peter Newman's serious issues. Newman allegedly had full access to the church which, of course, has children. 

Fellowship Memphis appears to have no problem exposing their congregation to a child sex abuser.

Peter Newman was hired by Fellowship Memphis. They had connections at Kamp Kanakuk and could have easily made a call to learn the issues surrounding Newman. Since they are supposedly intelligent men, I will assume that they checked this out. That leads me to believe that the church leaders at the time, including John Bryson and Bryan Loritts, did not take crimes of a sexual nature seriously, especially if the person involved has friends and family connections.

Unless there has been a radical change in how this church does business in the areas of abuse and voyeurism, then I believe that the church is unsafe for children as well as any adult. Here is my bottom line for all churches and parachurches:

Churches and Ministries: stop making your uninformed church members and attendees the guinea pigs for your gospel™ experiments with pedophiles and voyeurs.

Comments

Peter Newman, Serving 35 Years for Molestations at Kamp Kanakuk, Was Allegedly Hired by Fellowship Memphis While Awaiting Trial — 385 Comments

  1. OK, third.

    I am appalled at all of this but especially disgusted with Loritts’ alleged response:

    Our informant, having heard about the Newman situation, questioned Bryan Loritts about Peter Newman’s position at the church. Loritts allegedly responded, “It was just some skinny dipping thing.”

    As far as I’m concerned, Loritts should be barred from any ministry anywhere.

  2. Loritts allegedly responded “It was just some skinny dipping thing.”

    Just? And this inappropriate behavior didn’t raise any red flags for them? I can only conclude that they simple don’t care whether anyone is abused in that church.

  3. @ Divorce Minister:
    Maintaining relationships inside the neo-cal industrial complex is key. You give someone a place to hideout today, because you may need one tomorrow. We may be seeing more of that soon with this group.

  4. September 2009: Newman is arrested & then released on $50,000 bond along with a court order not to be around children but he continues working at the church.

    Wow. What on earth??? This church is insane.

    And we have memphis, branson, and then one of your links was little rock. So this is hitting close to home.

  5. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    Loritts allegedly responded “It was just some skinny dipping thing.”
    Just? And this inappropriate behavior didn’t raise any red flags for them? I can only conclude that they simple don’t care whether anyone is abused in that church.

    Maybe they see skinny dipping as “good, clean fun” and not abuse.

    If a bunch of boy and girl kampers had been caught skinny dipping together without adult supervision (don’t know if boys and girls have separate sessions at that camp, or are there at the same time), I wonder if they would have been sent home in disgrace?

    Was it okay because there was adult supervision, and they were all “boys” together? Sort of a rite of passage thing?

    Perhaps that’s what passes in those circles for christian sex education.

    Wow.

    (Deebs, thanks for all you do. It can’t be easy to have to deal with the cesspool on a regular basis.)

  6. refugee wrote:

    Maybe they see skinny dipping as “good, clean fun” and not abuse.

    I guess the appropriate word to use here is ‘grooming’. He was desensitizing the children to sexually abuse them and violating all kinds of boundaries to achieve that.

  7. JMJ at Christian Monist used to relate that when he was growing up in rural Tennessee, it was an open secret that one of the pastors or elders at his church was an actively-molesting pedophile. (Not sure of his position, but I think it involved church music.) Well, whenever a new couple with kids joined the church, the Respectable Church Ladies would steer them to the pedo so he’d molest the noobs’ kids, not theirs. All Very Righteous and Respectable and Christian(TM).

    It’s at the point if you don’t want your kid molested/raped, you have to become a Done.

  8. Kanakuk, located in Branson, Missouri, has been long known as the premier Christian camp in the United States and abroad. In an effort to be completely honest, Dee got sucked into the hype for this camp and two of our children spent a few summers there. (I have repented!) Well known Christians send their kids there and parents like to stand around, pointing out the celebrities on Parents’ Day.

    Keyword: CELEBRITIES.

    And the name “Branson, MO” sounds vaguely familiar. Is that the town described in that one Simpsons episode as “what Las Vegas would be like if it were run by Ned Flanders”?

  9. refugee wrote:

    Perhaps that’s what passes in those circles for christian sex education.

    The part about him telling them what sex with women was like because he was married now? So creepy.

    Grownups shouldn’t be getting naked with teenagers at camp. I think this is pretty basic.

    These churches are either incredibly stupid, blind, or just don’t care even a little bit about what is right. Or alternately, the man is always what’s important and the one who should be protected. The child/woman is always unimportant/prey. Disturbing, incredibly so, but I don’t know what other conclusions to reach. You could argue PR would be a reason to keep things quite at fellowship when something bad happened on their watch, but retaining a person on staff who is a child predator and actually has been arrested for that is bad PR! Except it sounds like nobody talked about it??? What on earth is going on in christian land these days?

  10. To all the Children hurt by this person and their family and friends I am sorry this has happened to you. To the spiritual superheroes that think they know better grow up.

  11. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    And the name “Branson, MO” sounds vaguely familiar.

    Vaguely! HA. Branson is a popular vacation site. They have Silver Dollar city, some lakes, an outlet mall, and a million weird shows you can watch, including a christian themed one that had JONAH last year. I mean, I live 4-5 hours away, so maybe it’s more familiar to me, but it’s well known apparently outside of the area, yes, enough to make it onto the simpsons lol.

  12. SHAME ON YOU, churches, para-churches, church schools – anyone who dares claim the name of Christ, any and all who refuse to vigorously defend the weak and cast out the wolves among you.

    It’s getting so hard to hold on to faith.

  13. I escorted my parents to Branson once. I was far and away the youngest person in most crowds at 45. It was freaky seeing all these ancient country and music stars up close and personal with enough makeup and plastic surgery scars to plug up the river.

  14. Reading this makes me want to throw up!! It is also probably best I do not write what I think of these "christian leaders"…..

    More generally, I use to think America was sue-crazy. But the longer I live, and experience life, the more I see a place for it… I hope that camp, and it leaders, get sue out of business and bankrupt!!! How can having a first class pervert not have significant, long term damage to boys??? Especially by a "Christian leader"???

  15. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    Loritts allegedly responded “It was just some skinny dipping thing.”

    And didn’t your last article explain that Bryan Loritts himself was found out to be a voyeur in the women’s bathroom? No wonder he didn’t care. He’s in the cesspool himself.

  16. I was so agitated by the headline I said, “nooooooooooooo” a couple of times and upset my kitty Nicki, who left the room. Then I read the story. I wish I could have left the room.

    I did a Google search to find out more about Kamp Kanakuk and one of the first links was to this headline (from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 2013):

    “Kanakuk camp wants to be national model for stopping sex abuse”

    I’m not providing a link because it’s obvious that Kamp Kanakuk did a lousy, horrible job of stopping abuse and is now trying to avoid the very real consequences of Joe White’s “decisionmaking” with regards to Peter Newman.

    As for Fellowship Memphis–why am I not surprised? Just My Personal Opinion but it’s abundantly clear to me that “the least of these” (women and children) do not matter to the men who lead / led Fellowship Memphis.

  17. nwhiker wrote:

    And didn’t your last article explain that Bryan Loritts himself was found out to be a voyeur in the women’s bathroom? No wonder he didn’t care. He’s in the cesspool himself.

    Bryan Loritts is the brother-in-law of accused voyeur Rick Trotter. He was also a leader at Fellowship Memphis. He has not, to my knowledge, been accused of any sex crimes.

  18. Reporting on this stuff will never end. And churches will continually attempt to make themselves look as positive as they can. At least that’s how it feels.

  19. I had to take my dogs for a walk I was so mad…. The problems, I just got madder about this situation as I went for a walk!! I looked up this camp, and they are acting like nothing happened! At least Penn State, after their disgusting mess blew open, cleaned house!! But not "Christian" groups, they cover it up, ignore it and move on!! Once again, the "secular" world does a "better" job than the church! I could rant more, but I am just singing to choir with you all..

  20. Lea wrote:

    retaining a person on staff who is a child predator and actually has been arrested for that is bad PR! Except it sounds like nobody talked about it??? What on earth is going on in christian land these days?

    The people who ‘knew’ and looked the other way while the ‘leadership’ sinned by bringing the perpetrator into the sheep fold (lamb fold), these people ought to be culpable for any sexual abuse incidents that occurred. The ‘leadership’? Criminal behavior to knowingly bring a man charged with paedophilia anywhere NEAR children …. beyond irresponsible into criminal.

    I’m glad there is a ‘witness’ who says he/she will come forward if ‘leadership’ lies about what went down.

    There is NO excuse for any of this in ‘Christianland’ since what happened with my Church was published and exposed some years ago; and it is known that the victims of those priests STILL suffer terribly.

    Any church ‘leader’ who takes part in bringing paedophilia into the Church needs to be got out of ministry and kept out of ministry. That kind of betrayal of the innocents does not deserve any ‘second chance’.
    There is apparently such a thing a being a ‘paedophile by proxy’, deriving a sense of power and control through the activities of predators on one’s staff, if the ‘leadership’ was aware, enabling, then hiding, excusing the predator, and blaming and intimidating the victims. NO excuses exist that can make what happened to the little victims ‘right’. The victims need justice.
    And future victims in that Church need protection from a leadership staff that knowingly would even let danger in the door.

    Pretty sick stuff. The worst kind of SIN with very severely injured victims left in its wake.

  21. I wonder how many have had their outlook on life disfigured because Paul Newman molested them and because Joe White did not fire him and report him to the police. I wonder how many more will be done with the institutional church because Bryan Loritts then hired the guy and minimized his crimes. I wonder how even more will be turned away from the church entirely because of this level of corruption.

    I’ve referred to these religious leaders in the past as modern day Pharisees, that no longer works. By my reading, the Pharisees were several notches better than these thugs.

  22. Bill M wrote:

    I’ve referred to these religious leaders in the past as modern day Pharisees, that no longer works. By my reading, the Pharisees were several notches better than these thugs.

    The ‘leadership’, that knowingly invites the sick predators near children, has an even GREATER responsibility for what happens as a result. It’s time the Church understands the truth of this and deals with such ‘leaders’ AS THUGS. They need to be got out of positions where they can knowingly expose innocents to harm.

  23. Lea wrote:

    Grownups shouldn’t be getting naked with teenagers at camp. I think this is pretty basic.

    At least one of the victims was not yet a teen — the story said he was 12, at one point.

    Lea wrote:

    Branson is a popular vacation site.

    I would go one further and say that it’s a popular vacation site for christians and conservative folks who like tradition. I’ve never been there, but I’ve heard descriptions of christianized shows and activities.

    It’s also known for gospel music and country music, isn’t it? I have heard that Dolly Parton has a show/theater there, too.

  24. Here this is up… Sandy Willson of Memphis Second Presbyterian Church was notified in November 2011 that there was am alleged sexual predator on staff. Sandy kicked the issue over to Richard Rieves. After all Sandy Willson had more pressing issues! He had to practice church discipline on a 35 year member Dr. Nan Hawkes and drive her from the congregation.

    https://wonderingeagle.wordpress.com/2016/08/31/sandy-willson-of-second-presbyterian-memphis-is-allegedly-notified-in-november-2011-that-a-sexual-predator-was-on-staff-at-downtown-presbyterian-church/#more-7415

  25. nwhiker

    Bryan Loritts was not  the voyeur. He was the pastor who allegedly kept thing on the down low.

  26. nwhiker wrote:

    And didn’t your last article explain that Bryan Loritts himself was found out to be a voyeur in the women’s bathroom? No wonder he didn’t care. He’s in the cesspool himself.

    Wait, I don’t remember reading this. Is this accurate? If not, maybe it ought to be removed.

    (Not trying to be stifling or silencing of truth or established fact, but if it’s not truth, it’s not a good thing to leave hanging out there.)

  27. I really don’t get it. Protecting the kids from sexual abuse should be pretty basic, both from a Christian standpoint and from a business standpoint. I really don’t think it’s doing the pedophile any favors by surrounding him with children, either. I don’t get how anyone could with a shred of decency or understand of morality could think it’s okay to keep this man on the staff.

  28. I live near Branson and recall this sad situation very well. Newman was in the news a lot in this area, as his crimes against children were revealed. I was unaware of the crime that Fellowship Memphis then subsequently committed to keep this predator in “ministry.” Christian parents should not have to worry about sending their kids to camp or church, but with youth workers like this on the prowl, you better think twice these days and vet ministry staff yourself. You can’t trust some church leaders to be honest with you these days about those they put in charge of children. Kamp Kanakuk failed miserably in this regard. How about your local church?

    Our local news this week reported on a Baptist church music minister sentenced to 30 years in Federal prison for sexual exploitation of minors, including child pornography. And we wonder why the “Done” ranks are swelling?! Hell is swelling, too, with demons who were called ‘pastor’ on earth.

  29. When we were attending a church that became part of Harvest Bible Chapel our kids went to a weekend youth camp.The leadership requested no cell phones allowed.Since my daughter went along and she was almost 18 we let the younger sibling go also with the stipulation that they were to keep the cell phone for emergencies only(meaning if the younger handfull acted up,we could intervene ) The handfull took the phone out and played games on it and got in trouble with a bunch of other kids.We all got a good smack down in that weeks sermon,even to the point of questioning our Christianity.At that point I knew that I didn’t want to be apart of that church.(we were considering membership)What church tells a almost grown kid that they can’t have a cell phone in this day and age of sexual abuse.I never allowed my kids to attend sleepovers and the one time I felt reasonably safe about it(meaning sister was really mature and sibling was 15 and other friends older kids would look out for each other)my distrustful nature is proven right.I have seen and heard of so much wrong in the church in my lifetime I am a DONE,I still go to church (will not tithe again,I paid my part)but I really don’t care anymore.!!! And I only believe about 10% of what they say or do.Lord come soon!!!!!

  30. Max wrote:

    Our local news this week reported on a Baptist church music minister sentenced to 30 years in Federal prison for sexual exploitation of minors, including child pornography. And we wonder why the “Done” ranks are swelling?

    Do you have a news link for that story? What is that pastor’s name? Thanks.

  31. It just strikes me that if these churches et al were as concerned about legally protecting themselves from lawsuits stemming from harboring pedophiles (since it’s obvious they don’t care about protecting children) as they are about legally protecting themselves from their flocks via church membership forms, everyone would be a lot better off.

  32. Dave (Eagle) wrote:

    Here this is up… Sandy Willson of Memphis Second Presbyterian Church was notified in November 2011 that there was am alleged sexual predator on staff. Sandy kicked the issue over to Richard Rieves. After all Sandy Willson had more pressing issues! He had to practice church discipline on a 35 year member Dr. Nan Hawkes and drive her from the congregation.

    https://wonderingeagle.wordpress.com/2016/08/31/sandy-willson-of-second-presbyterian-memphis-is-allegedly-notified-in-november-2011-that-a-sexual-predator-was-on-staff-at-downtown-presbyterian-church/#more-7415

    It just gets worse and worse. I don’t even think these powerful men ever think about the damage to “the least of these.”

  33. Persephone wrote:

    It just strikes me that if these churches et al were as concerned about legally protecting themselves from lawsuits stemming from harboring pedophiles (since it’s obvious they don’t care about protecting children) as they are about legally protecting themselves from their flocks via church membership forms, everyone would be a lot better off.

    I think many of these churches are about making money. And about power for the leaders.
    Humbly serving? Caring? These dudes are ‘hired hands’ and don’t care about the Lord’s flock.

  34. Contract worker, volunteer or direct hire: Makes no difference

    Thanks for saying this. It doesn’t make ANY difference when it comes to protecting children. Anyone who works with children is supposed to be fully vetted yet these places use this contract or volunteer status as a way to avoid responsibility.

    Gateway did this with Sammy Nuckolls. They lied, saying he had only spoken a 3-6 times when he actually had spoken over 30 times including 10 overnight gigs. Gateway considered Sammy a pastor and even flew him out regularly for staff chapel and pastors’ meetings. The fact that he was paid as a contractor was irrelevant to the amount of spiritual authority, trust and access that he had and abused. They also claimed no one at Gateway had been filmed on their property, which may have been technically true, but several Gateway student and leader victims were taped at offsite properties where overnight events were held. They are really parsing words instead warning the parents and students? NO PARENTS were ever told about any of this. Sammy uploaded his videos to the internet so the threat of these videos being seen by the world looms to this day.

    LifeWay also weaseled out of responsibility using the contract pastor line. Sammy was moved to a contract pastor in 2007 after a spycam was allegedly found in the girls showers of a CentriFUGE Camp. They kept Sammy on staff up until his arrest. He spoke to thousands of kids every year through LifeWay. They said no FUGE camp girls were hurt. Again, this is not true. Many of Sammy’s victims only knew Sammy through the LifeWay CentriFUGE camps. What message does this send to our children about Christian leadership? Get a good PR team? Deceiving your own flock is okay, if you choose your words carefully enough?

    Gateway claims to do background checks on all their staff who work with children. However, they then proceed to hire pastors who have lengthy histories of having been sexually abused as small children. That shouldn’t happen. They also hire people with criminal records to supervise the kids. What’s the point of these background checks if they don’t prevent hiring a criminal?

    BTW, those Kanakuk kids were mainly looking for counseling expenses and Kanakuk would not pay them. That’s why the lawsuits were filed. I hope they win. Kanakuk peddles their safety systems for profit to schools, insurance companies, churches and camps. They are profiting off the pain of the children that were sexually abused.

    Please stay on this case. These churches believe they are beyond reproach. The major media companies won’t report on these issues. The people have a right to know. Children’s lives are at stake here.

  35. Yet another reason to stay away from church. My wife likes to go but we have not sent our kids to the Sunday school or camp.
    Am I judging all churches? Yes. When it comes to the kids, we can’t afford not to.
    Sure this happens in the secular world too but we keep involved in the daycare, school & sports team.
    My wife came home early from church last week, apparently the sermon was quite graphic about appropriate sex between a man & a woman.
    X-rated church! No wonder there’s issues.

  36. JH wrote:

    These churches believe they are beyond reproach. The major media companies won’t report on these issues. The people have a right to know. Children’s lives are at stake here.

    And Christians should stop giving their money to these abusive churches. If they abuse anyone – children, women, the people in the pew – don’t reward it with money, or for that matter your presence. Close your wallet and leave through the exit. Look for a saner, healthier, place.

    A man who comments over on Spiritual Sounding Board has said that he and his wife came to the conclusion that when a church won’t protect children, that’s just the tip of the iceberg of other serious problems at that church.

  37. Jack wrote:

    Yet another reason to stay away from church. My wife likes to go but we have not sent our kids to the Sunday school or camp.
    Am I judging all churches? Yes. When it comes to the kids, we can’t afford not to.
    Sure this happens in the secular world too but we keep involved in the daycare, school & sports team.
    My wife came home early from church last week, apparently the sermon was quite graphic about appropriate sex between a man & a woman.
    X-rated church! No wonder there’s issues.

    I’m, sadly, in complete agreement with you. Many churches are very unsafe places for adults and children alike.

    I’m glad your wife walked out of the creepy sermon. My ex-pastor pulled a stunt like that at Easter time with visitors.

  38. In court documents filed in February 2013, Kanakuk says it will present testimony from expert witnesses that will cast doubt on the severity of the harm John Doe suffered as a 12-year-old sexual abuse victim.

    You know what? It has no bearing on the man’s crime and guilt!!

    How dare they. I mean, really, how dare they?

    Luke 17:2
    It is better for him if a millstone is hung around his neck and he is cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to stumble.

    News Flash: These guys obviously do not believe this. What else do they not believe? Do you think they believe in Christ yet don’t believe this one passage? They obviously do not care what it says nor do they think they will ever suffer these consequences. They are empty men, pursuing the almighty dollar, masquerading in sheep costumes, men without souls.

    Matthew 23:27
    “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you are like whitewashed tombs that look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and all kinds of filth.”

    There is no more blatant picture of filth than one who would victimize and seek to corrupt innocent, vulnerable children. There can be no excuse, no rationalization, no mitigating factors. How does anyone overlook this?

    I’ll tell you what. If I had young children and they’d been to any Christian activities, I would be paranoid. I would be spending time talking with them and seeking to ascertain if anything like this had happened to them or kids they know. I’ve read so many cases in the news now, I’d be paranoid to take my kids to church or have them involved in any Christian stuff. It’s just not worth the risk.

  39. How do I go about investigating a camp? I sent my child to camp this past summer at brookhill ranch near hot springs, AR mainly because it was so highly recommend, a friend of hers invited her, and it was half the cost of other places (kanakuk, pine cove, camp ozark, etc.). She had a blast. But I truly don’t know if I can trust them. Do I file a freedom of information request on anything involving the name of the camp? These groups seem to be masters of hiding and covering up things they don’t want revealed. And they seem to have friends in the local law enforcement that will cover for them too.

  40. razorbackSally wrote:

    How do I go about investigating a camp? I sent my child to camp this past summer at brookhill ranch near hot springs, AR mainly because it was so highly recommend, a friend of hers invited her, and it was half the cost of other places (kanakuk, pine cove, camp ozark, etc.). She had a blast. But I truly don’t know if I can trust them. Do I file a freedom of information request on anything involving the name of the camp? These groups seem to be masters of hiding and covering up things they don’t want revealed. And they seem to have friends in the local law enforcement that will cover for them too.

    As Dr. Anna Salter, Harvard educated, expert about sex offenders, and author of Predators,
    said in an interview on Tier Talk (for the corrections industry) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRtccELtlJw

    that children, in their lives, will come in to contact with sex offenders (including those who’ve never been arrested, prosecuted, and convicted). The most important way she says for parents to protect their children is to get involved. When her children were in programs, she volunteered. She was always there to make sure that her kids were ok.

  41. Wow-this hits so very close to home. I don’t remember having seen any of this in the news at the time. I know many, many people who send their kids to Kanakuk year after year. And why not? It comes highly rated as a Christian camp (make that kamp) and we all know “Christian” = safe, has an emphasis on sports, has achieved some national notoriety, and is only three hours from here. That’s a win!

    Never did send any of my kids there. I usually chose a wide variety of day camps and other activities to fill their summer with fun. It was more exhausting to drive them places and to hunt for activities in the first place, but I was cautious about overnight camps, especially very large ones.

    Branson is indeed well known as a vacation destination in the central US. I’ve been there many times. It’s considered very family friendly. Any number of the many music and variety shows will have a Christian reference included. Some of the attractions are specifically for the Christian crowd, such as the Sight and Sound Theater with elaborate music and drama productions of Moses and Jonah. She me body referenced Dolly Parton’s theater, Dixie Stampede, with a dinner show featuring live horses. Alas, however; you are very unlikely to ever see Dolly herself there.

    I did permit my youngest child and only daughter to attend a couple times at the Brookhill Ranch Christian camp that Razorback Sally mentioned. I harbored no notions that it was “safer” because it was smaller and closer to home–she was able to bunk with a friend and I was just ready to loosen my reins a little for her.

    In my young and energetic college years, I worked as a summer counselor for a few small, non-Christian camps. I am well aware that if any “situations” arise, whether camper to camper or staff to camper, it’s anybody’s guess if any responsible counselor will be notified, if a camper will be believed, if a parent is informed, even if a “higher up” staff member is informed, much less law enforcement. Both the secular camps I worked at had protocols in place. And that was back in the ’80’s, before a lot of this abuse was widely talked about.

    One of my college sons chose to spend this summer working at a huge Christian summer camp in NW Arkansas–I was not impressed with a number of things, one of which is that camp staff didn’t inform some of the girls’ counsellors that they had been assigned a cabin of “troubled” girls. The poor counsellors had no idea how to deal with the heavy issues the campers brought with them. Sheesh, adults are hard pressed. My son wound up doing a little “counseling” of one or two of those counsellors, just to give them a listening ear and encouragement. I will not recommend that camp, either for campers or potential counsellors. I am picky. It was, however, a good experience for the Young Tree Sapling to see that all is not as it is advertised to be, not even in Christian circles.

  42. Amy Smith wrote:

    A few years ago I was contacted by the mother of one of Pete Newman’s victims. She writes a blog for survivors: https://kareforvictims.org/2014/03/13/an-open-letter-to-joe-white/

    Oh my gosh, this is heartbreaking, heartbreaking.

    Learning the truth was earth-shattering for us. It’s taken us time to process it and I’m sure it will take us much more time to work through it. We learned that half of our son’s childhood was a lie. He was harboring a secret. He was filled with shame. Half of his childhood!! Just think about how this impacted his adolescence and who he is today. Half of his childhood was stolen from him and from us. Kanakuk was supposed to be a happy place — a safe place. It was supposed to be a place that showed him God’d love. Not a place that showed him perversion. Not a place where his young mind and body were assaulted.

    I cried reading this. What is the matter with these people?

  43. “I feel that some people have a hard time with the truths around us, not only the sexual abuse by priests, but all bad things. I call it chosen ignorance. This modified form of ignorance is found in people who, if confronted with certain truths realize that they have to accept them and thereby acknowledge evil, and that scares them. Opening up and letting the truth in might knock them off their perceived center. It is too hard, period.” ― Charles L. Bailey Jr., In the Shadow of the Cross link

    This just says it all. I think this is one reason child sexual predation is played down and people end up feeling empathy for molesters especially “Christian” ones. They don’t want to know the sordid long term details of what goes into the grooming process or the evil deeds. Add to that they tend to believe the molester (when caught) and how sorry they are. Add to that the kids have not only been molested but have gone through a psychological brain washing and twisting with undeveloped brains. They are perfect victims. And they might not be able to really process everything until well into adult years.

    We need to call it what it is: stealing a life for selfish perverted sexual gratification. It is pure evil.

    Finally one judge gets it. Few do. That is justice considering how hard it is to catch them. And it sends a message.

  44. @ Water lilly:

    I just went through something similar with a friend this summer. Her family has 1 foot in and 1 foot out of their long time church that has gone Neo Cal. The new YRR youth group leaders are very dictatorial. One of the new rules is no cell phones at camp. In the past they were allowed to take their cell phones but not have them out during the day. So the new rule concerned her for several reasons one of which she did not know the new volunteer youth leaders (seminary students) well at all. And this rule, coupled with some others seemed to send a message they wanted to isolate the kids. (She dis not realize the seminary trained youth leaders do not think she knows the true gospel ….which explained a lot) She was surprised at how many parents just went along.

    I just told her that I would never send mine to any camp without their phone in this day and time….knowing what I know. So they took theirs and snuck into the bathroom at night and texted her about their day. Good thing, too. One of them got sun poisoning and if the other kid had not texted her she was never informed by the ‘godly’ SBTS youth leaders. She drove 4 hours to get them. The kid had been throwing up the entire afternoon and was left alone in the room. Trust your kids to these ‘godly’ idiots? Never again.

  45. This camp, and it’s leaders, are clearly not following basic Christain principles, and we need to shout this from the highest mountaintop.

    siteseer wrote:

    In court documents filed in February 2013, Kanakuk says it will present testimony from expert witnesses that will cast doubt on the severity of the harm John Doe suffered as a 12-year-old sexual abuse victim.
    You know what? It has no bearing on the man’s crime and guilt!!
    How dare they. I mean, really, how dare they?
    Luke 17:2
    It is better for him if a millstone is hung around his neck and he is cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to stumble.
    News Flash: These guys obviously do not believe this. What else do they not believe? Do you think they believe in Christ yet don’t believe this one passage? They obviously do not care what it says nor do they think they will ever suffer these consequences. They are empty men, pursuing the almighty dollar, masquerading in sheep costumes, men without souls.
    Matthew 23:27
    “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you are like whitewashed tombs that look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and all kinds of filth.”
    There is no more blatant picture of filth than one who would victimize and seek to corrupt innocent, vulnerable children. There can be no excuse, no rationalization, no mitigating factors. How does anyone overlook this?
    I’ll tell you what. If I had young children and they’d been to any Christian activities, I would be paranoid. I would be spending time talking with them and seeking to ascertain if anything like this had happened to them or kids they know. I’ve read so many cases in the news now, I’d be paranoid to take my kids to church or have them involved in any Christian stuff. It’s just not worth the risk.

  46. I this specific, it appears Sandy Wilson was to concerned about church disciplining someone challenging him… Figures..

    mirele wrote:

    Dave (Eagle) wrote:
    Here this is up… Sandy Willson of Memphis Second Presbyterian Church was notified in November 2011 that there was am alleged sexual predator on staff. Sandy kicked the issue over to Richard Rieves. After all Sandy Willson had more pressing issues! He had to practice church discipline on a 35 year member Dr. Nan Hawkes and drive her from the congregation.
    https://wonderingeagle.wordpress.com/2016/08/31/sandy-willson-of-second-presbyterian-memphis-is-allegedly-notified-in-november-2011-that-a-sexual-predator-was-on-staff-at-downtown-presbyterian-church/#more-7415
    It just gets worse and worse. I don’t even think these powerful men ever think about the damage to “the least of these.”

  47. refugee wrote:

    I would go one further and say that it’s a popular vacation site for christians and conservative folks who like tradition. I’ve never been there, but I’ve heard descriptions of christianized shows and activities.

    Eh, yes and no. It does have christian themed shows (Jonah, as I mentioned above, and also Christmas stuff), but it has a lot of other acts too. Dixie stampede is popular. But people go because it’s pretty or to shop or because it’s close. I wouldn’t say it’s Christian themed. (I have been but not since I was a kid, and we went for silver dollar city-which is an amusement park).

  48. @ siteseer:

    I don’t get it. Who are the expert witnesses who can ascertain the damage done to a groomed and molested 12 year old? Where is the shame and remorse? The fact the camp is fighting this says a lot about them. They should close down. Stop paying lawyers and expert witnesses.

    On this issue there has to be zero tolerance. And if not dealt with properly their credibility ruined forever. Why isn’t this the case where such things have been found to go on so long with so many in positions of leadership knowing? Why do people keep supporting such places?

    There is a barbarian aspect to this. When groups play down their lack of protecting children and punishing those who harmed them, they are acknowledging their incapacity to care about protecting and defending the most vulnerable of society. Like barbarians, the most vulnerable are just collateral damage to them while protecting institutions and titles.

  49. Amen, and even Penn State cleaned house when it blew up… But not a “Christain” organization… Instead, lets further tear fiwn the victims to defefend ourselves… Yup, they really are modeling Christ..

    Lydia wrote:

    @ siteseer:

    I don’t get it. Who are the expert witnesses who can ascertain the damage done to a groomed and molested 12 year old? Where is the shame and remorse? The fact the camp is fighting this says a lot about them. They should close down. Stop paying lawyers and expert witnesses.

    On this issue there has to be zero tolerance. And if not dealt with properly their credibility ruined forever. Why isn’t this the case where such things have been found to go on so long with so many in positions of leadership knowing? Why do people keep supporting such places?

    There is a barbarian aspect to this. When groups play down their lack of protecting children and punishing those who harmed them, they are acknowledging their incapacity to care about protecting and defending the most vulnerable of society. Like barbarians, the most vulnerable are just collateral damage to them while protecting institutions and titles.

  50. Lydia wrote:

    This just says it all. I think this is one reason child sexual predation is played down and people end up feeling empathy for molesters especially “Christian” ones. They don’t want to know the sordid long term details of what goes into the grooming process or the evil deeds. Add to that they tend to believe the molester (when caught) and how sorry they are.

    As sex crimes attorney/advocate/author Andrew Vachss said, “They aren’t just sick but sickening.”

  51. @ Jeffrey Chalmers:
    I am at a loss when it comes to people in institutions looking the other way. Or people thinking we can bring “repentant” molester cons back into institutions. I just bang my head against the wall.

  52. In my opinion if you give pediphiles access to children knowing what they are or even if they act inappropriate sexually then they are the same in my eyes. Birds of a feather flock together. I don’t care if your a man or woman. And this busi about getting expert witnesses to downplay the boys trauma, that makes me want to smash their faces with my fist. Sorry but no one will truly ever know the impact of abuse on a child until it’s theirs and the parents live with watching their baby fall apart over it. Makes me sick!

  53. Lydia wrote:

    @ Jeffrey Chalmers:
    I am at a loss when it comes to people in institutions looking the other way. Or people thinking we can bring “repentant” molester cons back into institutions. I just bang my head against the wall.

    Same. I honestly cannot understand what motivates these people, unless it really is the protect men and “pastors” first. Because logic, reason, Christian love for the vulnerable and basic common sense all rebel against these actions!

    I’ve been thinking about the camps I went to as a teenager. I think they were all fine, but they were generally a bunch of people I knew well too. But I can easily see how stuff could happen and I guess stuff could have been going on I didn’t see. (I’m sure there were campers getting together in high school but that’s sort of normal)

  54. Just called camp kanuk the secretary stated it was 10 years ago and seemed to downplay the fact that it was 10 years ago. I guess if it happened awhile ago it doesn’t matter.

  55. Let me just say, we had a situation at an office I worked in where they found someone with child porn. He was fired and escorted off the premises that day. And we had nothing to do with children.

    Why can’t churches have as much sense?

  56. Jeffrey Chalmers wrote:

    it appears Sandy Wilson was to concerned about church disciplining someone challenging him… Figures..

    Not just a someone . . . A “female” doctor who had been a member of the church for 35 years.

  57. Lea wrote:

    Eh, yes and no. It does have christian themed shows (Jonah, as I mentioned above, and also Christmas stuff), but it has a lot of other acts too. Dixie stampede is popular. But people go because it’s pretty or to shop or because it’s close. I wouldn’t say it’s Christian themed. (I have been but not since I was a kid, and we went for silver dollar city-which is an amusement park).

    We spent a weekend in Branson back in ’06, when it was just getting started …. no Jonah there then. I saw the Dixie stampede, loved it, but I’m a horse person. The best part about the Dixie Stampede – back then, if you arrived early, you could walk around the stables and see the animals up close and personal. And, of course we hit the malls. I wouldn’t say it was Christian themed, either – just good clean fun for all ages.
    The only bad part: I missed the Oak Ridge boys by a week. That’s okay, I saw them at the Western Kentucky State Fair — 3rd row seat, front and center!

    More child sexual abuse in churches. Nah, I have to rein in my anger before I comment on that!

  58. Stan wrote:

    I’ve sat through youth ministry volunteer training with MinistrySafe, and they get it.

    I’ve posted the video here a few times of Greg Love’s talk at DTS. He does indeed get it. In fact, there is now so much info online to educate churches about sexual abuse that ministries have no excuse for being ignorant.

  59. Our informant, having heard about the Newman situation, questioned Bryan Loritts about Peter Newman’s position at the church. Loritts allegedly responded “It was just some skinny dipping thing.”

    I guess it comes down to, what did Bryan Loritts know and when did he know it? Did he really believe that because it’s what he’d been told by Joe White, or did he know more?

  60. marquis wrote:

    Just called camp kanuk the secretary stated it was 10 years ago and seemed to downplay the fact that it was 10 years ago. I guess if it happened awhile ago it doesn’t matter.

    Did she really say that? Can she not add and subtract? It’s been 7 years since the man worked there and less since his conviction. And isn’t there ongoing lawsuits? Is she lying on purpose?

  61. Nancy2 wrote:

    We spent a weekend in Branson back in ’06, when it was just getting started

    I went to branson in like 1990. It’s been around for a while.

    Bridget wrote:

    Not just a someone . . . A “female” doctor who had been a member of the church for 35 years.

    Reading through the articles posted at Eagle’s blog, it sounds like she wanted women Elders and her Gospel Coalition (because of course) pastor was all NOPE. I don’t’ know how the congregation as a whole felt.

    Do you get the feeling that keeping women out of power is WAY more important to these folks than protecting them or children? Cause I do.

  62. Lea wrote:

    Do you get the feeling that keeping women out of power is WAY more important to these folks than protecting them or children? Cause I do.

    The two nightmares are inter-connected.

    If WOMEN had a say, do you think things would be the same in neo-Cal ‘churches’?
    Imagine women screening someone hired to serve at the Church … the safety of their children would be their FIRST concern, which is as it should be.

  63. Christiane wrote:

    If WOMEN had a say, do you think things would be the same in neo-Cal ‘churches’?
    Imagine women screening someone hired to serve at the Church … the safety of their children would be their FIRST concern, which is as it should be.

    Not to mention they would probably disqualify half their leaders.

  64. Lea wrote:

    refugee wrote:

    Perhaps that’s what passes in those circles for christian sex education.

    The part about him telling them what sex with women was like because he was married now? So creepy.

    How does that place on the spectrum with Grinning Ed Young’s Seven-Day Sex Challenge from the pulpit, preacher-men parading their Smokin’ HAWT Trophy Wives before the Beta-to-Omega male pewsitters, and Purity Culture bribing boys to save themselves for marriage with promises of Constant Barn-Burning Swinging-from-the-Chandeliers Dynamite Married S*E*X starting the moment they say “I Do”? Fits right in.

  65. Lea wrote:

    Do you get the feeling that keeping women out of power is WAY more important to these folks than protecting them or children? Cause I do.

    Alpha Male/Herd Bull/Paterfamilias has absolute sexual rights over the entire Herd.

  66. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    Stan wrote:
    I’ve sat through youth ministry volunteer training with MinistrySafe, and they get it.
    I’ve posted the video here a few times of Greg Love’s talk at DTS. He does indeed get it. In fact, there is now so much info online to educate churches about sexual abuse that ministries have no excuse for being ignorant.

    +100

  67. ishy wrote:

    Christiane wrote:

    If WOMEN had a say, do you think things would be the same in neo-Cal ‘churches’?
    Imagine women screening someone hired to serve at the Church … the safety of their children would be their FIRST concern, which is as it should be.

    Not to mention they would probably disqualify half their leaders.

    And that cannot be permitted to happen.

  68. Bridget wrote:

    marquis wrote:

    Just called camp kanuk the secretary stated it was 10 years ago and seemed to downplay the fact that it was 10 years ago. I guess if it happened awhile ago it doesn’t matter.

    Did she really say that? Can she not add and subtract? It’s been 7 years since the man worked there and less since his conviction. And isn’t there ongoing lawsuits? Is she lying on purpose?

    CYA.
    Closing ranks against Those Heathens.

  69. Lea wrote:

    Do you get the feeling that keeping women out of power is WAY more important to these folks than protecting them or children? Cause I do.

    I think this is the logical end of their theology. They, as the men and leaders of the church, own the women and children to do with what they want.

    I also think that many Calvinista leaders believe that God is so with them and their election and awesome leadership that nothing bad could ever happen to them. And yet, over and over, we see this is not the case. Believing you are one of God’s special elect doesn’t make it so if you do not follow Jesus’ example. And Jesus had a rather scathing viewpoint on this issue, “..whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matt. 18:6)

  70. Dave (Eagle) wrote:

    Here this is up… Sandy Willson of Memphis Second Presbyterian Church was notified in November 2011 that there was am alleged sexual predator on staff. Sandy kicked the issue over to Richard Rieves. After all Sandy Willson had more pressing issues! He had to practice church discipline on a 35 year member Dr. Nan Hawkes and drive her from the congregation.

    Of course he had to.
    SHE UPPITY.

  71. “In response, Kanakuk filed their own motion in opposition to the amended petition.
    The motion in opposition cites applicable law, reading that, in Missouri, merely holding a corporate office does not subject one to personal liability for the misdeeds of the corporation.
    The document also reads that in order to make an officer of a corporation liable to a third person, something more must be shown than a mere act of nonfeasance on the part of the officer.
    According to the statement, nothing short of active participation in a positively wrongful act causing intended injury to the prejudice of the complaining party, will give rise to individual liability. To hold a corporate officer liable, he must have had actual, constructive knowledge of the actionable wrong and participated therein, the document states.
    Kanakuk’s opposition statement also states that the plaintiff alleges Kanakuk and those two officers, White and Cooper, failed to safeguard him, however, there is nothing in these allegations that should subject White or Cooper to personal, individual liability. The attempt to add these two corporate officers as additional defendants is not justified under the applicable law and would constitute needless duplication with respect to the plaintiff’s allegations.”

    Excerpt from: http://bransontrilakesnews.com/news_free/article_ed67d13e-98aa-11e2-af11-001a4bcf887a.html

    My condensed version: they said it’s okay to allow someone to abuse a child, as long as you don’t participate in the abuse. That is soooooo Christ-like. We should all strive to reach that level of God-likeness. (Sarcasm off)

  72. Many will say to Me on that day, didn’t we run Christian camps in your name, and publish books in your Name, and promote purity of doctrine and gender roles in your Name? And I will say to them, be gone from Me — I never knew you, workers of lawlessness.

    — Matt 7:22-23 (paraphrased)

  73. Lea wrote:

    I went to branson in like 1990. It’s been around for a while.

    Wow! There wasn’t much to it in ’06.

  74. ishy wrote:

    They, as the men and leaders of the church, own the women and children to do with what they want.

    Yes. So disturbing.

    Also, my church ordains women. They have women at all levels of leadership. It seems totally normal. Bless them, they pray for domestic violence victims in sunday church on a regular basis.

    Seeing this, I look back at all the churches I went to where this was not allowed and keep wondering what on earth were they afraid of here??!.

  75. siteseer wrote:

    Luke 17:2
    It is better for him if a millstone is hung around his neck and he is cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to stumble.

    Yeah, Jesus did say that. But that was long before they invented duct tape and bolt cutters.

  76. ishy wrote:

    many Calvinista leaders believe that God is so with them and their election and awesome leadership that nothing bad could ever happen to them

    Pride. It’s all pride. They actually believe they can tell who is elect! Just, because. Crazy.

  77. Nancy2 wrote:

    Lea wrote:
    I went to branson in like 1990. It’s been around for a while.

    Wow! There wasn’t much to it in ’06.

    They have built it up a lot more since then I understand. We mostly went to the amusement park, which has been there since 1960, according to wiki. The next year, we started going to dallas instead 🙂

  78. Lea wrote:

    Pride. It’s all pride. They actually believe they can tell who is elect! Just, because. Crazy.

    time to stop trusting in these clowns who preach that they KNOW who ‘is saved’ or who ‘is a real Christian’

    What was ever wrong with trusting in Jesus Christ ?
    When did that go by? When did the simple trusting in Our Lord become obsolete?

    Too many want a big show of everything, with ‘celebrities’ and entertaining music. . . .
    but how does God doesn’t meet with them there when He has said,
    ‘Be still and know that I am God’?

  79. @ ishy:
    What I came to see (up close and personal) is that they have convinced themselves (due to their success in their little kingdoms) that their ministry/message is blessed by God and nothing can be allowed to stain that.

    There is a lot of mega ego involved. And sadly, the followers have to share in the responsibility of creating and maintaining these monsters and their protectors.

  80. Christiane wrote:

    but how does God doesn’t meet with them there when He has said,
    ‘Be still and know that I am God’?

    should be:
    But how does God meet with them there when He has said “Be still, and know that I am God” ?

  81. Dave (Eagle) wrote:

    Sandy Willson of Memphis Second Presbyterian Church was notified in November 2011 that there was am alleged sexual predator on staff. Sandy kicked the issue over to Richard Rieves. After all Sandy Willson had more pressing issues! He had to practice church discipline on a 35 year member Dr. Nan Hawkes and drive her from the congregation.

    Oh my goodness. When I first got divorced I considered joining Second Pres. There was something that felt off about it so I stopped going there. Dave, did you know that Dr. Hawkes is a neuropsychologist? When she called Sandy Wilson a narcissist, that was presumably a diagnosis, not merely name-calling. No wonder he got so angry.

    The conservative, Christian community is very small in this city, and I was once very heavily involved in it. I went to church on Sunday for the first time in a couple of years. This denomination is different from the type of church I’ve been to in the past.

  82. Elizabeth Lee wrote:

    Dave, did you know that Dr. Hawkes is a neuropsychologist? When she called Sandy Wilson a narcissist, that was presumably a diagnosis, not merely name-calling. No wonder he got so angry.

    Oh wow!

  83. Elizabeth Lee wrote:

    Dave, did you know that Dr. Hawkes is a neuropsychologist? When she called Sandy Wilson a narcissist, that was presumably a diagnosis, not merely name-calling. No wonder he got so angry.

    Oooh. Good point. And we know there is a higher percentage of narcissist pastors than the general pop, right?

    She also wanted female elders. STONE THE WITCH!

  84. @ Elizabeth Lee:

    One more thing in one of the articles, another lady was asked to stop being in the choir because she wrote a letter to the church in support of her friend.

  85. Christiane wrote:

    But how does God meet with them there when He has said “Be still, and know that I am God” ?

    The baptist church of my earliest years had a quote from the bible carved over the doors between the vestibule/narthex and the ‘church’/nave. It read: “The Lord is in his holy temple, let all the earth keep silent before Him’. At the time that was taken seriously by the parents, mine included, and once one went past that second set of doors one was quiet. As a chid I was awed by the idea that God might actually be there. Regardless of the theology behind that idea and the opposition to that idea. Fast forward. The episcopal parish where I/we are now has a small sign at those doors which says that the sacrament is reserved in this parish and that people need to behave accordingly (words to that effect). Again, never mind the theology behind that idea and the opposition to that idea. We are reverent in that place. I love that.

    Whatever happened to reverence?

  86. @ BeenThereDoneThat:
    I am trying to wrap my head around this “Christian lawyer” who claims to be a victim advocate. He said he refuses to sue the “body of Christ” but “bring the Watchtower on”. Huh?

    So JW victims are worthy to represent in a lawsuit but victims in a Christian Church, aren’t? How does he decide what is a body of Christ and what isn’t? Titles? Name on the Marquis?

    I find him bizarre and chilling.

  87. Christiane wrote:

    But how does God meet with them there when He has said “Be still, and know that I am God” ?

    That’s a verse Joel Olsteen uses repeatedly!

  88. Lydia wrote:

    I am trying to wrap my head around this “Christian lawyer” who claims to be a victim advocate. He said he refuses to sue the “body of Christ” but “bring the Watchtower on”. Huh?

    Women and children are obviously not part of the “body”.

  89. okrapod wrote:

    The baptist church of my earliest years had a quote from the bible carved over the doors between the vestibule/narthex and the ‘church’/nave. It read: “The Lord is in his holy temple, let all the earth keep silent before Him’. At the time that was taken seriously by the parents, mine included, and once one went past that second set of doors one was quiet. As a chid I was awed by the idea that God might actually be there.

    What a beautiful description. I think that the Church of my Southern Baptist grandmother must have been similar, as she was someone who reflected on the goodness of God and lived her life accordingly.

    I suppose the old people miss a lot more than just their hymns, OKRAPOD. I feel sad for them.

  90. Lydia wrote:

    I find him bizarre and chilling.

    I don’t.

    He says he won’t sue the church, because he would find it uncomfortable to explain to Jesus how he took the church’s money and gave Him back 10%. I can respect that. Instead, he feels called to raise awareness of sexual abuse in the church and help equip it. In all other cases where a church isn’t involved, he has no problem suing.

  91. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    He says he won’t sue the church, because he would find it uncomfortable to explain to Jesus how he took the church’s money and gave Him back 10%.

    Hm. The problem is that some organizations will NOT do the right thing until they know it will cost them. So although I’m certainly not sue happy, I think sometimes it is literally the only option to hold people accountable. But, are you are ultimately taking the money from the ‘bad guys’ or someone else? That’s sort of the question to me.

    But then again, if he’s a ‘crisis response’ person for churches who have had a problem, who is he ultimately helping?

    I do respect that he’s trying to teach the church that a risk even exists.

  92. @ BeenThereDoneThat:
    I don’t get it. He ends up protecting a non profit institution that he thinks is automatically the body of Christ yet has no problem suing JW’s ….and did I understand the Catholic Church? He was not real clear. I get trying to weed them out on the front end and that is good but we are dealing with master cons.

    I don’t view him a victim advocate at all but a protector of “some” institutions after abuse had occurred. Give me an atheist junkyard dog lawyer at that point. :o)

  93. Lea wrote:

    But then again, if he’s a ‘crisis response’ person for churches who have had a problem, who is he ultimately helping?

    He and his wife are sexual abuse trial lawyers. They have no problem suing on behalf of victims. He does have a conviction about suing churches. I don’t see that as a problem per se. (I’d also have no problem suing a church into oblivion if their negligence caused my child harm.) Their approach to the church is prevention.

  94. If it weren’t so ludicrous it would almost be funny. Had Newman been caught in a sexual relationship with another consenting adult in his own age group, he’d have been removed from his position as camp counselor and probably shamed and pariahed out of his church to boot. Fellowship Memphis wouldn’t have touched him with a ten-foot pole, much less hired him on staff.
    It truly is a strange religion; bizarrely skewed and with virtually no connection to everyday sane and practical reality.

  95. @ Lea:
    This sort of reminds me of what I saw happen with the sexual harassment industry years ago. Companies sent people to training to show insurance companies they took it seriously. Then law firms got in on the action. It ended up being a way to pay out lower settlements and/or avoid responsibility in law suits.

  96. Lydia wrote:

    I get trying to weed them out on the front end and that is good but we are dealing with master cons.

    I agree with them being master cons. I have yet to hear anyone else lay out how inadequate most church’s policies are for protecting kids, and why. He offers something far more comprehensive than any other protection policy I’ve ever seen or heard of.

  97. Christiane wrote:

    There is apparently such a thing a being a ‘paedophile by proxy’, deriving a sense of power and control through the activities of predators on one’s staff, if the ‘leadership’ was aware, enabling, then hiding, excusing the predator, and blaming and intimidating the victims.

    And Predators have the JUICIEST testimonies!

    I keep wondering if the “leadership” in such cases may be pedophiliac themselves but don’t dare act it out, so they get their rocks off by listening to the JUICY testimonies of those who DO. (Like that therapist in South Park‘s “Children of the Corn/Lord of the Flies” episode.)

  98. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    He says he won’t sue the church, because he would find it uncomfortable to explain to Jesus how he took the church’s money and gave Him back 10%. I can respect that.

    I can’t respect that at all. He is not advocating for the victims in a church (his personal definition of what Church is, I might add) case. He has no problem taking money from the Church for his own pockets when training them, just not when it comes to getting money for actual victim??

  99. I think the Church NEEDS to be sued.

    It’s important that the Church be held accountable because it will mean change;
    if being sued is what it takes to make the Church more careful of its lambs, then let it be done.

    Being held accountable ….. no amount of money will EVER be enough and we know this;
    but counseling can be paid for, and other help provided for victims.

    In time, the Good Lord will administer justice with a wisdom higher than we would be able to accomplish within our human understanding.

    But in the meantime, if the Church needs to be sued, for its own sake, I can see this as a temporary justice of sorts, yes. AND I can see this as a definite ‘wake-up’ call to ‘churches’ where men have ‘played church’, taken money from people, lorded their power and control over these people, and allowed their children to be abused by their ‘buddies’. Yes, by all means, sue the bastardz.

  100. okrapod wrote:

    The baptist church of my earliest years had a quote from the bible carved over the doors between the vestibule/narthex and the ‘church’/nave. It read: “The Lord is in his holy temple, let all the earth keep silent before Him’.

    Is that the source of the classic hymn “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent”?

  101. Lea wrote:

    @ Elizabeth Lee:

    One more thing in one of the articles, another lady was asked to stop being in the choir because she wrote a letter to the church in support of her friend.

    SHE GOT UPPITY.

  102. Lydia wrote:

    @ ishy:
    What I came to see (up close and personal) is that they have convinced themselves (due to their success in their little kingdoms) that their ministry/message is blessed by God and nothing can be allowed to stain that.
    There is a lot of mega ego involved. And sadly, the followers have to share in the responsibility of creating and maintaining these monsters and their protectors.

    I knew a lot of them in seminary. They believed this way before they ever had a ministry, but they did have men in the church and pastors grooming them and telling them that a call from God meant they would do “great things”. Honestly, people told me the same thing, too, about being a missionary, even without knowing me.

    I’ve always been skeptical about things people say, so I chuffed at people who insisted that they had a call so I had to listen to them. But sadly, there’s a lot of people that will listen just because that person insists on being called to ministry.

  103. @ Bridget:

    PS – I guess he wouldn’t have clientel to train and make a salary from if he had a reputation for suing on behalf of victims. It’s about the money and reputation in his little Christian circle . . .

  104. okrapod wrote:

    The episcopal parish where I/we are now has a small sign at those doors which says that the sacrament is reserved in this parish

    What does that mean in plain English, please?

    Curious, and from the tone of your comment, it doesn’t sound like the same thing as a “closed table” where only members of that particular church are welcome to take communion.

  105. Lea wrote:

    Also, my church ordains women. They have women at all levels of leadership. It seems totally normal. Bless them, they pray for domestic violence victims in sunday church on a regular basis.

    Seeing this, I look back at all the churches I went to where this was not allowed and keep wondering what on earth were they afraid of here??!.

    A threat to their wee wee winkies.

  106. Lea wrote:

    Do you get the feeling that keeping women out of power is WAY more important to these folks than protecting them or children? Cause I do.

    Yep. I do too.

  107. Bridget wrote:

    I guess he wouldn’t have clientel to train and make a salary from if he had a reputation for suing on behalf of victims.

    Is there a shortage of lawyers who will sue on behalf of victims? How many other knowledgeable people, besides Boz Tchividjian, are having an impact raising awareness about this problem in churches?

  108. refugee wrote:

    Lea wrote:
    Branson is a popular vacation site.

    I would go one further and say that it’s a popular vacation site for christians and conservative folks who like tradition. I’ve never been there, but I’ve heard descriptions of christianized shows and activities.

    The Simpsons was right!

    “Branson, Missouri. It’s what Las Vegas would be if Ned Flanders was running it.”

  109. dee wrote:

    nwhiker

    Bryan Loritts was not the voyeur. He was the pastor who allegedly kept thing on the down low.

    Hard to tell who’s who and who did what with so many of these clowns milling around scratching each others’ backs…

  110. Same with me

    Bridget wrote:

    Lea wrote:
    Do you get the feeling that keeping women out of power is WAY more important to these folks than protecting them or children? Cause I do.
    Yep. I do too.

  111. Amy Smith wrote:

    Max wrote:

    Our local news this week reported on a Baptist church music minister sentenced to 30 years in Federal prison for sexual exploitation of minors, including child pornography. And we wonder why the “Done” ranks are swelling?

    Do you have a news link for that story? What is that pastor’s name? Thanks.

    I second that. It’s public record, and that pastor needs to “get famous”.

  112. mirele wrote:

    It just gets worse and worse. I don’t even think these powerful men ever think about the damage to “the least of these.”

    When do Highborn ever “think about the damage to those Lowborn”?

  113. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    I keep wondering if the “leadership” in such cases may be pedophiliac themselves but don’t dare act it out, so they get their rocks off by listening to the JUICY testimonies of those who DO. (Like that therapist in South Park‘s “Children of the Corn/Lord of the Flies” episode.)

    Under the circumstances, all things considered, HEADLESS, the evidence points in that direction yes.
    The male ‘buddy-system’ seems to be forged in such a way that ‘tolerance’ for the presence of an abuser is much greater among these ‘male-headship’ idolators. And if that ‘tolerance’ is not a clue to how it can be that ‘knowing’ someone is a predator or likely is a predator is trumped by a bond stronger than honor or common sense. I don’t doubt that ‘male headship’, ‘submission of women’, the ‘buddy system’ and ‘looking the other way’ are all products of some greater issue, and that there is a darker side to that issue than has been explored.

  114. Jack wrote:

    My wife came home early from church last week, apparently the sermon was quite graphic about appropriate sex between a man & a woman.

    I suspect pastor was either bragging or indulging his sexual fantasies in a Respectable form.

  115. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    dee wrote:
    nwhiker
    Bryan Loritts was not the voyeur. He was the pastor who allegedly kept thing on the down low.
    Hard to tell who’s who and who did what with so many of these clowns milling around scratching each others’ backs…

    It is hard to tell, for sure. What ever happened to Eph. 5:3? Even though our old church considered the NIV the devil’s work, I like the way its translators put it: But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.

    Our old church used the “let it not even be named among you” version — and the cynical part of me is thinking that these so-called leaders are following the letter of that law, and definitely not the spirit.

  116. refugee wrote:

    Our old church used the “let it not even be named among you” version — and the cynical part of me is thinking that these so-called leaders are following the letter of that law, and definitely not the spirit.

    For all their claims of being more ‘biblical’ than everyone else, they sure leave out large portions of the Bible. I don’t think they are a biblical movement at all, but just use the Bible as a way to get gullible Christians to join.

  117. Bridget wrote:

    I can’t respect that at all.

    Perhaps I’m just used to Christian lawyers who don’t offer some services based on their convictions. I know a few lawyers (with Anabaptist leanings) who won’t represent someone in a trial suit. They will, however, mediate.

  118. @ refugee:
    REFUGEE,
    I can’t answer for Okrapod, but likely ‘the sacrament is reserved’ means that the Real Presence is within the sanctuary.

    In my own Church, this is indicated by a lampstand with a lit candle inside of red glass. Usually, the Real Presence is within a side chapel in a parish Church, and people can come in throughout the day and night and pray in that chapel. It does help for those going through the grieving process to ‘visit’ from time to time and sit quietly. It’s peaceful.

  119. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    Lydia wrote:

    I get trying to weed them out on the front end and that is good but we are dealing with master cons.

    I agree with them being master cons. I have yet to hear anyone else lay out how inadequate most church’s policies are for protecting kids, and why. He offers something far more comprehensive than any other protection policy I’ve ever seen or heard of.

    Suing policy aside, I thought his information for churches was very good.

    The only caveat was that part of the reason you make sure you are giving the right kid to the right person has to do with things like custody disputes where the father (or mother) who doesn’t have custody will kidnap the child. At least that is what I heard from someone.

  120. I found out a year or two ago that my best friend from my childhood was sexually abused by our pastor. It happened at a bible camp. It affects him to this day. For lawyers to suggest that a child in this story is exaggerating the trauma he has went through is repulsive.

    You can listen to the audio of my friend’s story at the link below. It is quite brief, but moving.
    https://thouarttheman.org/2016/08/12/4602/

    My daughter now preaches at an Evangelical Covenant church, the denomination this evil man belonged to. My daughter has forwarded this link to many of her colleagues; I hope it will open eyes and help prevent sexual abuse.

  121. Muff Potter wrote:

    If it weren’t so ludicrous it would almost be funny. Had Newman been caught in a sexual relationship with another consenting adult in his own age group, he’d have been removed from his position as camp counselor and probably shamed and pariahed out of his church to boot. Fellowship Memphis wouldn’t have touched him with a ten-foot pole, much less hired him on staff.
    It truly is a strange religion; bizarrely skewed and with virtually no connection to everyday sane and practical reality.

    I hear you. And because his sexual desires were for children . . . no big deal!?!?

  122. Lydia wrote:

    She was surprised at how many parents just went along.

    It is another part of the christian industrial complex, we are expected to trust everyone working in the system. If we question, then we are labeled not trusting and that is one of the deadly sins. Skepticism is another of the deadly sins in the authoritarian church.

  123. Just a slightly different perspective:
    First: I have never commented but I read this blog frequently. Thank you, ladies for your hard work.

    Second: I am commenting only to add some insight to the discussion. I knew Pete from Auburn. We were both students there and socialized in the same circles. I have had a calling towards Student Ministry for many years and volunteered alongside Pete at the local Methodist Church. When I received the phone call in ’09 from a mutual friend about what Pete had done, I was in total shock. I cried. I had a very hard time believing any of it.
    Before that conversation I would have considered Pete to be one of few examples of what “living out the faith” looked like. Pete was one of the most passionate, enthusiastic and sincere (seeming) believers I had ever met. To say his affect was hypnotic, would be an understatement. Pete was what a Christian should look like.
    I say all of this, not to excuse those that turned a blind eye, but to provide some shading to what is easily drawn as a black and white picture several years later. I am not surprised that anyone (especially those that lean towards giving the benefit of the doubt) would have downplayed the seriousness of what Pete had done.
    It is still hard for me to wrap my head around the idea that he is capable of the heinous acts that he committed, and would do that kind of damage to these boys. However, it is because of Pete, that I have developed a worldview that acknowledges the power of sin and that no one is immune to the influence of the flesh. I pray frequently for Pete’s victims’ healing, and that Pete remains in jail while here on earth.

  124. @ Lydia:
    I am sorry for being so cynical! Back in my seeker megas days I knew attorneys (some in my family) who made money keeping those church lawsuits from ever going anywhere. So I am probably too well aware of how this plays out for those trying to be heard. We never hear about it from that end of things.

    So this lawyer claims victim advocacy yet is paid by churches on the front end and the church can use his law firms “Victim Advocacy” status as a way to reduce settlement and or lawsuits in the future if a predators slips in. It’s like the sexual harassment protection racket.

    If I were in Texas, I would want to know what churches have paid for him to train or speak.

    One reason I don’t trust him is because he thinks it’s a sin to sue the body of Christ (which, in Scripture he is referencing, is people not a non profit status institution) when the scriptures clarify not suing for “trivial” matters.

    And because I know lawyers like this….and I am skeptical.

  125. @ BeenThereDoneThat:
    It is not easy at all to find lawyers who will sue religious organizations. It is practically impossible and they know it. And it would not have happened to the Catholic church if not for the Boston Globe team.

  126. All this presumes that leadership in a church cares a flying fig about the people in the pews. Nope, we are tithing units and the enemy.

    If you don’t believe that read Thom Raner this time about 15 reasons pastors should not visit.

  127. Brian wrote:

    It is still hard for me to wrap my head around the idea that he is capable of the heinous acts that he committed, and would do that kind of damage to these boys.

    However, it is because of Pete, that I have developed a worldview that acknowledges the power of sin and that no one is immune to the influence of the flesh.

    What an awful thing to have been so wrong about someone and find out they were not who you thought.

    I do think you are drawing the wrong conclusion here. The problem is not that ‘no one is immune’ (although certainly none of us are perfect). The problem is that people who abuse in such a fashion are SKILLED liars! They fool everyone. It is hard to believe we were fooled. Our pride rebels. I have had some experience with this recently.

    Brian wrote:

    To say his affect was hypnotic, would be an understatement. Pete was what a Christian should look like.

    Maybe we should really rethink that idea.

  128. refugee wrote:

    What does that mean in plain English, please?
    Curious, and from the tone of your comment, it doesn’t sound like the same thing as a “closed table” where only members of that particular church are welcome to take communion.

    Plain English. I will try. Christianne is a catholic and I am an episcopalian and our beliefs about the Lord’s Supper aka communion aka Holy Eucharist are similar but not identical in all aspects.

    We/I believe that the Eucharist is a sacrament, not just an ordinance, and we believe that the Lord is really present in the Eucharist. This is called ‘the Real Presence.’ We do not officially believe in transubstantiation, a catholic doctrine, to explain the Real presence, but some episcopalians do believe that, or so I understand. We think that during the liturgy of the altar, the bread and the wine become consecrated and after that point one should think and act in the light of the Real Presence in the Sacrament. Not that God is not always present everywhere. He is. But here is something which Jesus himself inaugurated and the Presence is understood differently in the Sacrament than if the doctrine of the omnipresence of God. The issue being ‘this is my body..blood’ and what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.

    So, then we participate in receiving the Eucharist. The verb ‘receive’ is used and it is often used in some sentence that does not go ahead and explain ‘receive what’ but it is just assumed that is one ‘receives’ at mass it means the Eucharist. We believe that a valid receiving of the Eucharist can be done with merely the bread or the wine or with both the bread and wine, preference being both. The requirements for receiving the Sacrament are (1) one must be a baptized christian and (2) one must have confessed and repented of known sin. There is a part of the ritual which includes the prayer of confession and the pronouncement of absolution by the priest. The idea being that if you have confessed your sins and repented and asked God for forgiveness then you are forgiven by God.

    After the formal Eucharist the unused wine can either be consumed by the priest and the lay eucharistic ministers or else it can be poured down a special drain directly into the earth, the idea being that consecrated wine is the blood of Christ and he already poured out his blood on the ground at calvary. We do not pour into into the sewer system. The unused bread (wafer) is then put into a special box called the sanctuary. At this point, and as long as there is the eucharistic Body of Christ present one is expected to remember that one is in the sacramental presence of God and behave accordingly. Bowing when one passes before the alter where the Sacrament is reserved (kept) is customary.

    I know that can be confusing, but I have tried to explain it. As to what we mean by the Real Presence, let me refer you to google, since it is complicated. In the meantime suffice it to say that Real means real and Presence means presence. This is not entirely alien to non-sacramental thinking since do we not all experience the presence of God in prayer usually more than on the golf course. And do we not invoke the presence of the Spirit under various circumstances. This is just one more idea of presence, that being sacramental presence.

  129. @ Lydia:
    That curmudgeonly low paid lawyer who was representing poor victims all those years before the Boston Globe story deserves extra crowns in heaven. A rare man.

  130. I wish to thank again all of those who have websites and our choosing to shed light on these “church” scandals. We are instructed to expose the evil that lies in the shadows. We should never forget that we live in the middle of a spiritual war where there are no cease fires. There are powers that are ancient and evil that we cannot see that lie behind the scandals that we can. Jesus did not mince words. If you believe his words, they tell you to not judge superficially, by the image that is projected. But by the fruit that is produced.
    There is a false “Church” today in this world. It is nothing new, it has been around since the early days of the first church. It is led by false teachers and false prophets (or profits.) It cannot be discerned by externals so much (as the theology it claims to hold, or denomination it belongs to) as it is discerned by what it actually produces over time. The real church following the real Jesus produces disciples who grow in the FRUIT of the spirit, not the mere knowledge of some religious system. Real leaders are humble and they are transparent. They take responsibility when they screw up. They promote Jesus, not their own brand. They live their life in a way to show that they despise Mammon as their example. They are unfortunately few around us.
    If we practice Jesus teaching, then we will judge leaders and their churches by what is actually produced. If they are doing stupid things and then make excuses for not making wise decisions, they are of the false church, regardless of who or what they loudly proclaim. If they cover up scandal to protect their damned reputations then they are false. Please do not make the mistake of assuming that either all “Christian pastors” are good or that they all are evil. There always has been a small percentage that are good and a larger percentage that are not. We should not be surprised about any of this because, again, Jesus warned us before hand. So did the Apostle Paul. There are tares out there. There are goats. There are wolves in sheep’s clothing. That is why they both told us to be diligent. We must fight the good fight. Life is a minefield. Not everything labeled “church” is promoting the Truth. These scandals testify to this reality. Jesus is powerful to produce life in his true followers. Satan is powerful to produce every kind of vice, greed and scandal in those who are deceived. The proof is in the fruit.

  131. Lydia wrote:

    And because I know lawyers like this….and I am skeptical.

    I don’t think you’re wrong for being skeptical. I think it’s a healthy barrier against abuse. I just don’t see his decision to not sue churches as nefarious.

    Also, Greg Love was interviewed on WFAA’s broadcast about my former church. He said that communities where information stays on the inside and situations are handled in-house puts children at risk. He was certainly right about that.

  132. Brian wrote:

    I say all of this, not to excuse those that turned a blind eye, but to provide some shading to what is easily drawn as a black and white picture several years later. I am not surprised that anyone (especially those that lean towards giving the benefit of the doubt) would have downplayed the seriousness of what Pete had done.

    Anybody who is riding around Kamp on ATVs in the nude has a serious problem. The same goes for all of the reports of nude Bible studies, etc. Those indents alone revealed that something perverted was going on. I’m afraid I do not give a pass for any adult who knew about this activity and blew it off.

    Also, Joe White and cohorts must have read books and manuals on how to prevent sexual abuse in their enterprise since they are dealing with kids. Those items would have spelled out how pedophiles are dangerous because they are charismatic and know how to get kids and adults to trust them. If White had not read any of this easily available information, then he had not business being in the business of “camp.”

    Brian wrote:

    that I have developed a worldview that acknowledges the power of sin and that no one is immune to the influence of the flesh.

    If you keep this perspective, you will be an asset to churches and parachurch organizations. I wrote a post Your Pastor Is a Sinner which discusses this very thing.

    It is my hope that Kanakuk be successfully sued for their lack of diligence with the lives of children. A message needs to be sent so that more children are not abused.a

  133. Lydia wrote:

    It is not easy at all to find lawyers who will sue religious organizations

    Yet, according to one website, “lawsuits against churches have increased over 2,000 percent since 1992.”

    Of course, if a church in a particular area has the PD, and judges in their pocket, then it will be challenging. Believe me, I know.

  134. So, my kids have attended a Christian summer camp (not this one) for years. A while back, there was a male counselor who allowed his cabin of boys to horse around in the cabin while naked. The day the camp director found out, both counselors from that cabin were told to pack their bags and leave, and all of the parents of kids in the cabin were informed. There was no sexual abuse that we knew of, but it was childish, inappropriate, ill-advised, and crossed a line that the camp was not willing to tolerate.

  135. Lydia wrote:

    There is a barbarian aspect to this. When groups play down their lack of protecting children and punishing those who harmed them, they are acknowledging their incapacity to care about protecting and defending the most vulnerable of society. Like barbarians, the most vulnerable are just collateral damage to them while protecting institutions and titles.

    And I do wonder how many of these people call themselves “pro-life.” There’s a difference between being anti-abortion and pro-life: you have to actually care for and about those who have been born *in addition to* those who haven’t.

  136. What you wrote below shows how these kinds of people get into the positions they do! If they came across as perverts, they would not get the trust they do. How did Berny Madoff get the trust of all of his investors, or other finical con artist? That is how the name “con artist” was coined.. “confidence trick” or “confidence artist”

    Brian wrote:

    Just a slightly different perspective:
    First: I have never commented but I read this blog frequently. Thank you, ladies for your hard work.
    Second: I am commenting only to add some insight to the discussion. I knew Pete from Auburn. We were both students there and socialized in the same circles. I have had a calling towards Student Ministry for many years and volunteered alongside Pete at the local Methodist Church. When I received the phone call in ’09 from a mutual friend about what Pete had done, I was in total shock. I cried. I had a very hard time believing any of it.
    Before that conversation I would have considered Pete to be one of few examples of what “living out the faith” looked like. Pete was one of the most passionate, enthusiastic and sincere (seeming) believers I had ever met. To say his affect was hypnotic, would be an understatement. Pete was what a Christian should look like.
    I say all of this, not to excuse those that turned a blind eye, but to provide some shading to what is easily drawn as a black and white picture several years later. I am not surprised that anyone (especially those that lean towards giving the benefit of the doubt) would have downplayed the seriousness of what Pete had done.
    It is still hard for me to wrap my head around the idea that he is capable of the heinous acts that he committed, and would do that kind of damage to these boys. However, it is because of Pete, that I have developed a worldview that acknowledges the power of sin and that no one is immune to the influence of the flesh. I pray frequently for Pete’s victims’ healing, and that Pete remains in jail while here on earth.

  137. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    Believe me, I know.

    Some former members of my “church” filed suit against them a few years ago. The lawyer filed it in federal court in a different city (so I was told) because too many local authorities and officials think this “church” is God’s gift to the community. I haven’t heard any more about it. I don’t even know that it wasn’t dismissed. So, yes, I can relate to Garabedian’s plight in Boston.

  138. Persephone wrote:

    There’s a difference between being anti-abortion and pro-life: you have to actually care for and about those who have been born *in addition to* those who haven’t.

    AMEN

    the give-away to the phonies is they shut down the minute saving children costs something or asks something from them;

    ‘life’ is supposedly precious to all Christian people from conception to natural death; but that is not what the world sees among ‘Christians’, no;
    and that is a problem for our witness

    the ‘right to lifers’ who used this for political purposes but didn’t commit to it fully, come off as hypocritical to say the least . . . I have a word for the politicians who have ‘used’ the issue to their advantage, but I assure everyone it is not ‘Christian’ and it is not printable

  139. NJ wrote:

    I guess it comes down to, what did Bryan Loritts know and when did he know it? Did he really believe that because it’s what he’d been told by Joe White, or did he know more?

    It reminds me of that whole exchange with Thabiti Anywabile where he refused to think about or look into the allegations against C J Mahaney. Fingers in the ears, “la la la la la la” If I don’t know, I don’t have to deal with it.

  140. Lea wrote:

    Do you get the feeling that keeping women out of power is WAY more important to these folks than protecting them or children? Cause I do.

    Yup.

  141. Brian wrote:

    Pete was one of the most passionate, enthusiastic and sincere (seeming) believers I had ever met. To say his affect was hypnotic, would be an understatement.

    As a woman who divorced a narcissist….those are the people to avoid.

  142. ishy wrote:

    I knew a lot of them in seminary. They believed this way before they ever had a ministry, but they did have men in the church and pastors grooming them and telling them that a call from God meant they would do “great things”.

    Ugh, I have seen this ruin a person. It’s like it divorces the person from their actual training or efforts- it doesn’t matter what they do or what kind of person they actually are- they are guaranteed success because of magical thinking. And what a form of entitlement! It really goes to a person’s head and I think makes them more inclined to ignore problems that come up or advice that conflicts with what they want to do.

  143. Bridget wrote:

    I hear you. And because his sexual desires were for children . . . no big deal!?!?

    Well… in a word yeah. These folks are not far from where they sat a three year old girl down across from her abuser and exhorted her to ‘forgive him’ because she’s a ‘sinner’ too. It beggars the mind, it really does.

  144. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    The Simpsons was right!

    “Branson, Missouri. It’s what Las Vegas would be if Ned Flanders was running it.”

    I had always got the impression it is a popular Mormon hangout?

  145. Not that it matters, but we went to Silver Dollar City some half a century ago and before the whole Branson thing got to be what it apparently is now. I thought it was delightful and I did not see anything particularly religious about it at the time. But maybe I missed it. because I was somewhere in the process of incubating my second child and I threw up about every hour or so. Such is life sometimes.

  146. Brian wrote:

    When I received the phone call in ’09 from a mutual friend about what Pete had done, I was in total shock. I cried. I had a very hard time believing any of it.
    Before that conversation I would have considered Pete to be one of few examples of what “living out the faith” looked like. Pete was one of the most passionate, enthusiastic and sincere (seeming) believers I had ever met. To say his affect was hypnotic, would be an understatement. Pete was what a Christian should look like.

    Thank you for adding your perspective, Brian. It doesn’t surprise me to hear this. In fact, I’ve heard this scenario play out so many times that I am very suspicious of people who seem to have everything together so well- too well.

    Normal people do not have a hypnotic affect, they do not seem to be the pinnacle of what a Christian should be. They are just normal people. When someone comes across as so special, as so amazing and spiritual, beware.

    Those who have evil to hide are very, very good at hiding it. They develop their act from the time they are children. They know what people want to see. They know what persona will put them beyond being doubted or questioned. They flatter and groom- not just their victims but everyone. Brian- you were groomed to think about this man the way you did.

    It’s much easier to see this for what it is once you have known someone like this, once you’ve seen behind the mask.

    Christians tend to be trusting and gullible people and they are easy for deceivers to groom. They *want* to believe that there are people who stand head and shoulders above the rest, spiritually. They want to have heroes. They tend to be very unrealistic about people. They also tend to avoid thinking about or looking at troubling things (see no evil-hear no evil-speak no evil). They *keep* themselves ignorant and gullible. They *make* themselves useful to deceivers.

    When a Christian has an encounter with a person like Newman, they have come to a crossroads. They can either open their eyes at that point and learn about reality, or they can close them, turn away, refuse to acknowledge their part in enabling a deception. Far too many choose the second way.

    We must do better.

    It is still hard for me to wrap my head around the idea that he is capable of the heinous acts that he committed, and would do that kind of damage to these boys. However, it is because of Pete, that I have developed a worldview that acknowledges the power of sin and that no one is immune to the influence of the flesh. I pray frequently for Pete’s victims’ healing, and that Pete remains in jail while here on earth.

    Brian, you are partially getting it but not completely. The use of the word “sin” in terms of this pedophile doesn’t go far enough. Yes, we can all fall into sin, we can all be deceived by sin. But we cannot all become pedophiles. We are talking about more than just sin here- we are talking about personality disorder. We are talking about someone who did not just tell lies but rather about someone whose whole being is a lie, to the very core of personhood. We are talking about something that cannot just be “repented” of but something that is the person’s very identity- who they are.

  147. siteseer wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    The Simpsons was right!

    “Branson, Missouri. It’s what Las Vegas would be if Ned Flanders was running it.”

    I had always got the impression it is a popular Mormon hangout?

    What? I don’t think so. It’s really not religious. It’s a town.

  148. siteseer wrote:

    Normal people do not have a hypnotic affect

    Yes!! That’s not what being a Christian means. It means they are selling you something, in this case themselves. Sometimes you have to ask WHY.

  149. Dee, I want to thank you for including some of the graphic details. They can be hard for people to read but without facing them, it is easy for people to gloss over what was done with words like “mistakes” “failure” “sin” “error of judgment” etc. NO what was done was painstakingly planned, patiently executed, and is ugly and disturbing beyond belief.

    Our informant, having heard about the Newman situation, questioned Bryan Loritts about Peter Newman’s position at the church. Loritts allegedly responded “It was just some skinny dipping thing.”

    My paraphrase: “Oh, it was just some kids– they hardly count, hardly matter”

  150. Lea wrote:

    I do think you are drawing the wrong conclusion here. The problem is not that ‘no one is immune’ (although certainly none of us are perfect). The problem is that people who abuse in such a fashion are SKILLED liars! They fool everyone. It

    This is so true and could be why ministry was a chosen path as people/kids in churches and para church ministries are easier to fool and come in automatically trusting leaders.

  151. Lea wrote:

    What? I don’t think so. It’s really not religious. It’s a town.

    I’m kind of thinking that it got popular after there were some gay pride type activities at Disneyland that offended a lot of conservative people, and they were looking for a vacation destination that would be more guaranteed to be “family friendly” but that was just my impression at the time.

  152. Lydia wrote:

    This is so true and could be why ministry was a chosen path as people/kids in churches and para church ministries are easier to fool and come in automatically trusting leaders.

    Absolutely, you have the most gullible, naive followers all gathered in one place, you have children that have mostly been trained to respect authority and silence their objections to things, and you are probably in the place that is the most safe from prosecution that there is in our society.

  153. Lea wrote:

    I mean, I live 4-5 hours away, so maybe it’s more familiar to me, but it’s well known apparently outside of the area, yes, enough to make it onto the simpsons lol.

    I grew up just the other side of the Missouri state line over into Kansas, about two hours away from Branson; I always thought Branson was a huge deal, nationally and internationally-known. Now I find out it’s not so, evidently just some provincial little place that merits only an obscure, inside reference on the Simpsons.

  154. Brian wrote:

    Pete was one of the most passionate, enthusiastic and sincere (seeming) believers I had ever met.

    Bernie Madoff was described as very warm and charming. The most ruinous con men are the most ingratiating, an unfriendly swindler won’t get very far. Pedophiles work in much the same manner with the exception they seem to have much more patience in preparing their victims and their enablers. Many here have referred to it as the long con.

  155. ishy wrote:

    I’ve always been skeptical about things people say, so I chuffed at people who insisted that they had a call so I had to listen to them.

    Sounds like they were victims of their pride

    They might benefit from learning an old Orthodox saying from eastern Christianity:
    “one who is truly humble can draw thousands to Christ”

  156. @ BeenThereDoneThat:
    Yes, lawsuits against churches/para church orgs have increased. But what happens to them? Most who take them on are paid to file or hoping for a “keep quiet” settlement of sorts to pay for their time. Most judges throw them out. Even with Dr. Kloudas lawsuit, the judge declared the seminary, a church, and threw it out.

    The mega churches I was familiar with kept the big powerful law firm in town on retainer. That way people don’t have access to the big winners. I, for one, am hoping things have changed. I would think some of these firms are seeing some these churches/para churches have very Deep Pockets.

  157. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    Some former members of my “church” filed suit against them a few years ago. The lawyer filed it in federal court in a different city (so I was told) because too many local authorities and officials think this “church” is God’s gift to the community. I haven’t heard any more about it. I don’t even know that it wasn’t dismissed. So, yes, I can relate to Garabedian’s plight in Boston.

    These people groom everyone they can reach who would stand in a position that they can use or that could possibly bring them harm, including political and law enforcement figures.

    Sometimes I wonder if pedophilia is just side entertainment to those whose real core being is deception and the pursuit of power.

  158. siteseer wrote:

    These people groom everyone they can reach who would stand in a position that they can use or that could possibly bring them harm, including political and law enforcement figures.

    Pedos (and manipulators of every kind) groom third-party Allies (especially Authority figures) to both futher isolate the victim (“Go ahead and squeal, Tattle-Tale! NOBODY will EVER believe yoU!” and as backup support when things get sticky (“Friends in High Places”, like Facilier the Bokor in Disney’s The Princess and the Frog.) We only hear about the ones who slipped up and got caught.

    Sometimes I wonder if pedophilia is just side entertainment to those whose real core being is deception and the pursuit of power.

    Well, Forced Sex IS a classic Animal Forced Dominance Display…

  159. Jeffrey Chalmers wrote:

    How did Berny Madoff get the trust of all of his investors, or other finical con artist?

    Interest we picked the same guy as an example. I had always though they could be identified by their smooth tongue only to find out many have a real gift for listening.

  160. Bill M wrote:

    Brian wrote:

    Pete was one of the most passionate, enthusiastic and sincere (seeming) believers I had ever met.

    Bernie Madoff was described as very warm and charming. The most ruinous con men are the most ingratiating, an unfriendly swindler won’t get very far. Pedophiles work in much the same manner with the exception they seem to have much more patience in preparing their victims and their enablers. Many here have referred to it as the long con.

    I once saw my manipulator younger brother spend FIFTEEN YEARS on a Long Con of personal revenge against our stepmother. FIFTEEN YEARS of grooming third parties.

  161. siteseer wrote:

    Lea wrote:

    What? I don’t think so. It’s really not religious. It’s a town.

    I’m kind of thinking that it got popular after there were some gay pride type activities at Disneyland that offended a lot of conservative people, and they were looking for a vacation destination that would be more guaranteed to be “family friendly” but that was just my impression at the time.

    “Just Like Disneyland or Vegas, Except CHRISTIAN(TM)!”

    (Tip: “Just like fill-in-the-blank, Except CHRISTIAN(TM)!” is NEVER a good sign.)

  162. Lydia wrote:

    Lea wrote:

    I do think you are drawing the wrong conclusion here. The problem is not that ‘no one is immune’ (although certainly none of us are perfect). The problem is that people who abuse in such a fashion are SKILLED liars! They fool everyone. It

    This is so true and could be why ministry was a chosen path as people/kids in churches and para church ministries are easier to fool and come in automatically trusting leaders.

    Where Easy Prey gathers, the Predators will swarm.

  163. siteseer wrote:

    These people groom everyone they can reach who would stand in a position that they can use or that could possibly bring them harm, including political and law enforcement figures.

    And including a former President. Church builders were contracted to build GW’s Crawford ranch house. It was completed right before he was elected POTUS. After he served his 2 terms, he attended 4 or 5 of the church’s Easter and Christmas music programs. Just imagine the kind of clout that gave this church with local officials. Even after a few situations caused GW to think they are a little off kilter, the effect his attendance had is far reaching.

  164. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    I once saw my manipulator younger brother spend FIFTEEN YEARS on a Long Con of personal revenge against our stepmother. FIFTEEN YEARS of grooming third parties.

    It is so hard for people to understand how it works. It is a way of life for them. They don’t take time off. There is never a real sincere moment even when they seem so sincere. They mirror what people expect but with a different agenda in mind. They are master deceivers. They thrive on it.

  165. Lydia wrote:

    The church had a building firm?

    They used to. They used to file as a 501(d) as a religious community. The church oversaw several businesses run by members, including a building contractor. That means the church had legal access to the business bank accounts. We heard a few stories of payroll money going missing to buy new cars for the Apostle and his son. And it was perfectly legal. The 501(d) has since dissolved.

    Here’s a link to an article about them building Bush’s house.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-anderson/400-haircut-vs-bushs-suit_b_46622.html

  166. Lydia wrote:

    But what happens to them? Most who take them on are paid to file or hoping for a “keep quiet” settlement of sorts to pay for their time. Most judges throw them out.

    I won’t argue that there are some self-serving lawyers and judges. Poor, poor judge Aaron Persky is now asking for money because his career is taking a hit. No sympathy here.

  167. siteseer wrote:

    Christians tend to be trusting and gullible people and they are easy for deceivers to groom. They *want* to believe that there are people who stand head and shoulders above the rest, spiritually. They want to have heroes. They tend to be very unrealistic about people. They also tend to avoid thinking about or looking at troubling things (see no evil-hear no evil-speak no evil). They *keep* themselves ignorant and gullible. They *make* themselves useful to deceivers.

    During the late Cold War, wasn’t the KGB term for such types “Useful Idiots”?

  168. Lydia wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    I once saw my manipulator younger brother spend FIFTEEN YEARS on a Long Con of personal revenge against our stepmother. FIFTEEN YEARS of grooming third parties.

    It is so hard for people to understand how it works. It is a way of life for them. They don’t take time off. There is never a real sincere moment even when they seem so sincere. They mirror what people expect but with a different agenda in mind. They are master deceivers. They thrive on it.

    I do know my brother literally cannot NOT manipulate.
    It’s almost an obsession with him.

    And there’s an analogy in Furry Fandom. You get these drooling fanboys with literally No Life — every atom of their being is dedicated to serving and expressing and advancing their obsession 24/7/365, no job, no sleep, NOTHING to get in the way. Same thing with a LOT of Big Name Net Presences — the ones who literally live in their Mommy’s Basement, Building Their Brand 24/7/365 on Social Media after Social Media (I KNOW of one — a local “Professional Fanboy” character who’s a laughingstock to everyone who knew him FTF but is A Major Playa Social Media Celebrity with 50,000+ Facebook followers. Any posting trying to take down his Social Media Celebrity Image gets taken down and replaced by another puff piece within days — puff pieces whose style and phrasing indicate he personally wrote them. I’ve seen it happen.)

    How can those of us with Jobs and Lives and other things than 24/7/365 Self-Promotion compete with that? Because we have Jobs and Lives and have to pause sometime; the fanboy doesn’t. I keep thinking of something from the Preface to Screwtape Letters — a throwaway comment by Lewis:
    “It is not Mephistopheles but Faust who embodies the constant, sleepless, unsmiling concentration upon Self which is the true mark of Hell.”

  169. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    siteseer wrote:

    These people groom everyone they can reach who would stand in a position that they can use or that could possibly bring them harm, including political and law enforcement figures.

    And including a former President. Church builders were contracted to build GW’s Crawford ranch house. It was completed right before he was elected POTUS. After he served his 2 terms, he attended 4 or 5 of the church’s Easter and Christmas music programs. Just imagine the kind of clout that gave this church with local officials. Even after a few situations caused GW to think they are a little off kilter, the effect his attendance had is far reaching.

    And don’t forget God’s Choice for POTUS Mike Huckabee running interference for Jim-Bob Duggar over Josh Duggar’s “mistakes(TM)”.

  170. Lydia wrote:

    It is so hard for people to understand how it works.

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    I do know my brother literally cannot NOT manipulate.

    Reminds me of another CS Lewis quote: “Experience, that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.”

  171. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    During the late Cold War, wasn’t the KGB term for such types “Useful Idiots”?

    Actually, I think it was said by Boris Badenov on the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show cartoons.

  172. Christiane wrote:

    have they announced who is ‘God’s Choice’ THIS year?

    Two or three times. 1. Rick Perry, then 2. Ted Cruz, and now 3. Donald Trump.

    God doesn’t have a very good track record picking presidential candidates this year.

  173. Christiane wrote:

    ave they announced who is ‘God’s Choice’ THIS year?

    One of the wannabes apparently thought that he was, there having been a word of knowledge? or something at some prayer meeting declaring him to be God’s choice, or words to that effect. Needless to say that was not either of the leading two that we now have to choose from.

  174. Bill M wrote:

    Lydia wrote:

    She was surprised at how many parents just went along.

    It is another part of the christian industrial complex, we are expected to trust everyone working in the system. If we question, then we are labeled not trusting and that is one of the deadly sins. Skepticism is another of the deadly sins in the authoritarian church.

    “If you question what I say to you
    YOU REBEL AGAINST THE FATHER, TOO!”
    — Steve Taylor, “I Manipulate”

  175. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    I once saw my manipulator younger brother spend FIFTEEN YEARS on a Long Con of personal revenge against our stepmother. FIFTEEN YEARS of grooming third parties.

    Some of your stories are what first clued me in. Since then I have been much more aware of such individuals. I should add, thanks for the head-up.

  176. Burwell wrote:

    Christiane wrote:

    have they announced who is ‘God’s Choice’ THIS year?

    Two or three times. 1. Rick Perry, then 2. Ted Cruz, and now 3. Donald Trump.

    God doesn’t have a very good track record picking presidential candidates this year.

    Still a better track record than 2012, when Gods Anointed Choice changed at least once a week, the only constant being “NOT THE MORMON! NOT THE MORMON! NOT THE MORMON!” (Then Romney sewed up the nomination/became The Great White Hope and Franklin Graham gave him The Anointing, announcing that Mormons were no longer a Cult(TM)… Bad craziness….)

  177. Christiane wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    During the late Cold War, wasn’t the KGB term for such types “Useful Idiots”?

    Actually, I think it was said by Boris Badenov on the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show cartoons.

    Well, Boris & Natasha were as Psevdorussky as you could get.

  178. Mr. Jesperson wrote:

    There always has been a small percentage that are good and a larger percentage that are not. We should not be surprised about any of this because, again, Jesus warned us before hand. So did the Apostle Paul. There are tares out there. There are goats. There are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

    I’m in total agreement with you.

    I think every person wants to imagine that the tares, goats, and wolves in sheeps’ clothing are somewhere else, not in their own circles, certainly not anyone they know personally.

  179. Burwell wrote:

    God doesn’t have a very good track record picking presidential candidates this year.

    He’d have done better with the Three Stooges.

  180. Bill M wrote:

    I had always though they could be identified by their smooth tongue only to find out many have a real gift for listening.

    Oh boy, do they listen! And make use of all they hear! Only not in the way the person expects, they use it to perfect their craft.

  181. Jack wrote:

    Yet another reason to stay away from church. My wife likes to go but we have not sent our kids to the Sunday school or camp.
    Am I judging all churches? Yes. When it comes to the kids, we can’t afford not to.
    Sure this happens in the secular world too but we keep involved in the daycare, school & sports team.
    My wife came home early from church last week, apparently the sermon was quite graphic about appropriate sex between a man & a woman.
    X-rated church! No wonder there’s issues.

    As you well know, we disagree vehemently on a number of issues, but we’re holding hands on this issue, Jack. Based on what we’ve experienced (subtle and not-so-subtle emotional and spiritual abuse of our children at the hands of leaders) and experiences of friends (e.g., a prominent local church knowingly put a child sex offender who was on probation in charge of the high school youth group; he promptly started sexually harassing my daughter’s 16 year old best friend and my daughter personally witnessed him making cracks about “taking care of” her best friend’s boyfriend so as to get him out of the way so he’d have free reign over her). We no longer go to church, but we are the Church, we’ve just found other, safer ways of meeting together that don’t involve narcissistic/dangerous/abusive men and their vicious little fiefdoms.

  182. siteseer wrote:

    Brian, you are partially getting it but not completely. The use of the word “sin” in terms of this pedophile doesn’t go far enough. Yes, we can all fall into sin, we can all be deceived by sin. But we cannot all become pedophiles. We are talking about more than just sin here- we are talking about personality disorder. We are talking about someone who did not just tell lies but rather about someone whose whole being is a lie, to the very core of personhood. We are talking about something that cannot just be “repented” of but something that is the person’s very identity- who they are.

    That is certainly true along with the rest of your excellent comment. I very much appreciate what Brian has said because I think he speaks for a lot of young staffers who believed in Pete’s character and his testimony and were heartbroken at a deep level when they learned that Pete had betrayed so many. The aura or attraction that people feel for personality-disordered (or character-disordered) people is an attraction to something that is a lie, as you said. That bears repeating along with a warning that everyone is susceptible to being conned, especially the people who think it can never happen to them.

    I hope that the truth will be revealed.

  183. Gram3 wrote:

    The aura or attraction that people feel for personality-disordered (or character-disordered) people is an attraction to something that is a lie, as you said.

    Semi relevant, I was reading something the other day about dating sites and a lady said that narcissists use the free sites in part because they have some sort of quizzes they can ‘study’ before coming after their prey. I thought that was interesting.

    But yes, it is all a lie. That’s the hardest thing to understand, but once you accept it things make so much more sense.

  184. Through a glass darkly wrote:

    s. A while back, there was a male counselor who allowed his cabin of boys to horse around in the cabin while naked. The day the camp director found out, both counselors from that cabin were told to pack their bags and leave, and all of the parents of kids in the cabin were informed.

    Well done! My former church blew off a similar incident and the pedophile went on to molest. he is now serving 13 years.

  185. Law Prof wrote:

    We no longer go to church, but we are the Church, we’ve just found other, safer ways of meeting together that don’t involve narcissistic/dangerous/abusive men and their vicious little fiefdoms.

    Yes. You ARE the Church. We all are.
    ‘The Church’ isn’t that silly social club down the road where some egotistical ‘leader’ and his boyz lord it over the sheep, no.

    Stay with discernment from the Holy Spirit. Listen to the promptings. Use rational common sense (and yes, God is the God of reason also).

    I have a feeling many of the Church have been exiled by the goatocracy of ‘male headship’ pastors who are frightened by any real diversity within his ‘realm’.

    ‘The Church’ will always be the Body of Christ. No one can exile us from that except we were to do it ourselves, God forbid.

  186. siteseer wrote:

    Bill M wrote:

    I had always though they could be identified by their smooth tongue only to find out many have a real gift for listening.

    Oh boy, do they listen! And make use of all they hear! Only not in the way the person expects, they use it to perfect their craft.

    And to gather Intelligence to use on their next targets.

  187. Christiane wrote:

    I have a feeling many of the Church have been exiled by the goatocracy of ‘male headship’ pastors who are frightened by any real diversity within his ‘realm’.

    “GOATOCRACY” — great word!

  188. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Christiane wrote:

    I have a feeling many of the Church have been exiled by the goatocracy of ‘male headship’ pastors who are frightened by any real diversity within his ‘realm’.

    “GOATOCRACY” — great word!

    yes, it came to me in a flash of brilliance that was a lot like the beginning of a migraine 🙂

  189. Lea wrote:

    Brian wrote:
    To say his affect was hypnotic, would be an understatement. Pete was what a Christian should look like.
    Maybe we should really rethink that idea.

    Isn’t that the truth. We have this notion–that we certainly don’t get from the Bible–that Christians should look good and be so sweetly “genuine” and “wonderful”, but in my experience, Christians–at least the ones who really mean it–are the first to admit their faults–and not in that phony, fraudulent, pastoral way, e.g.: “Look at me, I’m admitting to my shortcomings right here at the pulpit in front of y’all (though no really, truly bad shortcomings, of course, though truth be told, if you really knew how I was at my worst, to those closest to me, you’d be shocked and run for the double doors at the back of the sanctuary) to show all of you just how really downright good and wholesome and genuine and godly I am, how in a way, hey, I’m just better’n you to be such a Big Man and admit it with tears in my eyes while the music just started getting softly played by the song leader, that music like’s they play in the movies where someone dies tragically…hey, pass the collection plate, fast, Brother Dewey, while I got ’em all emotioned up.

  190. Law Prof wrote:

    admit their faults–and not in that phony, fraudulent, pastoral way, e.g.: “Look at me, I’m admitting to my shortcomings right here at the pulpit in front of y’all

    They cop to a much lessor offense at the podium and then the pew sitters tell each other how humble their wonderful pastor is. Been there, have the memories to prove it.

  191. Bill M wrote:

    They cop to a much lessor offense at the podium and then the pew sitters tell each other how humble their wonderful pastor is. Been there, have the memories to prove it.

    Have a young friend, barely into his thirties, and the head and associate pastor at his “wonderful” neocal church are painfully young, both about his age, he hasn’t been attending this church long, but he absolutely raves about how genuine and humble these guys are, how they admit their faults, how they “get it right” better than anyone he’s ever seen. I told him, “Well, your 30-something pastors, they have a lot to learn”, told him to pay attention to what people do, not what they say, and knowing a person well enough to talk them up takes a lot longer than a few months or years, it takes many years, maybe decades, seeing someone at their best and worst and having them see you at your worst and seeing how they take it, before you can pronounce someone “genuine”. A genuine person will never be invested in making you think they’re so wonderful. That’s what God-hating narcissists do who want something from you–maybe your soul.

  192. This is incomprehensible.

    As Tommy Lee Jones, the Sheriff in “No Country for Old Men” said, “You can’t make this stuff up. I dare you to even try.”

    The Christian camp that probably served more kids than any ever has or ever will was Camp Joy, a ministry of the Highland Park Baptist Church in Chattanooga for about 40 years.

    That church, and their pastor, Lee Roberson, would have personally pounded any counselor playing naked basketball with campers.

    Come on!

  193. Bill M wrote:

    Law Prof wrote:

    A genuine person will never be invested in making you think they’re so wonderful.

    money quote

    Indeed.

    Caveat emptor folks. These people are selling you something, because they want something from you.

  194. Law Prof wrote:

    We have this notion–that we certainly don’t get from the Bible–that Christians should look good and be so sweetly “genuine” and “wonderful”

    We also have this notion that bad people will look bad, kind of like in Disney shows where the good are beautiful and the bad are ugly. Not so in this world. Your understanding of human nature is not full until you’ve seen evil masked by good, up close and personal. It’s shocking the first time. Some people have to face it very young. Others have the good fortune not to until they are older. Some people never have to confront it.

  195. Anonymous wrote:

    That church, and their pastor, Lee Roberson, would have personally pounded any counselor playing naked basketball with campers.

    In those days, such a happening would have lost them a lot of campers/money.
    Today it gets “Oh, it was just some skinny dipping thing.”

  196. siteseer wrote:

    We also have this notion that bad people will look bad, kind of like in Disney shows where the good are beautiful and the bad are ugly. Not so in this world.

    Is that why I enjoyed Shrek? Brian’s comment up thread and the various responses to it have greatly reinforced the old adage of the wolf in sheep’s clothing. So why do we need to keep being reminded that evil wears an attractive face?

  197. siteseer wrote:

    We also have this notion that bad people will look bad, kind of like in Disney shows where the good are beautiful and the bad are ugly. Not so in this world.

    Not in recent Disney shows like Frozen and Zootopia; even Disney is moving away from that trope.

  198. Law Prof wrote:

    Have a young friend, barely into his thirties, and the head and associate pastor at his “wonderful” neocal church are painfully young, both about his age, he hasn’t been attending this church long, but he absolutely raves about how genuine and humble these guys are…

    Like The HUMBLE One Himself (chuckle chuckle)?

    Do their liveried flunkies blow long trumpets before them to announce how HUMBLE they are?

  199. Bill M wrote:

    Law Prof wrote:

    admit their faults–and not in that phony, fraudulent, pastoral way, e.g.: “Look at me, I’m admitting to my shortcomings right here at the pulpit in front of y’all

    They cop to a much lessor offense at the podium and then the pew sitters tell each other how humble their wonderful pastor is. Been there, have the memories to prove it.

    Like Steven Furtick’s mega chronicling the expense of how many breath mints Pastor and Staff consume each year while remaining silent on where the money for Pastor’s estate and mansion came from?

  200. Law Prof wrote:

    hey, I’m just better’n you to be such a Big Man and admit it with tears in my eyes while the music just started getting softly played by the song leader, that music like’s they play in the movies where someone dies tragically…

    Like the Parasymp organs of the Heirarchy (a corrupt religious dictatorship) in Fritz Leiber’s Gather, Darkness!

  201. Is this the only Christian camp in Branson? Because I knew someone who sent their kids there this year. I also grew up going to Branson when I was young. But as I moved to Texas in my 20’s, I haven’t been there since. It all go so fancy. Much different that the early days of Silver Dollar City, and Shepherd of the Hills and other things.We would also go over to Arkansas to see the Thorncrown Chapel, which was beautiful, when I was younger.

  202. @ Lydia:
    I work in a Christian preschool and just sat through Ministry Safe ( required by the church) and a state mandated sexual abuse recognition workshop. Both programs stressed two things. If you suspect physical or sexual abuse, immediately contact CPS and the police. CPS would be called in case the perpetrator was a family member and there were other children in the home. Both programs stressed that we would be in legal trouble if we had information and did not report it to the authorities. I don’t get how some of these ministry leaders aren’t being criminally prosecuted sense they had enough information to know something was amiss. The programs also went over grooming signs. I think churches should use a program like Ministry Safe because they show you convicted molesters who look totally normal and give you things to watch out for. Tough to sit through, but so important!

  203. Pingback: An Open Letter to Bryan Loritts (Former Teaching Pastor at Fellowship Memphis) | Wondering Eagle UNITED STATES

  204. @ BJ:

    I just looked Ministry Safe up. Love’s program. I see Bob Jones listed as a client. you won’t convince me that one isn’t a CYA hire! :o)

    I do get the importance of the front end prevention, I really do. Much needed. I have already listed what bothered me the most about what he said on the clip but did not mention his emphasizing that his materials were written specifically for Christians (and not the secular stuff, he insisted) and ithey are written “shepherd to sheep and sheep to sheep”. Huh?

    When I took it all together…the victim advocate who won’t sue churches unless they are JW or something, tithe comment and the other stuff already mentioned, my radar went off. It occurred to me that if he ever represented what he thinks are “body of Christ” victims, he would not get a lot of front end business and that is a win for him and his many church/para church clients who have money. The victims don’t.

    He can do what he wants. I think he is clever and I have no doubt his materials are good. I don’t think he is a “victim advocate”, though.

  205. @ Lydia:

    Actually, it would be better if churches used a secular training program for abuse training. My daughter did a several hour training module to work for the YMCA. Schools and other public agencies used this training material as well. I don’t understand why Christian organizations feel that they have to reinvent the wheel or use “Christian” versions of products. Society at large is way, way ahead of Christian organizations when it comes to protecting children and adults from predators in the work place.

  206. Just a short off-topic note. It’s been more than a week since Shauna and Billy’s GoFundMe account has had any donations. (Dee set up the GoFundMe account for them.) Billy is set for school supplies. He just started high school.
    They have a need right now for food, gas, car insurance, and some basic bills. If anyone has the means to contribute that would be appreciated right now.
    Thank you.
    Regards,
    Velour
    As always, other discussions on the Open Discussion thread.
    ********************
    Just an update and hopefully this doesn’t get overshadowed or lost in the mix : )I just told the place where I take care of the horses that I need to step back from feeding. Last night I got home at 9:30pm billy needed me here and needed help with his school work. I have offered to stay on and feed once a day although I will really be working for pennies because it’s 1 1/2 hours of physical work and I have to travel 16 miles round trip while getting 8.25 an hour. In a weeks time before taxes I will have earned 86.59 after seven days of feeding 2xs s day. After taxes it drops to about 68.00. After gas which will be about thirty bucks a week, so I will have made 38.00 take home, wow it puts it into perspective for me i’m making about .27 cents an hour take home after taxes and gas.
    So, regular monthly bills are coming due this week I have a job interview this week and will be doing clerical testing tomorrow so I can apply for county jobs. Please pray for this because there are some really good job openings which I think would work great with my son’s schedule and pay a really decent wage.
    https://www.gofundme.com/pxs5dk
    we are in need of groceries and I will need to get some decent work clothes for interviews and if i’m hired on. I can use what I have and borrowed some clothes. I haven’t bought anything for years.
    Rent/water/utilities are coming due. The electric bill is almost 300 this month due to the heat/humidity thank goodness it’s finally lowering in temp.
    I need to do car insurance again and won’t be able to drive after this week if I don’t make that payment.
    we have our phone bill which is 125 for both phones plus pays for internet( I paid a little extra last month) as well. I use my phone to plug into internet on the desk top, it saves money.
    Billy is good on clothes and I almost have all his supplies.
    https://www.gofundme.com/pxs5dk

  207. Bridget wrote:

    @ Lydia:
    Actually, it would be better if churches used a secular training program for abuse training. My daughter did a several hour training module to work for the YMCA. Schools and other public agencies used this training material as well. I don’t understand why Christian organizations feel that they have to reinvent the wheel or use “Christian” versions of products. Society at large is way, way ahead of Christian organizations when it comes to protecting children and adults from predators in the work place.

    Exactly, Bridget.

  208. Bridget wrote:

    My daughter did a several hour training module to work for the YMCA.

    I thought it was weird that he said you shouldn’t use the ymca stuff! I would like to hear an explanation of why.

    The only church specific thing I would say is that you might need to teach them not to be naive and Forgiving.

  209. Law Prof wrote:

    We no longer go to church, but we are the Church, we’ve just found other, safer ways of meeting together that don’t involve narcissistic/dangerous/abusive men and their vicious little fiefdoms.

    This. Thanks, LawProf.

  210. Velour wrote:

    Law Prof wrote:
    We no longer go to church, but we are the Church, we’ve just found other, safer ways of meeting together that don’t involve narcissistic/dangerous/abusive men and their vicious little fiefdoms.
    This. Thanks, LawProf.

    LawProf,

    I don’t know if you and your family have seen former pastor David Hayward/The Naked Pastor’s cartoons. He captures the issues that we all talk about.

    http://www.nakedpastor.com/

    I have ordered three of his cartoons for my home as well and have one in my living room.

  211. Bridget wrote:

    Actually, it would be better if churches used a secular training program for abuse training.

    This imight be true. Should someone let Boz Tchividjian and GRACE know their services are inferior to the secular programs? They specialize in educating churches about abuse. They don’t sue churches either.

  212. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    It’s at the point if you don’t want your kid molested/raped, you have to become a Done.

    HUG, there may be another, albeit more difficult, option. Join a small fellowship that preaches “Jesus and Him crucified” but has no desire to become the next mega/multi-site/church planting hub/trendy/etc. They are out there but can be hard to find as they don’t tend to attract much attention to themselves.

  213. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    It’s at the point if you don’t want your kid molested/raped, you have to become a Done.

    I think there are things you can do to teach your kids what to look for, and teach your church what to look for. I know looking by my mother watched people, and kept me away from ones she had doubts about.

    I have to say, I know predators can be found anywhere, but I do feel like the non-comp churches are safer. I don’t know if that’s real or not.

  214. @ BeenThereDoneThat:
    It’s one of the things that bothers me about GRACE that I have mentioned before. They are paid by the organization to do the investigation. I think they have good intentions but nothing brings out truth better than discovery. I read their Bob Jones and ABWE reports. Spending money on a report is one way to stay in business. A few heads roll but the culture is still there.

  215. Lydia wrote:

    @ BeenThereDoneThat:
    It’s one of the things that bothers me about GRACE that I have mentioned before. They are paid by the organization to do the investigation. I think they have good intentions but nothing brings out truth better than discovery. I read their Bob Jones and ABWE reports. Spending money on a report is one way to stay in business. A few heads roll but the culture is still there.

    I think you can look at this a few different ways. The fact that GRACE got run off by that one missionary org makes me think they were actually doing a good job investigating.

    Also, I work in health care, and there is a concept of investigating things with a mindset of fixing rather than punitive. There is a time and place for that of course, and we have other systems that are punitive, like a license board investigation for instance. If an individual is at fault through malice, incompetence, etc, the individual should be held responsible. If the problem is one of systems, then a non-punitive approach may be the best way to prevent problems in the future. So it kind of depends on what the issue is which type of investigation is required.

    The police will generally only end up arresting the actual offender, which doesn’t do anything to change the hiring practices, system protection in place, etc.

    But it is extremely disturbing to see SO many churches that are either clueless, negligent, or just plain don’t care about these issues. No amount of investigating will change the heart problem that is at the root of this!

  216. @ BeenThereDoneThat:
    I wasn’t aware GRACE promoted themselves as “victim advocates’, either. Maybe they do. Greg Love is more ‘victim prevention’. If you ARE a victim in a Christian org he has made it clear he does not help you. That is fine but that is not a victim advocate.

  217. Lydia wrote:

    It’s one of the things that bothers me about GRACE that I have mentioned before.

    Thank you. Sometimes I go weeks without participating here. I wondered if I had missed something. I was a little confused as to why GRACE is held in such high esteem, yet there are strong objections to MinistrySafe.

  218. @ Lea:
    Oh I think GRACE does strive to do thorough investigations. I don’t think they have nefarious motives at all.

    When it comes to a culture of abuse and cover up in the Name of Christ, I think punitive is the best way to go. It’s just my opinion based on my experience with institutional cultures. Much like turning the Titanic.

  219. Lydia wrote:

    @ BeenThereDoneThat:
    It’s one of the things that bothers me about GRACE that I have mentioned before. They are paid by the organization to do the investigation. I think they have good intentions but nothing brings out truth better than discovery. I read their Bob Jones and ABWE reports. Spending money on a report is one way to stay in business. A few heads roll but the culture is still there.

    It’s common in business to hire outside professionals to do a professional and ethical job. Outside auditors are hired, for example, to audit a business. They can do their jobs well, even though they’re getting paid by the business.

  220. Lydia wrote:

    I think punitive is the best way to go

    I probably mostly agree, but I still think the issue is one of the heart of these supposed leaders and until that changes, we will make no headway.

    Maybe the best thing to do is to train church MEMBERS what to look for and to constantly be vigilant, because the ‘leaders’ are just not going to do it if it goes against their interests. Maybe if members ever get properly serious about this they can clean house or leave.

  221. Lea wrote:

    But it is extremely disturbing to see SO many churches that are either clueless, negligent, or just plain don’t care about these issues. No amount of investigating will change the heart problem that is at the root of this!

    I don’t think they are clueless. I think most view it as ‘sinners sin’ and we are helping with redemption. I think a big part of it is actually doctrinal in some ways. They view such evil as normal. Even when long time Christian leaders are caught, excuses are made because ‘we are all sinners’.

    We are talking about something I find very scary for innocents out there when it comes to Christian organizations.

  222. Lydia wrote:

    punitive

    One more thing about this, punitive only goes after the specific people at fault. It can’t fix the heart of the problem, or the culture, or the systems. So you need both.

    I think churches should be much quicker to fire staff who make reckless negligent decisions, like fellowship did though.

  223. Lydia wrote:

    Even when long time Christian leaders are caught, excuses are made because ‘we are all sinners’.

    I would believe it was doctrinal (ie, people sin) if it applied equally to leaders and your average woman in the pew.

    It doesn’t.

  224. Velour wrote:

    They can do their jobs well, even though they’re getting paid by the business.

    There have been some problems with this in the business world as well. The difference is there is licensing involved and CPAs risk losing their license to practice. There is no licensing for abuse prevention trainers or investigators.

  225. Lea wrote:

    Maybe the best thing to do is to train church MEMBERS what to look for and to constantly be vigilant, because the ‘leaders’ are just not going to do it if it goes against their interests.

    I think that’s what some of these Christian abuse prevention organizations are attempting to do. Would a secular program be better? Quite possibly. However, many Christians tend to view anything secular through a “culture war” lens. Never mind that the secular culture does a better job at addressing abuse issues. IMO, I think most churches will be more receptive to a program billed as “Christian” to help educate them on how to prevent abuse.

  226. Bridget wrote:

    Velour wrote:
    They can do their jobs well, even though they’re getting paid by the business.
    There have been some problems with this in the business world as well. The difference is there is licensing involved and CPAs risk losing their license to practice. There is no licensing for abuse prevention trainers or investigators.

    I know highly trained auditors (including in my family) and they aren’t licensed.
    They still are highly sought after and do meticulous work.

    Boz T. at G.R.A.C.E. is a licensed attorney and a former chief sex crimes prosecutor.

  227. Lea wrote:

    Lydia wrote:
    punitive
    One more thing about this, punitive only goes after the specific people at fault. It can’t fix the heart of the problem, or the culture, or the systems. So you need both.
    I think churches should be much quicker to fire staff who make reckless negligent decisions, like fellowship did though.

    Punitive also means deep pockets at some point. And that is not one guilty person. I hope you realize I am speaking of cover ups, hiring known abusers, etc. places like Bob Jones, SGM, etc. these are institutional culture problems. Ingrained. Fellowship has it. Downtown Presbyterian, too, and many many more. Top/down authoritarian polity churches don’t fire their leaders. How could they? If you look at the polity in many of these places the elders are yes men or paid staff!

    Most of the people who stay in these churches have been trained to view the leaders in some sort of special anointed category. They totally trust them. Most never know anything much ( they don’t even demand to see detailed budget on how their own money is spent ) unless someone speaks up. Like Karen Hinckley at Villiage. We still would not know how Cultic the Villiage is had it not been for that brave young woman. And when stuff comes out most immediately jump to defend. That is a culture of thought reform.

    I don’t agree we are talking about Christian institutions that want to do the right thing. When outsiders have to tell Christian leaders what is right and what is wrong, perhaps they are not Christian leaders . That is my lonely view. :o)

  228. @ Lea:
    Some animals are more equal than others. :o)

    The bigger, more scary, question is why people in the pews go along with that thinking. Chilling.

  229. Lydia wrote:

    I don’t agree we are talking about Christian institutions that want to do the right thing. When outsiders have to tell Christian leaders what is right and what is wrong, perhaps they are not Christian leaders . That is my lonely view. :o)

    It’s not a lonely view. That’s why I see it as a problem of the heart.

    Milton Friedman talked about how you have to make it profitable for people to do the right thing, I think punitive is just the opposite of that, you make it costly to do the wrong thing. Both of those things can be effective and I am fond of anything that is affective.

    But I think we, as the ‘church’ need to have a come to Jesus meeting with our supposed ‘leaders’. Because what I’m seeing is really, really wrong and it’s too consistent to be just mistakes.

  230. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    This imight be true. Should someone let Boz Tchividjian and GRACE know their services are inferior to the secular programs? They specialize in educating churches about abuse. They don’t sue churches either.

    The other group brings lawsuits in some cases but not others, I find that hypocritical.

    I guess what it is coming down to for me is not trusting Christians to be objective and not try to cover for a brother in Christ. The YMCA pays for the service they receive but there is not the “problem” of the Christian brotherhood. (Just having to say that feels wrong and backwards to what Christianity should be.)

    There really are three different services we are talking about here that maybe should not be covered by the same company.

    Training for abuse prevention.

    Assessing a company and discovery of possible abuse.

    Victim advocating which might include reporting crimes and bringing a lawsuit if laws are broken.

    PS – I don’t know how much business Boz is getting on the assessing and reporting end of things these days. He may be hired for the training aspect. I’m not sure if he brings lawsuits on behalf of victims at this time.

  231. @ Velour:
    And special investigators that the organization pays. :o) and it is much cheaper than paying out zillions in lawsuit.

    I honestly think GRACE has good intentions. Disagreeing on method is all it is with me. I don’t think it works on this sort of problem that is ingrained in the institution. And I am a nobody so who cares, really?

    I do, however, have issues with Love referring to himself as a victim advocate. He is victim prevention. He works to protect churches. Not those who are actual victims from church cover up. It is a real distinction.

  232. @ Lea:
    I am a big fan of Friedman. But we are specifically talking about what is passing as the Body of Christ to the world. Not institutional assets and such.

    What is profitable for the body of Christ is truth. Knowing right from wrong and standing with innocent victims not protecting evil. . One would hope.

    I honestly think we are talking about 2 different things. I am not against prevention. The more education, the better. But what about when evil has been protected using Jesus for cover? Then what?

  233. Velour wrote:

    Bridget wrote:
    Velour wrote:
    They can do their jobs well, even though they’re getting paid by the business.
    There have been some problems with this in the business world as well. The difference is there is licensing involved and CPAs risk losing their license to practice. There is no licensing for abuse prevention trainers or investigators.
    I know highly trained auditors (including in my family) and they aren’t licensed.
    They still are highly sought after and do meticulous work.
    Boz T. at G.R.A.C.E. is a licensed attorney and a former chief sex crimes prosecutor.

    My point about this is that even licensed CPAs have gotten in trouble for fudging things for clients and it came down to the $$$. CPA licensing has changed because of it. Getting your license now requires an extra year of classes in — Ethics! Maybe Christian leaders need classes in Ethics when it comes to protecting kids!?!

  234. Lydia wrote:

    What is profitable for the body of Christ is truth. Knowing right from wrong and standing with innocent victims not protecting evil. . One would hope.

    I honestly think we are talking about 2 different things. I am not against prevention.

    I think I’m just switching back and forth between the two.

    1. Prevention is important.

    2. Fixing the mentality that makes these pastors consistently act in a ‘oh well’ sort of fashion towards these crimes of abuse of children and of women is a different issue.

    What I am saying is that if we make it to their benefit or not to the detriment (carrot and stick) for the average church to do the right thing, we will protect more people from being victims. We have more options on the prevention side than we do in fixing the heart, so it makes sense to concentrate there. There are some decent people in church, and if we can teach them that is all to the good. If we can weed out the predators, that is good.

    But fixing the heart? Fixing the mentality behind the protection of evil men? That is beyond me. I don’t know how to fix it. Throw out people who make truly negligent decisions on this, every time maybe? But practically impossible. Education the parishioners that sometimes your pastor is not your friend, does not care about your children? Would that even work? I have no idea. Bad press maybe.

  235. Lydia wrote:

    I do, however, have issues with Love referring to himself as a victim advocate. He is victim prevention. He works to protect churches. Not those who are actual victims from church cover up. It is a real distinction.

    It’s claiming he does “both” that is the problem. How can you be a victim advocate and prevention for businesses (churches)?

  236. Lea wrote:

    But fixing the heart? Fixing the mentality behind the protection of evil men? That is beyond me. I don’t know how to fix it.

    A huge and disastrous law suit would be a good place to start.

    And a serious change in the attitude/ theology which seems to be popular today that there is no such thing as evil and that all sins are equally egregious and that repentance is a cure.

  237. Bridget wrote:

    How can you be a victim advocate and prevention for businesses (churches)?

    Using that same line of reasoning, Boz T. shouldn’t be considered a victim’s advocate. Yet, given his heart for victims expressed through articles and tweets, I think many do consider him a victim’s advocate.

  238. Velour wrote:

    Quick off-topic comment to Nancy2 and future campers at Camp Backbone in Kentucky.
    I just got a tweet that a company makes…Camo ice cream.

    I luv ice cream, but we don’t need camo anything at Camp Backbone. We need to bee SEEN!
    Our camo will be modest dresses when we infiltrate the conventions. tee hee.
    Say a quick little prayer for me, please – this is day 3 of a migraine headache.

  239. Lea wrote:

    Milton Friedman talked about how you have to make it profitable for people to do the right thing, I think punitive is just the opposite of that, you make it costly to do the wrong thing. Both of those things can be effective and I am fond of anything that is affective.

    I’m curious. Can you point me to Friedman’s writings in which he talks about doing the right thing? As an old socialist (FDR style) who also believes in free dialogue, I like to be in the know about the ideas of those who don’t believe as I believe.

  240. Lydia wrote:

    I hope you realize I am speaking of cover ups, hiring known abusers, etc. places like Bob Jones, SGM, etc

    The head honchos at any place that does that, Joe White, John Bryson, Bryan Loritts …….. Beyond lawsuits, those people need to be charged with criminal negligence and the institutions need to be fined heavily, at the very least, no excuses!

  241. Velour wrote:

    Velour wrote:
    Law Prof wrote:
    We no longer go to church, but we are the Church, we’ve just found other, safer ways of meeting together that don’t involve narcissistic/dangerous/abusive men and their vicious little fiefdoms.
    This. Thanks, LawProf.
    LawProf,
    I don’t know if you and your family have seen former pastor David Hayward/The Naked Pastor’s cartoons. He captures the issues that we all talk about.
    http://www.nakedpastor.com/
    I have ordered three of his cartoons for my home as well and have one in my living room.

    Seen them, you bet. He nails it a lot.

  242. Muff Potter wrote:

    Lea wrote:
    Milton Friedman talked about how you have to make it profitable for people to do the right thing, I think punitive is just the opposite of that, you make it costly to do the wrong thing. Both of those things can be effective and I am fond of anything that is affective.

    I’m curious. Can you point me to Friedman’s writings in which he talks about doing the right thing? As an old socialist (FDR style) who also believes in free dialogue, I like to be in the know about the ideas of those who don’t believe as I believe.

    I don’t have time to watch this video to make sure its exactly what I was remembering (although I think he’s said similar things in other contexts), but it’s labeled “Milton Friedman: Make Politically Profitable For Wrong People To Do Right Thing”.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEVI3bmN8TI

  243. okrapod wrote:

    A huge and disastrous law suit would be a good place to start.

    So long as it was just those awful Catholic Papists and their anti-Christ in his pointy hat, they (protestant fundagelicals) were as smug and confident as Joshua encircling Jericho. Those days are drawing to a close and they will soon experience their own Waterloo so to speak.

  244. @ Lea:

    Also, here is the little description: “I do not believe that the solution to our problem is simply to elect the right people. The important thing is to establish a political climate of opinion which will make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing. Unless it is politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing, the right people will not do the right thing either, or it they try, they will shortly be out of office.”

  245. Lydia wrote:

    @ Lea:
    Oh I think GRACE does strive to do thorough investigations. I don’t think they have nefarious motives at all.

    When it comes to a culture of abuse and cover up in the Name of Christ, I think punitive is the best way to go. It’s just my opinion based on my experience with institutional cultures. Much like turning the Titanic.

    Just remember the side effect — like Muslims after 9/11, Christians will circle the wagons against PERSECUTION!!!!! and double down. The corruption will become more entrenched and more protected as they close ranks against The Other.Burwell wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    It’s at the point if you don’t want your kid molested/raped, you have to become a Done.

    HUG, there may be another, albeit more difficult, option. Join a small fellowship that preaches “Jesus and Him crucified” but has no desire to become the next mega/multi-site/church planting hub/trendy/etc. They are out there but can be hard to find as they don’t tend to attract much attention to themselves.

    A small independent Fellowship was what messed me up in the mid-Seventies. Like independent house churches, they have no outside reality check if they go sour and/or abusive. Even without intentions, entropy easily sets in over time and they can drift into serious Cult territory.

  246. Lydia wrote:

    It is so hard for people to understand how it works. It is a way of life for them. They don’t take time off. There is never a real sincere moment even when they seem so sincere. They mirror what people expect but with a different agenda in mind. They are master deceivers. They thrive on it.

    Many years ago, one of my East Coast contacts gave me a book titled “ANTI CHRIST”, a historical trace of the idea of Antichrist. And I found something interesting:

    Historically there have been two archetypes of Antichrist: The Fanatic Persecutor and The Slick Deceiver (easily symbolized by The Beast and The False Prophet).

    The Fanatic Persecutor is “Anti” in the sense of being in direct opposition to, and comes from the Outside.

    The Slick Deceiver is “Anti” in the sense of being an imitation of, and works from the Inside.

    These two archetypes work very well as a tag team; in fleeing the Fanatic Persecutor, you take refuge with (and take the Mark of) the Slick Deceiver.

    Yet today (in the Age of The Gospel According to Hal Lindsay and Left Behind), the only archetype of Antichrist is The Fanatic Persecutor. Maybe The Slick Deceiver hits a little too close to home for the MenaGAWD?

  247. @ Lea:
    I hear you but when discussing this issue I never assume the leaders have proper intentions. Did Fellowdhip leaders have the right intention when they allegedly destroyed evidence? Did CJ Mahaney in calling any discussion on molestations, gossip and preaching the doctrine of sin leveling? This list of examples I could cite is pretty long.

    I think we have entered into a new realm where we have to question and be vigilant when it comes to Christian institutions and leaders. It’s not just the few bad guys getting outed. It is a way of thinking from the authoritarian control to dumbing down or hiding heinous sin and selling cheap grace for the most evil of evils. And there are decent leaders out there who teach instant forgiveness and repentance, too, which doesn’t help. There seems to be a lack of wisdom or even common sense in large swaths of Christendom these days.

  248. @ Lea:

    That doesn’t work when we have allowed a ruling elite to continue who are above the laws they mandate for us. When they are above laws, we are done. They get to do the wrong or unfair things with no consequences. They protect each other. Just like we discuss here about TGC and T4G.

    The real problem is people want to be led instead of self govern. They honestly believe the leaders have the answers.

  249. Lydia wrote:

    It is a way of thinking from the authoritarian control to dumbing down or hiding heinous sin and selling cheap grace for the most evil of evils.

    Yes. I just don’t know how to fix that except to reject it utterly and leave that type of church.

    On the friedman quote, I share your political concerns, but I thought it was applicable to these church cases too. Where you cannot be assured of decent people, you have to make it profitable for them to do the right thing and painful for them to do the wrong thing. In cases of abuse, the painful part would be consequences either legal, financial or in the form of firings or removal of people from jobs/office as elders. That didn’t happen with the Village Church. It probably won’t happen here. I don’t know how to make it happen.

  250. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    A small independent Fellowship was what messed me up in the mid-Seventies. Like independent house churches, they have no outside reality check if they go sour and/or abusive. Even without intentions, entropy easily sets in over time and they can drift into serious Cult territory.

    HUG, I am sorry that happened. I wasn’t thinking independent, actually – it could be aligned with the denomination of your choice, but just not one interested in becoming a major player or adopting the sell-your-soul-to-grow-your-church groupthink we so regularly discuss here.

  251. Nancy2 wrote:

    Beyond lawsuits, those people need to be charged with criminal negligence and the institutions need to be fined heavily, at the very least, no excuses!

    YES!
    Hit them where it hurts. Obviously, from their actions, they care less about their own integrity; but go after the ONE THING that matters to them most, aside from ‘power’ and ‘control’, and make them pay …. and use THEIR money to help THEIR victims, which is a kind of ‘justice’, although there isn’t enough money on the planet to undo all the damage these men have done.

    I don’t know. How can a group of ‘Christians’ think that setting up a system where men expect women to kow-tow to their needs submissively is anything more than unwholesome???? It’s not ‘love’; not when it’s MANdated by misogynists, no.
    And in that environment of male-headship, what unfolds may begin with the torment of women who need to be put in their place, but once-released, the forces of evil will take their own direction and become something that the original planners can not control . . . . hence you get some fairly egregious abuse of women and children, and yes even men who might stand up and try to speak reason to power.

    Demanding ‘submission’ from people is an ugly business.

  252. Lydia wrote:

    The real problem is people want to be led instead of self govern. They honestly believe the leaders have the answers.

    What is the Christian formation for the development of ‘moral conscience’ within the neo-Cal theology???

    There has to be SOME concept of personal responsibility for decision-making, for actions taken . . .

    if NOT, I have to ask what IS the deal???

    Are people being instructed to rely solely on ‘leadership’ for ALL moral direction and not to run it through their own consciences where they can consider their own personal situations in real time, and pray for guidance???

    I think this ‘leaning’ on leaders is contingent on an absence of education and training in the working of God-given moral conscience as a part of Christian formation. Is there something to this as a part of the problem?

  253. Burwell wrote:

    Join a small fellowship that preaches “Jesus and Him crucified” but has no desire to become the next mega/multi-site/church planting hub/trendy/etc. They are out there but can be hard to find as they don’t tend to attract much attention to themselves.

    Now if I could just find one that preaches “Jesus and Him Risen” I just might be persuaded to meet up with em’…

  254. Muff Potter wrote:

    Burwell wrote:

    Join a small fellowship that preaches “Jesus and Him crucified” but has no desire to become the next mega/multi-site/church planting hub/trendy/etc. They are out there but can be hard to find as they don’t tend to attract much attention to themselves.

    Now if I could just find one that preaches “Jesus and Him Risen” I just might be persuaded to meet up with em’…

    Hi MUFF,
    find a faith community that concentrates on Lenten preparation for Easter: then you get the best of both, Christ and Him Crucified, and the celebration of the Risen Lord …..

    Easter without Lenten preparation seems shallow compared to Easter celebrated after a full Lenten season of prayer and preparation for the celebration of Easter …. that is, if you are into following the Church year …. I don’t think most evangelical people are into this, but some do go through a kind of Lenten preparation for Easter, yes.

  255. Christiane wrote:

    What is the Christian formation for the development of ‘moral conscience’ within the neo-Cal theology???
    There has to be SOME concept of personal responsibility for decision-making, for actions taken . . .
    if NOT, I have to ask what IS the deal???
    Are people being instructed to rely solely on ‘leadership’ for ALL moral direction and not to run it through their own consciences where they can consider their own personal situations in real time, and pray for guidance???

    I think so. Add to that the promise that men get to rule over the women and children, and may one day be an elder in that church telling the whole church what to do.

    This movement really appeals to men with mental issues and control issues, and I believe they go after young men who still haven’t studied the Bible much for themselves. Those men get promised to be allowed to control, which is so opposite the example of Jesus. Those men turn around an abuse the women and children, leading to a pattern of psychological reinforcement of that abuse.

    I have no doubt that many of the children of this movement will rebel and go far away from it, and cause it to completely disintegrate in the future.

  256. ishy wrote:

    Those men get promised to be allowed to control, which is so opposite the example of Jesus.

    This is a huge problem.

    But why would authority in one thing lead you to allow somebody else authority who is so obviously a problem (like, just for example, men awaiting trial for abusing children)? Do you think this one is simple good ole boy network/nepotism?

    I think that seems to be what has been created. Boys club. No girls allowed. Hire family and family of family and people we know from conferences, etc..

  257. Burwell wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
    A small independent Fellowship was what messed me up in the mid-Seventies. Like independent house churches, they have no outside reality check if they go sour and/or abusive. Even without intentions, entropy easily sets in over time and they can drift into serious Cult territory.
    HUG, I am sorry that happened. I wasn’t thinking independent, actually – it could be aligned with the denomination of your choice, but just not one interested in becoming a major player or adopting the sell-your-soul-to-grow-your-church groupthink we so regularly discuss here.

    Elizabeth Easter wrote about this on her blog and in her book Girl at The End of The World.

    I’ve started blogging, post tour-of-duty on my journey of healing from an authoritarian NeoCalivnist church and included it in a blog post: https://gbfsvchurchabuse.org/2016/08/31/top-ten-signs-of-a-potentially-abusive-church-by-elizabeth-esther/

  258. Christiane wrote:

    I think this ‘leaning’ on leaders is contingent on an absence of education and training in the working of God-given moral conscience as a part of Christian formation. Is there something to this as a part of the problem?

    I have never been in a hyper authoritarian church, but let me contribute this to the conversation. Among some people there is such an emphasis on doctrine that one may wonder if they believe in salvation by doctrine alone. In that sort of situation, the leaders are the keepers of the doctrine, the ones who have been to school and learned what the doctrines are and who can convey that information to those who may not know all that.

    In all my years as a baptist I never, that would be never, heard any emphasis on conscience per se-other than what was taught me at home that one cannot trust the conscience since it was in a fallen state. Well, there is something to that, but no emphasis was placed on training the conscience–only on understanding doctrine and memorizing bible verses.

    So yes, in that sense people are taught bible, which is certainly training the conscience. But also no, the idea that one would make independent decisions apart from something specific in scripture, that was pretty much a no no. And I repeat, the pastors and teachers are the keepers of the knowledge as it were which enables one to adhere to scripture as understood by some particular group. Explainers of scripture-an absolutely crucial position of authority in that sense.

  259. okrapod wrote:

    In all my years as a baptist I never, that would be never, heard any emphasis on conscience per se-other than what was taught me at home that one cannot trust the conscience since it was in a fallen state. Well, there is something to that, but no emphasis was placed on training the conscience–only on understanding doctrine and memorizing bible verses.

    So yes, in that sense people are taught bible, which is certainly training the conscience.

  260. Muff Potter wrote:

    Now if I could just find one that preaches “Jesus and Him Risen” I just might be persuaded to meet up with em’…

    Haha.

    I was quoting Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:2 – For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you but Jesus Christ and Him crucified (NIV). And yes, I called Him Jesus, not simply Christ. 🙂

  261. Lea wrote:

    But why would authority in one thing lead you to allow somebody else authority who is so obviously a problem (like, just for example, men awaiting trial for abusing children)? Do you think this one is simple good ole boy network/nepotism?
    I think that seems to be what has been created. Boys club. No girls allowed. Hire family and family of family and people we know from conferences, etc..

    The promise to be an elder is not going to be be fulfilled in most cases. One reason is that those positions are often filled right at the beginning. I think it’s the ole carrot and the stick trick.

    There certainly seems to be a lot of nepotism. But I don’t know that this movement appeals to as many people as they seem to think it will. That’s why they have to take over churches instead of planting new ones.

  262. okrapod wrote:

    In all my years as a baptist I never, that would be never, heard any emphasis on conscience per se-other than what was taught me at home that one cannot trust the conscience since it was in a fallen state

    See, I never heard this ‘don’t trust your conscience’ thing until I started researching here. Your conscience is very important! How are people supposed to live believing they cannot trust themselves on basic things like this? No wonder there are so many problems.

    ishy wrote:

    But I don’t know that this movement appeals to as many people as they seem to think it will. That’s why they have to take over churches instead of planting new ones.

    Hm. I don’t know. The big mega’s don’t seem to be so much neo-cals, but they are very friendly with them. It’s really weird.

  263. okrapod wrote:

    In all my years as a baptist I never, that would be never, heard any emphasis on conscience per se-other than what was taught me at home that one cannot trust the conscience since it was in a fallen state. Well, there is something to that, but no emphasis was placed on training the conscience–only on understanding doctrine and memorizing bible verses.

    So yes, in that sense people are taught bible, which is certainly training the conscience. But also no, the idea that one would make independent decisions apart from something specific in scripture, that was pretty much a no no.

    Thanks, OKRAPOD
    this helps explain some of the dependency on ‘leadership’, especially if:
    1. moral conscience is deemed ‘untrustworthy’ and
    2. there is heavy reliance on ‘leadership’ for interpretation of sacred Scriptures

    I might assume that there is reliance on the Holy Spirit at least in the reading and studying of the sacred Scriptures,
    but I wonder what a person does when their ‘take’ on the Scriptures differs from what ‘leadership’ tells them it ‘means’? Do they then, trust themselves as enlightened by the Holy Spirit; or do they then lay aside their own encounter with Scriptures and accept what they are told it means by ‘leadership’?

    The concept of a ‘moral conscience’ trained in Christian formation is what WOULD keep an authoritarian Church from becoming a cult. If ‘moral conscience’ is dismissed as ‘reliable’; that strengthened the ‘authority’ of ‘leadership’.

    In a faith community where a person’s OWN informed moral conscience, when exercised after considering one’s personal situation, what the Church teaches, and after prayer for guidance from the Holy Spirit, takes priority over ANY external authoritarian direction,
    it is almost impossible for a ‘cult’ situation to develop where ‘submitting to authority’ is man-dated.

    I think that the active acceptance of the priority of personal moral conscience may be the one thing that has kept Christian orthodoxy clear of ‘cult’ thinking …… because it allows the Holy Spirit to BE the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian person directly. That is one of the foundations of the faith, yes. Without it, external ‘authority’ can squash one’s internal frame of moral reference and ability to meet with God in the sanctuary that is one’s conscience.

    Does this make sense?

  264. Lea wrote:

    Hm. I don’t know. The big mega’s don’t seem to be so much neo-cals, but they are very friendly with them. It’s really weird.

    I think there is definitely an old boy network with the pastors. I just am not sure it trickles down to the members.

  265. Lydia wrote:

    You were never taught soul competency which would necessitate those things?

    We have talked about this before, but I think that we are not talking about the same thing when we use the term ‘soul competency.’ I never heard those specific words until I ran into them here on TWW. Never. However, when I google ‘soul competency’ for a definition what I see there does not seem to be what you are saying, so we may be talking about two different things. If you mean that a person is personally responsible to God above all else, then certainly that concept was taught, and that is what I see on google. If you mean that one’s own thoughts and feelings (the conscience) are sufficient in themselves without scripture to mediate that personal responsibility to God, then no that was not what I was taught. First. last and in between it was always ‘what does the bible say about that’ and one then was expected to go by what the bible said, not by what one just thought for themselves. That does not leave out reason, it does not leave out exegesis, it does not leave out what various theologians might think, but it does completely eliminate any thing that would displace scripture as the source of decision making. Sola scriptura.

    http://www.theopedia.com/soul-competency

    Note in that article the comment that there has been criticism of Mullins’ view as possibly undermining baptist theology and biblical doctrine. I assume that my family and what was being taught at the specific churches where I was back when were among those to took issue with Mullins over this idea.

  266. ishy wrote:

    This movement really appeals to men with mental issues and control issues, and I believe they go after young men who still haven’t studied the Bible much for themselves. Those men get promised to be allowed to control, which is so opposite the example of Jesus. Those men turn around an abuse the women and children, leading to a pattern of psychological reinforcement of that abuse.

    from the victim’s stories, I think what you are saying has credibility, yes. People are drawn to that which fulfills their own needs, and if a ‘church’ sets up a system where the set-up involves ‘submission’, chances are that is fertile ground for trouble and the abuses which occur.

  267. Lydia wrote:

    @ okrapod:
    You were never taught soul competency which would necessitate those things?

    Lydia, didn’t the doctrine of ‘soul competency’ take a hit when Patterson put the 2000 BF&M changes into play?

    That was my understanding.

  268. Christiane wrote:

    Does this make sense?

    It does.

    Now let me drop this other reality into the conversation. I never heard the word ‘Holy Ghost’ as it was said back then, until I was somewhere around 10 or 11 and then I heard it from another child-not parents or church. Exception to that would be the trinitarian baptismal formula. So when this kid used the word I pretended that I knew what she was talking about to save face, and then set out to investigate.

    You have to understand that for some folks back then the trinity almost seemed like the Father the Son and the Bible, not doctrinally but in practice. I know that people have a lot of problems with the conservative resurgence, but from my standpoint the sbc style baptists had got into such a mess that something needed done. Unfortunately…well, we all know the rest of the story.

  269. okrapod wrote:

    I know that people have a lot of problems with the conservative resurgence, but from my standpoint the sbc style baptists had got into such a mess that something needed done. Unfortunately…well, we all know the rest of the story.

    Looks like the ‘Resurgence’ went too far in the OTHER direction. Frankly, when ‘diversity’ takes that much of a hit, you can get some ‘cult’ stuff developing …. and ‘diversity’ sure did take a hit when the missionaries who spoke in tongues were sadly targeted. It was a power play, which posed as ‘getting rid of those %%%%% liberals’. Patterson’s group threw out some critically-needed ‘controls’ on their own power when they attacked (or allowed attack on) diversity and ‘soul competency’, I think. Yes, it looks like they went too far toward the OTHER extreme, resulting in creating an opening for the neo-Cal movement.

  270. Velour wrote:

    I know.
    Why is this so *hard* for churches to get right?

    I don’t know. I can’t come up with anything that makes sense. I mean, this kind of thing is intentionally guarded against in secular settings with children. Christians many times do not guard against this – and even cover it up! Ichabod.

  271. Christiane wrote:

    I suppose that is the effect that Mohler’s Calvinism (TULIP) has on his thinking (Total Depravity) ???

    Probably. But Mohler did not start all this about soul competency as you can tell by what Lydia and I are saying-criticism of Mullins in not new apparently-or limited to calvinist thinking since my people were not calvinists. It probably has to do with disagreeing on ‘experience’ like the article said.

    And while we are at it, Wesley’s quadrilateral includes ‘experience’ along with scripture, tradition and reason as to the variables determining what people believe, but Hooker’s three legged stool does not include experience but only scripture, tradition and reason. People are divided on what they think in this area, not just the baptists. But sola scriptura does not include anything but scripture, including not tradition or reason. IMO talking about conscience does indeed get close to reason and experience, except I don’t think that is a bad thing.

  272. Christiane wrote:

    and ‘diversity’ sure did take a hit when the missionaries who spoke in tongues were sadly targeted. It was a power play, which posed as ‘getting rid of those %%%%% liberals’.

    It is really weird to hear missionaries speaking in tongues labeled as ‘liberal’.

  273. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    I can’t come up with anything that makes sense.

    IT is truly mind boggling. Any decent person would want to protect children. Any sensible person would want to protect an organization from liabilities. To know that church leadership is made up of so many with no decency or sense is disturbing.

  274. okrapod wrote:

    But sola scriptura does not include anything but scripture, including not tradition or reason. IMO talking about conscience does indeed get close to reason and experience, except I don’t think that is a bad thing.

    And yet, in sacred Scripture, we learn about the law that God inscribes on the hearts of human persons, this:
    “I will put My laws on their hearts and write them on their minds”
    so, from this Scripture, would this not flow logically:

    “”Deep within his conscience,
    man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey.
    Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment. . . .
    For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God. . .
    His conscience is man’s most secret core and his sanctuary.
    There he is alone with God Whose Voice echoes in his depths.”

    I suppose ‘reason’ also is something that is challenged, and yet God is the God of the natural world, which is ordered out of chaos;
    and He has allowed human persons to be able to use reason, as one of His gifts to us.

    ‘Sola Scriptura’ is one topic that seems to be more misunderstood than not.

  275. Lea wrote:

    It is really weird to hear missionaries speaking in tongues labeled as ‘liberal’.

    The missionaries were victims of the culling of diversity within the SBC, which apparently was seen as intolerable to the new leadership. They were told to ‘sign’ or resign, and many had the integrity to resign. They lost over seventy missionaries at that time.

  276. Christiane wrote:

    Lea wrote:
    It is really weird to hear missionaries speaking in tongues labeled as ‘liberal’.
    The missionaries were victims of the culling of diversity within the SBC, which apparently was seen as intolerable to the new leadership.

    I am aware. Just commenting on the ‘liberal’ part of it, which sounds strange.

  277. Lea wrote:

    Just commenting on the ‘liberal’ part of it, which sounds strange.

    My understanding is that the general target of the ‘Resurgence’ was to get rid of ‘liberal excesses’ that had arisen, especially within seminaries. I do know that ‘leadership’ in the Resurgence apparently had a pet peeve with them what spoke in tongues, but as to why they wanted this group ‘out’, I have always supposed they did it because they COULD. I would call the culling of those missionaries an attack against a healthy diversity within the SBC, and the missionaries belonged to a faith group that ‘leadership’ no longer wanted to have influence in the SBC.

    That word ‘liberals’ may have been a ‘cover phrase’ for a lot of pet peeves that ‘leadership’ dealt with in those days, but I don’t think that the missionaries were called ‘liberals’, no. I could be wrong. They were out because they spoke in tongues. And they wouldn’t ‘sign’, to their credit.

  278. @ Lea:

    “Let me just say, we had a situation at an office I worked in where they found someone with child porn. He was fired and escorted off the premises that day. And we had nothing to do with children.

    Why can’t churches have as much sense?”
    +++++++++++++++++++

    Church is crazy land.

    During the week at a church office, there is so much pressure to look happy, cheerful, smiley, friendly… where a zero-tolerance policy is concerned, my observation is that it is in the realm of “relational tension”. church must be a relational tension-free zone (to be legit). [and of course ‘legit’ is important because of money]

    ‘we have to have awesome relationships with each other, and if we don’t, we pretend that we do for appearance’s sake.’

    kind of like one of the jobs of a celebrity is to look like they are having the time of their life (or anyone’s life).

  279. @ okrapod:

    Thanks for the link.

    “This view emphasizes that each person (soul) is individually and personally accountable to God and “competent” to relate to God without mediation through other humans or human institutions.”

    This is exactly what we were taught. Not sure how this is done without being in touch with ones own conscious and developing wisdom over time? And the bible does not have answers to every single question or conflict that comes ones way, obviously.

    Btw: I never heard ‘sola scriptura’ and the other solas except in the Reformed world. I often get the feeling that some today would have called us “works” type Christians back then. :o)

  280. @ BeenThereDoneThat:
    Lol! I love this. So true. Actually it’s a real problem. Why isn’t anyone asking why? We have to ask where did people learn to be such lemmings after all they are in a place where they are paying for a service, right?

    But That one is more wholesome than the Milgram experiment! That one is chilling….

    I saw an old proverb: I would rather file down the claws of a tiger than teach a sheep to attack. ( take out the war like metaphor and think ‘take on life’)

  281. @ Christiane:
    I honestly don’t know. I was not in the SBC much during the CR or in 2000. I heard all sorts of stories from extended family with all our ties to SBTS back then. PP was not very influential in this neck of the woods in SBC circles. In fact, many here saw Criswell (his mentor) as a sort of backwoods demagogue. He sold mini busts of himself at one convention back in the 90’s(?). (my mom came back thinking that was as about as low class and crass as one could get…unusual to hear such from her) It is all so much worse today, of course.

    I did have some extended family leave the mission field after about 20 years when they were required to sign the BFM 2000. the wife had an M.Div so lead worship and preached while her husband was working the bush. They could not sign because of the restriction on women. They don’t do creeds anyway. It was a horrible situation for them.

    PP is interesting. Until I read Joel Gregory’s book and started blogging I had no idea he spent most of the post CR years one step gap head of the firing ax but always landing on his feet. One blogger was mentored by him, grew a conscious, left and started telling lots of secrets. Some were bizarre like the seminary paid very nice tombstone for PP’s dog. The blogger eventually landed in DC working for a senator. I think the last year he was in ministry was working for Wade. Last I heard he converted to Catholism. Up your alley!

    But PP is no Mohler. He probably had dreams of Mohlers power, though. :o)

  282. @ Refugee:
    This just breaks my heart. It is horrible to hear detailed child grooming and molestation stories….but we must. We must honor them with listening. We must have perspective on how damaging it is to every part of a person. What can we be as believers but strong advocates against this heinous evil?

  283. @ Christiane:

    Mohlers boys in appointed positions accused a Baptist college here as going “liberal”. Come to find out it was because they did not give tenure to a very Calvinist prof. Then these same Mohler appointed leaders, speaking for Ky baptists, threatened to take away the 1 million dollar a year subsidy to the college. The college said, ok. We don’t want it. :o)

    So liberal can be just about anything these days as can “right wing”. Each side loves their insults instead of just dealing with an issue.

  284. @ Christiane:

    Thanks again for your kind words. I know several good and wonderful Catholic people from St. Matthew’s parish here in my area. Their works define them and their faith IS their works. But alas, I’m too much the free-thinker and free-spirit to go the whole enchilada by conversion to Catholicism.

  285. Lydia wrote:

    But That one is more wholesome than the Milgram experiment!

    No kidding!
    I laughed so hard while watching the video of everyone standing. Someone on Facebook said it was from an episode of Brain Games called Peer Pressure.

  286. Lydia wrote:

    Mohlers boys in appointed positions accused a Baptist college here as going “liberal”. Come to find out it was because they did not give tenure to a very Calvinist prof. Then these same Mohler appointed leaders, speaking for Ky baptists, threatened to take away the 1 million dollar a year subsidy to the college. The college said, ok. We don’t want it. :o)

    Now THAT’S a Baptist college to be proud of! That is what I call integrity. Thanks for sharing that.

  287. @ elastigirl:

    “…so much pressure to look happy, cheerful, smiley, friendly… where a zero-tolerance policy is concerned, my observation is that it is in the realm of “relational tension”. church must be a relational tension-free zone (to be legit).”
    +++++++++++++++++++

    so, what i was getting at is my observation for why church leaders accommodate ‘questionable behavior’ in their staff and themselves (which, of course, in this context is criminal behavior to people who breath oxygenated air), instead of being tough.

  288. Lea wrote:

    Yes. I just don’t know how to fix that except to reject it utterly and leave that type of church.

    On the friedman quote, I share your political concerns, but I thought it was applicable to these church cases too. Where you cannot be assured of decent people, you have to make it profitable for them to do the right thing and painful for them to do the wrong thing. In cases of abuse, the painful part would be consequences either legal, financial or in the form of firings or removal of people from jobs/office as elders. That didn’t happen with the Village Church. It probably won’t happen here. I don’t know how to make it happen.

    I was just thinking that a whole lot of ideas have made their way into the churches through para-church organizations. The members of the churches begin to demand the kind of things they’ve heard or read about through these groups. Maybe education aimed directly at the people?

    It’s tough though because it’s a subject no one wants to think about or be reminded of.

    Also,there seems to be an established Christian promotional/marketing thing that that pushes all these groups and ideas, so if one had a contrary message, not sure how they would get it heard.

    Yeah, I don’t really know.

  289. Lea wrote:

    It is really weird to hear missionaries speaking in tongues labeled as ‘liberal’.

    Our SBC church (the men, actually, because they are the only ones allowed to speak) was up in arms over that. Our church is in an area that has a large proportion of Pentecostals. Not only do Pentecostals speak in tongues, they allow “Lady” preachers (gasp)! I’ve wondered if they might have feared that accepting speaking in tongues in the SBC would be one of the infamous slippery slopes, leading to the acceptance of female pastor?

  290. Lydia wrote:

    The blogger eventually landed in DC working for a senator. I think the last year he was in ministry was working for Wade. Last I heard he converted to Catholism.

    I know who you are referring to and no, I don’t believe he converted. People do convert out from the kind of fundamentalism that Patterson comes from, but it’s more into some mainland Christian denomination or possibly Episcopalian or Anglican. Some eventually do make it all the way across the Tiber (my alley 🙂 and some find a refuge in the beautiful eastern Orthodox Churches, which is REALLY a change for them coming into eastern Christian ways of seeing the faith of Our Lord …. very beautiful liturgies and ancient liturgies in those Churches.

    I wonder if that man you referred to ever found peace. Apparently he was intelligent and troubled enough in conscience to seek a better situation. And maybe he felt that spilling the beans on the dark side of the Resurgence would help the SBC and the whole Church. (?)
    People’s faith journeys take them to some strange places sometimes, but I think folks know when they eventually find a community where they are able to pray in peace.

  291. elastigirl wrote:

    ‘we have to have awesome relationships with each other, and if we don’t, we pretend that we do for appearance’s sake.’

    It’s such a relief to be out of that scene.

  292. Muff Potter wrote:

    @ Christiane:

    Thanks again for your kind words. I know several good and wonderful Catholic people from St. Matthew’s parish here in my area. Their works define them and their faith IS their works. But alas, I’m too much the free-thinker and free-spirit to go the whole enchilada by conversion to Catholicism.

    Hi MUFF,
    Lenten practice is not necessarily ‘Catholicism’, just recommending the practice for someone who wants to experience an Easter celebration in its fullness as a part of the whole Paschal Event. Catholicism is often too far a journey to make for people not born into it, and believe me, Catholics are the first to understand how difficult it can be.
    As long as Christians remember the words of St. Peter ‘To whom shall we go, Lord. Thou hast the words of eternal life’, and they cannot go far wrong.

  293. Prayer Request: Former CLCer will be having eye surgery tomorrow in the D.C. area
    and a follow up check up the day after. Please pray for a successful surgery, rides, and help from others. (This was posted on the Open Discussion thread.)

    Thank you!

  294. Velour wrote:

    Velour UNITED STATES on Fri Sep 02, 2016 at 12:33 AM said:

    Prayer Request: Former CLCer will be having eye surgery tomorrow in the D.C. area
    and a follow up check up the day after. Please pray for a successful surgery, rides, and help from others. (This was posted on the Open Discussion thread.)

    Thank you!

    I will keep vigil tonight for the success of the surgery for Former CLCer …. I have three eye surgeries myself in recent years, including a partial corneal transplant which was successful, and I will be more than glad to pray for anyone beginning an surgical eye procedure, yes

  295. @ Christiane:
    It was a long time ago. Maybe he was just thinking about it as he attended. I know nothing about that conversion process.

    I don’t view PP and the like as fundamentalists but politicians selling their personal brand. They aren’t consistent enough to be fundamentalists. :o)

    Example:word on the street for years is the private prayer language bit came from PP’s desire to rid the IMB of its then current President for his own reasons. So he started a witch hunt over charismata.

  296. Lydia wrote:

    @ Christiane:
    It was a long time ago. Maybe he was just thinking about it as he attended. I know nothing about that conversion process.

    I don’t view PP and the like as fundamentalists but politicians selling their personal brand. They aren’t consistent enough to be fundamentalists. :o)

    Example:word on the street for years is the private prayer language bit came from PP’s desire to rid the IMB of its then current President for his own reasons. So he started a witch hunt over charismata.

    Wow. And he heads a seminary. My God!

  297. @ Lydia
    @Christianne

    I agree that PP and a whole bunch of the bunch are primarily politicians. They are not fundamentalists. Fundamentalism has a very different ‘feel’ compared to evangelicalism. Of course there are some similarities and some overlap on some issues.

    For one thing they think differently about ‘the world’. Fundamentalists tend to view the world primarily as something to be avoided, while evangelicals tend to view the world as something to be converted. Both may rail against the world, but with a different attitude. For the evangelical the evil world is the enemy/ opposition to be conquered. For the fundamentalist the evil world is what one builds an ark for themselves and their family to avoid when judgment comes.

    So, how many points are there on a line? There are almost that many individual variations on this theme. What I have said is a ‘feel’ that I get from both movements-fundamentalism and evangelicalism. And this is not the only difference. There are also the issues of personal holiness, attitudes toward education and science and family, and if I were not still sleepy I could think of some more. The Calvinistas look to me like militant political pseudo-conservative evangelicals.

  298. Lydia wrote:

    In fact, many here saw Criswell (his mentor) as a sort of backwoods demagogue. He sold mini busts of himself at one convention back in the 90’s(?). (my mom came back thinking that was as about as low class and crass as one could get…unusual to hear such from her) It is all so much worse today, of course

    I can’t quote Criswell word for word, but he said that the man who pastors a church is the ruler of the church. He was a god at the church he pastor end in Dallas. That makes me wonder if he started a lot of what is wrong with our SBC churches today.

  299. Lydia wrote:

    Example:word on the street for years is the private prayer language bit came from PP’s desire to rid the IMB of its then current President for his own reasons. So he started a witch hunt over charismata.

    One word: COUP.

    Dantonists stage a Coup on the Hebertists.
    Jacobins stage a Coup on the Dantonists.
    Thermidorians stage a Coup on the Jacobins…

  300. Lydia wrote:

    In fact, many here saw Criswell (his mentor) as a sort of backwoods demagogue. He sold mini busts of himself at one convention back in the 90’s(?). (my mom came back thinking that was as about as low class and crass as one could get…

    That’s Third World Dictator shtick.

  301. Lea wrote:

    Christiane wrote:

    and ‘diversity’ sure did take a hit when the missionaries who spoke in tongues were sadly targeted. It was a power play, which posed as ‘getting rid of those %%%%% liberals’.

    It is really weird to hear missionaries speaking in tongues labeled as ‘liberal’.

    Righteous Mass Movements can do without a God, but HAVE to have a Devil.

    AND more important: WITCHES hiding among us to be smelled out.

  302. okrapod wrote:

    Unfortunately…well, we all know the rest of the story.

    Overthrew the Shah and got the Ayatollahs instead.

    Drove out the Communists and got the Taliban.

  303. okrapod wrote:

    The Calvinistas look to me like militant political pseudo-conservative evangelicals.

    I was thinking this very thing today.

  304. marquis wrote:

    And this busi about getting expert witnesses to downplay the boys trauma, that makes me want to smash their faces with my fist. Sorry but no one will truly ever know the impact of abuse on a child until it’s theirs and the parents live with watching their baby fall apart over it. Makes me sick!

    Back in the 1990s, I thought litigators working for Scientology were the absolute worst. But then I read an article in the (now defunct) Boston Phoenix in 2001, and it was about how the Catholic Church in Boston was using lawyers to basically destroy those who came forward with accounts of sexual abuse in the archdiocese. Note the date–it was a year before the Globe published its story and it didn’t have the impact the Globe’s story did. But the tale it told of how the lawyers for the Boston Archdiocese were basically abusing the victims again has stuck with me all these years.

    If Camp Kankakuk says it’s going to bring forward witnesses to discredit the harm juvenile campers had from sexual assault, that’s a big sign that their attorneys are going to turn this into a trial of the victims. How “Christian” of them. /sarcasm

  305. okrapod wrote:

    Whatever happened to reverence?

    I’d just point out that Jesus wasn’t very reverent in the holy temple.

    And I’m sure there are many people outside the House of Driscoll who think I’m defiling their holy temple just by standing on the sidewalk as a (very imperfect) warning about what’s within.

  306. BeenThereDoneThat wrote:

    Is there a shortage of lawyers who will sue on behalf of victims? How many other knowledgeable people, besides Boz Tchividjian, are having an impact raising awareness about this problem in churches?

    It’s a tough gig for lawyers trying to represent victims of clergy sexual abuse. The laws are different in each state; some states have very short time periods for victims to bring lawsuits. On top of that, it costs money to sue, and I’m not even talking about attorneys’ fees. You have to pay to file, you have to pay for discovery, to take depositions, to arrange for witnesses at the trial if it gets that far, etc., etc. All of this costs money and the law firm has to lay that money out. It could be literally years before a judgment comes in–if ever.

    Most of these cases are taken on a contingency fee basis. People complain about lawyers taking a 35 to 40 percent fee if there’s an award, but fail to remember that this includes all the costs of bringing the case and that can be a significant outlay of cash up front with no expectation of return. Most lawyers are not in a position financially to do it. And if something goes wrong–like the statute of limitations runs out and there’s no way to extend it in some way, shape or form–then the law firm eats the cost of the case.

    And there’s not even the psychological cost of these kinds of cases. I can’t even begin to imagine…

  307. nmgirl wrote:

    I escorted my parents to Branson once. I was far and away the youngest person in most crowds at 45. It was freaky seeing all these ancient country and music stars up close and personal with enough makeup and plastic surgery scars to plug up the river.

    When it comes to actors and other onstage entertainers, I cut them a lot of slack when it comes to plastic surgery. (Except when it really gets out-of-hand like Michael Jackson or Liberace.)

    Because to a performer, his/her appearance and looks are a valuable job asset, part of their on-stage/on-camera presence. It’s vital to their careers.

  308. mirele wrote:

    I did a Google search to find out more about Kamp Kanakuk and one of the first links was to this headline (from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 2013):

    “Kanakuk camp wants to be national model for stopping sex abuse”

    Just PR spinning about something doesn’t make it so.
    Type Example: North Korea and DEMOCRACY DEMOCRACY DEMOCRACY.

    “ABRACADABRA” = “I Speak And IT IS SO!”

  309. Lydia wrote:

    One of them got sun poisoning and if the other kid had not texted her she was never informed by the ‘godly’ SBTS youth leaders. She drove 4 hours to get them. The kid had been throwing up the entire afternoon and was left alone in the room. Trust your kids to these ‘godly’ idiots?

    But their Ideology is PURE, Comrades!

  310. Lydia wrote:

    @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    My daughter’s secular choir did that Acapella for a candlight Christmas concert in an old cathedral. it was very moving.

    The time I heard it that had THE most impact was on a CD by this one small-press Furry cartoonist from VA who was passing them out at AnthroCon some 15 years ago. It was a sampler album for his garage band, and right in the middle of all these Furry filksongs comes “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent”, sung Absolutely Straight.

  311. mirele wrote:

    It’s a tough gig for lawyers trying to represent victims of clergy sexual abuse.

    Thank you for the detailed information. In light of all of that, I’d rather have a church implement some sort of sexual abuse prevention program to mitigate the risk to children, than for a family to have to endure an uncertain legal process to seek justice for a violated child. Not that I’m naive enough anymore to trust a church to do the right thing. That’s why I’m a Done, and my kids don’t go to church.

  312. Christiane wrote:

    Some eventually do make it all the way across the Tiber (my alley 🙂 and some find a refuge in the beautiful eastern Orthodox Churches, which is REALLY a change for them coming into eastern Christian ways of seeing the faith of Our Lord …. very beautiful liturgies and ancient liturgies in those Churches.

    I wish EO churches didn’t meet at the same time as the House of Driscoll. Maybe when this season of life has passed, I can investigate Orthodoxy.

  313. @ okrapod:

    I’m going to disagree with you on that. He was in the temple courts, he was disrupting the precursors to worship, which included trading the evil Roman money for holy temple money so people could buy sacrificial animals.

    And I’m going to point out that my presence on the sidewalk outside Mark Driscoll’s holy temple could be seen as extremely disturbing to the people inside. It’s not inside the church, but it’s only a few feet from the church’s parking lot, front walk, etc.

    If I followed what you said, I would have to pack up my signs and sit on my hands 15 miles away instead of warning people (in my quite imperfect way).

    There are very few things/people above criticism in my world. Putting a building on a pedestal does not fall in that category.

  314. mirele wrote:

    @ okrapod:
    I’m going to disagree with you on that. He was in the temple courts, he was disrupting the precursors to worship, which included trading the evil Roman money for holy temple money so people could buy sacrificial animals.
    And I’m going to point out that my presence on the sidewalk outside Mark Driscoll’s holy temple could be seen as extremely disturbing to the people inside. It’s not inside the church, but it’s only a few feet from the church’s parking lot, front walk, etc.
    If I followed what you said, I would have to pack up my signs and sit on my hands 15 miles away instead of warning people (in my quite imperfect way).
    There are very few things/people above criticism in my world. Putting a building on a pedestal does not fall in that category.

    Brava, Mirle. I’m with you and so are scores of others. Props to Todd Wilhelm for joining you when he was visiting the U.S. again from the Middle East.

    You are performing an invaluable public service.

    And the real issue is this: If Mark Driscoll had made any effort at a real amends to the people he harmed, like Paul Petry and his wife Jonna, their children, and others for the firings, excommunications, and shunnings…and all of the other lies and abuses…you wouldn’t be out there.

    If the guy was in a 12-step program with a sponsor on his heels, he’d be making amends, not defending the indefensible.

  315. Mr. Jesperson wrote:

    I wish to thank again all of those who have websites and our choosing to shed light on these “church” scandals. We are instructed to expose the evil that lies in the shadows. We should never forget that we live in the middle of a spiritual war where there are no cease fires. There are powers that are ancient and evil that we cannot see that lie behind the scandals that we can. Jesus did not mince words. If you believe his words, they tell you to not judge superficially, by the image that is projected. But by the fruit that is produced.
    There is a false “Church” today in this world. It is nothing new, it has been around since the early days of the first church. It is led by false teachers and false prophets (or profits.) It cannot be discerned by externals so much (as the theology it claims to hold, or denomination it belongs to) as it is discerned by what it actually produces over time. The real church following the real Jesus produces disciples who grow in the FRUIT of the spirit, not the mere knowledge of some religious system. Real leaders are humble and they are transparent. They take responsibility when they screw up. They promote Jesus, not their own brand. They live their life in a way to show that they despise Mammon as their example. They are unfortunately few around us.
    If we practice Jesus teaching, then we will judge leaders and their churches by what is actually produced. If they are doing stupid things and then make excuses for not making wise decisions, they are of the false church, regardless of who or what they loudly proclaim. If they cover up scandal to protect their damned reputations then they are false. Please do not make the mistake of assuming that either all “Christian pastors” are good or that they all are evil. There always has been a small percentage that are good and a larger percentage that are not. We should not be surprised about any of this because, again, Jesus warned us before hand. So did the Apostle Paul. There are tares out there. There are goats. There are wolves in sheep’s clothing. That is why they both told us to be diligent. We must fight the good fight. Life is a minefield. Not everything labeled “church” is promoting the Truth. These scandals testify to this reality. Jesus is powerful to produce life in his true followers. Satan is powerful to produce every kind of vice, greed and scandal in those who are deceived. The proof is in the fruit.

    Amazingly good comment. Thank you.

  316. mirele wrote:

    There are very few things/people above criticism in my world. Putting a building on a pedestal does not fall in that category.

    What I said has nothing to do with a building; we are not Jews at a temple in Jerusalem. This is apples and oranges. What I said has to do with an attitude of worship if one is in the act of, in fact, worshipping. Neither you nor the other people in the parking lot are in the act of worshipping.

    But for Jesus it did have to do with that temple/ that building in Jerusalem and what he said was ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’. These are two entirely different things.

  317. http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/01/us/university-of-kentucky-sues-student-newspaper-sexual-assault/index.html
    Covering up sexual abuse isn’t limited to churches and para-churches.
    A professor at the University of Kentucky harassed and molested some of the students. He was dismissed under a blanket of lies. UK never made the facts public. The campus newspaper published the facts because they were afraid the prof would move on to another university and repeat the acts. The newspaper is now being sued by UK, under the claim that, in order to protect the victims, the facts should not be made public.

  318. @ Nancy2:
    Colleges are often very bad in dealing with rape, too. Even some small towns. Ever read about Stuebenville Ohio and how the city law enforcement and officials covered up gang rape by the High School football team? Because as you know, football scholarships are more important than a teenage girl.

  319. okrapod wrote:

    I agree that PP and a whole bunch of the bunch are primarily politicians. They are not fundamentalists. Fundamentalism has a very different ‘feel’ compared to evangelicalism. Of course there are some similarities and some overlap on some issues.

    I would have much rather had Patterson at SEBTS than Akin. Patterson might have been a politician, but his staff was pretty academically diverse.

    But I’m still a bit traumatized by the tour of his office, which had all manner of animal trophies. Those poor zebras and giraffes.

  320. Lydia wrote:

    @ Nancy2:
    Colleges are often very bad in dealing with rape, too. Even some small towns. Ever read about Stuebenville Ohio and how the city law enforcement and officials covered up gang rape by the High School football team? Because as you know, football scholarships are more important than a teenage girl.

    I remember that Ohio case. Wicked.

  321. okrapod wrote:

    mirele wrote:
    There are very few things/people above criticism in my world. Putting a building on a pedestal does not fall in that category.
    What I said has nothing to do with a building; we are not Jews at a temple in Jerusalem. This is apples and oranges. What I said has to do with an attitude of worship if one is in the act of, in fact, worshipping. Neither you nor the other people in the parking lot are in the act of worshipping.
    But for Jesus it did have to do with that temple/ that building in Jerusalem and what he said was ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’. These are two entirely different things.

    The Bible also says that we’re not to call good people evil and evil people good.
    Mark Driscoll is an evil man. The damage he inflicted on thousands. Countless excommunications, shunnings, firings. Threats of violence. Outright lies. Plagiarized material for his book. Book got to the New York Times bestseller list by being unfairly positioned in sales by Result Source.

    God is honored by Mirele’s work. At least she cares.

  322. ishy wrote:

    But I’m still a bit traumatized by the tour of his office, which had all manner of animal trophies. Those poor zebras and giraffes.

    Killing just for pleasure and flaunting the evidence says a lot about those who do it. Almost as much as creating your own stained glass memorial and putting it on display while you are still in power.

  323. Christiane wrote:

    Killing just for pleasure and flaunting the evidence says a lot about those who do it.

    Particularly when those who do it depend on the assistance of guides, trackers, and sometimes bait to make their kills. I have no problem with hunting for food or defending against animals that are pests/threats, but hunting for personal glory ….. no. I do have a large rattlesnake hide hanging on a wall and my husband has a mounted bobcat, but we were not hunting them. They were what we consider pests and threats.

  324. @ Velour:

    I did not say anything remotely related to Mirele or MD and/or what she is doing in my original comment. Please check out what I actually said in the original comment. I talked about worship services and the presence or absence of reverence as related to my childhood church and my current church. Please do not anybody make this about anything other than what I actually said. I have no idea how Mirele understood my original comment to have anything to do with anything else. I am thinking that this is a text book case of misunderstanding all the way around.

  325. Lydia wrote:

    @ Nancy2:
    Colleges are often very bad in dealing with rape, too. Even some small towns. Ever read about Stuebenville Ohio and how the city law enforcement and officials covered up gang rape by the High School football team? Because as you know, football scholarships are more important than a teenage girl.

    Anyone who survived high school and wasn’t a quarterback or cheerleader could tell you that.

  326. Robert wrote:

    Many will say to Me on that day, didn’t we run Christian camps in your name, and publish books in your Name, and promote purity of doctrine and gender roles in your Name? And I will say to them, be gone from Me — I never knew you, workers of lawlessness.

    — Matt 7:22-23 (paraphrased)

    Amen.

  327. Christiane wrote:

    Lea wrote:

    Pride. It’s all pride. They actually believe they can tell who is elect! Just, because. Crazy.

    time to stop trusting in these clowns who preach that they KNOW who ‘is saved’ or who ‘is a real Christian’

    What was ever wrong with trusting in Jesus Christ ?
    When did that go by? When did the simple trusting in Our Lord become obsolete?

    Too many want a big show of everything, with ‘celebrities’ and entertaining music. . . .
    but how does God doesn’t meet with them there when He has said,
    ‘Be still and know that I am God’?

    Oh wow! You just put your finger on the problem… These people are too busy running around, putting on a “show”, that they can’t bother with a simple thing like, say, telling folks about Jesus Christ. (I suppose it is a bit hard to work that into all the hats & horns).

  328. Christiane wrote:

    Lea wrote:

    Pride. It’s all pride. They actually believe they can tell who is elect! Just, because. Crazy.

    time to stop trusting in these clowns who preach that they KNOW who ‘is saved’ or who ‘is a real Christian’

    What was ever wrong with trusting in Jesus Christ ?

    But then you can’t play “Me Sheep! You Goat! Haw! Haw! Haw!” one-upmanship games.

  329. zooey111 wrote:

    Oh wow! You just put your finger on the problem… These people are too busy running around, putting on a “show”, that they can’t bother with a simple thing like, say, telling folks about Jesus Christ. (I suppose it is a bit hard to work that into all the hats & horns).

    And I already used up my EL&P ration for this thread…

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