I Thought He Was Taking Me for Ice Cream: One Woman’s #MeToo Story of Molestation By Her Former Youth Pastor, Andy Savage

“I am sickened by the thought that young adult or teenage girls are expected to be glorified erotic actresses playing the script of their sex hungry boyfriends.” Andy Savage 

Several weeks ago I received an email from Jules Woodson and a phone call from Kenny Stubblefield and Brooks Hansen. Amy Smith of Watch Keep was contacted as well. Jules had reached out to Kenny and Brooks due to a story posted at The Wartburg Watch link and link. It is important to note that both Amy and I have had previous contact with HIghpoint Church Memphis due to those posts.

We all conferenced together via phone, along with Darcy, a friend of Jules who is an important reason that this story is being told. Our subsequent conversations profoundly affected me over the Christmas season when I found myself waking up at all hours of the night, contemplating the pain that Jules has suffered both during the molestation and the many years following that wretched night. Meanwhile, the pastors involved in this story have gone on to success within the Christian world.

The name of the victim is Jules Woodson which is her maiden name. She wishes her name to be known. Darcy is her friend’s actual first name and we have permission to use that name as well.

Amy Smith and I are joint posting this story but we may tell it slightly differently. (Update:1/5/17 10:28 AM) Here is Amy Smith’s post:

Silent no more: a survivor of sexual assault by prominent Memphis pastor Andy Savage shares her story #metoo #churchtoo #silenceisnotspiritual

After our stories are published, I will be contacting the involved pastors and their churches for comment. Amy will be handling the media. There is little doubt in our minds this story is true, as you will see from the narrative.

Trigger Warning: The sexual assault will be described in some detail for just one paragraph, which will be clearly labeled.

A challenge to readers

This is a #metoo #churchtoo story. Many Christian women claim that they want to stand against the sexual abuse of women: #SilenceIsNotSpiritual. This is a story that should attract their support and their attention. However, will the support be offered when it involves a pastor that they like or a church that they attend?

For regular readers, I offer a challenge. See if you can spot predatory grooming tactics in the story and point them out in your comments. Jules hopes that her willingness to tell her story will help others avoid the pain that she has experienced. She also desires that her story might encourage other women and men in the church to come forward to tell their stories of abuse.

The list of involved pastors, churches and organizations

Here is Andy Savage’s bio taken directly from his website.

The unanswered email that Jules Woodson sent to Andy Savage on December 1, 2017

Jules saw the following tweet by Andy Savage.

Here is the email that Jules sent to Andy Savage, Teaching Pastor of Highpoint Memphis.

 

——– Original message ——–

From: Jules Woodson

Date: 12/1/17 9:21 AM (GMT-07:00)

To: andy.savage@highpointmemphis.com

Subject: Do you remember?

Do you remember that night that you were supposed to drive me home from church and instead drove me to a deserted back road and sexually assaulted me?

Do you remember how you acted like you loved me and cared about me in order for me to cooperate in such acts, only to run out of the vehicle later and fall to your knees begging for forgiveness and for me not to tell anyone what had just happened?

Well, I REMEMBER.
#metoo

She received NO response. What prompted this email? Let’s go back in time to the end of 2016.

Darcy reached out to Jules to ask her “What actually happened to you?” We need more women like Darcy in this world.

Darcy had not seen Jules since she left the church to attend college. However, when the Donald Trump infamous tape became public, she began to think back to when she was a member of the high school youth group at Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church in Texas. It is now known as StoneBridge Church with the same senior pastor, Steve Bradley, as two decades ago.

An incident happened that stuck in her mind. The church never announced that he was being fired. Instead, they had Savage go before the church and say he made a mistake and that was time for him to move on.The rumor was that he had kissed a girl.

People were upset that Savage was let go because he was really well liked. A number of people blamed Jules for him leaving because there was no specific reason given by the pastors for why he left. Rumors were allowed to flourish. This, along with the shaming/blame game, caused her to stop regularly attending church.

In our group conversation, Darcy described Jules as both the most popular and the prettiest girl in the youth group. She remembered Andy Savage paying lots of attention to her. Darcy said all the girls were jealous of the attention that Savage paid to her because he was quite attractive.

Darcy was not close friends with her at the time because she was not part of the *popular* group and was a year ahead of Jules, but she always remembered her and wondered about what had actually happened. She sensed something really bad occurred and felt that the church members were not given the whole story. She was right.

So with great sensitivity, Darcy tracked down Jules and asked her about it. Jules, having kept this bottled up inside of herself for years, opened up and told her the whole story. Darcy’s act of kindness helped Jules to understand that she was the victim in this story and that she finally wanted to deal with it. We need more women like Darcy who bravely seek out the truth.

Some background leading up to the molestation.

Jules was a popular student in the youth group and Savage was well-loved by the students and their parents. A number of the kids would go over to the church after school just to hang out with him. Jules was part of that group.

Over time, Jules began to confide in him. She was going through some difficult trials. Her parents had recently gone through a divorce. Also, she once attended a party and became the subject of unwanted forced sexual activity. It so disturbed her that she confided in Andy because she trusted him as her pastor.

Savage had behavior rules put in place by the church that he was supposed to follow. He was NEVER to be alone with anyone, especially a girl. However, he was a rule breaker. Savage lived with one of the families in the church and had students, including Jules, over to this home. One evening he took Jules to his bedroom, alone, and was tickling her. One of the other adults came to the room and told them they needed to go back and join the group because they should not be alone in a room together.

Jules’s story of molestation and the aftermath told in her own words.

“One evening, in the early Spring of 1998, I was hanging out with my youth minister, Andy Savage, at my church, Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church located at 10801 Falconwing Drive. I was 17 years old at the time and a senior at The Woodlands High School. There had been multiple kids there at the church after school, but as the night got later I was the only student left, alone in the church with Andy. I did not have a vehicle at the church, so Andy offered to take me home to my Mom’s house.

It was dark outside. As he was driving me towards my home, he passed the turn he should have made to go to my house. I asked him where he was going. I don’t remember his exact response, but it was something along the lines of ‘you’ll see’ or ‘it’s a surprise.’ I know for sure he did not tell me where he was taking me. I remember feeling special and excited, as in my mind, he obviously wanted to spend more time with me before taking me home. I assumed we were going to get ice cream.”

Trigger warning: Graphic description of sexual activity. Also, pay particular attention to where this took place. It is important.


He turned onto a dirt road and continued to drive. There were trees all around. I could not see the main road anymore, from which he turned. I asked what was back here. He told me they were building a church. I thought, maybe that’s what this was about, maybe he has some secret to tell me, like perhaps he was moving to another church. We reached a dead end and he turned the truck around before putting it in park. We were stopped, and he turned the headlights off. Suddenly, Andy unzipped his jeans and pulled out his penis. He asked me to suck it. I was scared and embarrassed, but I did it. I remember feeling that this must mean that Andy loved me. He then asked me to unbutton my shirt. I did. He started touching me over my bra and then lifted my bra up and began touching my breasts.

After what I believe to have been about 5 minutes of this going on, he suddenly stopped, got out of the truck and ran around the back and to my side before falling to his knees. I quickly buttoned my shirt back up and got out of the truck. Now I was terrified and ashamed. I remember him pleading, while he was on his knees with his hands up on his head, ‘Oh my god, oh my god. What have I done? Oh my god, I’m so sorry. You can’t tell anyone Jules, please. You have to take this to the grave with you.’  He said that several times. My fear and shame quickly turned to anger. I had just been manipulated and used. I swore to him I wouldn’t tell anyone just to get him to stop. We both got back in the truck. As he drove me home, I don’t remember there being any conversation. I was in shock.

End of graphic description.


“As soon as I got home, I went straight to bed. I couldn’t fall asleep fast enough. “Please God, let this all be a bad dream,” I thought. Yet the hurt I was beginning to feel soon snapped me back into reality. This was no bad dream, this was a living nightmare. The secret quickly began to eat away at my soul. I couldn’t concentrate at school. I couldn’t think about anything else. The fear, shame, anger and hurt consumed me. As embarrassing as it would be for me to tell all the ‘dirty’ details of this horrible secret, I had no other choice. What happened to me was not right nor had it been my fault. I had to report this. Little did I know, the very people I was about to entrust to protect me and help me would not only victimize me all over again but would also engage in a cover up to protect my abuser and the image of the church.”

She reported the incident to Pastor Larry Cotton. She began to blame herself.

“Larry Cotton was the Associate Pastor of Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church at the time. Steve Bradley was the head pastor. I mustered up the courage to go tell them what happened. For some reason, Steve wasn’t available, so I only spoke with Larry. I remember asking him if I could speak privately with him and he said yes. I started out by saying something awful had happened to me. I was already crying. Somehow, I felt brave enough to tell Larry every detail of what had happened with Andy. I was mortified but I thought I was doing the right thing as both Larry and Steve were over Andy in the church and I was way too embarrassed and scared to tell anyone else, especially my own parents.

Just as I had finished telling my story, Larry immediately spoke up and asked me to clarify. He said something to the effect of, ‘So you’re telling me you participated?’ I remember feeling like my heart had just sunk to the floor.  What was he asking? More importantly, what was he trying to imply? This wave of shame came over me, greater than I had ever felt before. I had just gotten done telling him everything that Andy, my youth pastor, asked me to do. I didn’t say that I screamed no, jumped out of the car and ran into the dark forest because I hadn’t. I told him that Andy had asked me to perform oral sex and unbutton my shirt and I did. Every ounce of courage I had gathered to walk in there and tell Larry the truth about what had happened to me left in an instant. Not only did I suddenly feel this immense guilt for doing what Andy had asked me to do but I also started to feel that this was my fault somehow because I didn’t stop him.”

Larry Cotton told her he would tell the head pastor, Steve Bradley, about it and that the church would handle it.

“As you might imagine, I was beyond overwhelmed at the myriad of emotions I was feeling. I remember Larry telling me that he would have to share with Steve all that I had told him. I asked what was going to happen next and he said that him and Steve would be talking to Andy and that the church would be handling the situation. He told me not to speak with Andy and said that he would be telling Andy not to speak with me as well. Through the tears, I told him that I was too embarrassed to tell my Mom what had happened. He said not to worry, that they would talk to my Mother as well. He then told me not mention anything that had happened to anyone else.  It was very clear to me that I was not to say a word to anyone.”

Andy continued in his position and even taught *True Love Waits.”

“As days passed I remember feeling more and more hopeless. I was confused as it seemed that Andy got to go about his day to day life, within the church and outside of it, as though nothing had ever happened. In fact, he led a 2-day event at the church, known as True Love Waits, promoting sexual purity not only in abstinence from intercourse before marriage but also abstinence in any physical contact, actions and thoughts which might lead to sexual arousal. The irony had not been lost on me. Yet, here I was sinking deeper and deeper into this pit of depression. I had no where to go, no one to talk to. After all, I was given one job by the person I had sought help from (Larry,) and that was to keep my mouth shut.”

Jules confided some information in her female discipleship group.

“Not long after, I was meeting at the church with my all female discipleship group. I hadn’t had much interest in even being at church since everything that had happened but, deep down, I think I was just seeking some sort of solace in my faith for all the pain and hurt I was going through. Something came over me that night. I remember feeling disgusted and frustrated. What happened to me was not right! Why were my pastors not listening?! As if a final breath of courage filled my lungs, I opened my mouth and began to share some of what had happened to me. Looking back now, I know without a doubt, it was a cry for help. Tears ran down my cheeks. I remember feeling a slight sense of relief as this was no longer just a secret between myself, Andy, Larry and Steve. However, I too remember feeling as though I had just played my last card. I knew I had broken the rules of silence and that there would be consequences to my actions.”

Andy left the church.

“Word got back to Larry and Steve, almost immediately, that I had shared some things with my discipleship group. Now they had to do something. The youth group had a ski trip coming up and they announced to the families that Andy would not be going. Rumors were starting to spread that something had happened between myself and Andy. People thought/assumed that we had exchanged an ‘innocent’ kiss. The church, however, never came out with an official statement addressing what had happened and/or what was being done about it. Instead, they held a going away reception for Andy at the church in which he was allowed to simply say that he had made a poor decision and that it was time for him to move on from our church. Many people came to love on him, support him and say their goodbyes. There were hugs shared and tears shed. No one truly knew why he was leaving except myself, Andy, Larry and Steve. The gossip amongst my church family only continued to flourish. No one could imagine Andy doing anything bad or immoral, much less illegal, and so, it somehow became my fault that Andy was leaving.”

She later learned that her parents never truly learned the full story of what had happened.

“I couldn’t have been more grateful that it was the spring of my senior year as all I wanted to do was to leave town and get away from everything and everyone. I had basically shut down.  I felt so alone. It wasn’t until much later that I would realize that no matter how far away I moved nor how much I tried to move on with my life, that I could never truly escape what had happened to me. For example, when I found out that the church had contacted my parents, years later, and asked their permission to bring Andy back on staff, it brought back a whirlwind of emotions. Of course, my parents said NO, but even learning of this was traumatizing. I am a grown woman now and although it’s been almost 20 years since everything happened, it still affects me to this day.  There are triggers that take me back to that night, there are nightmares that haunt my dreams.”

Jules’ hope for those who read her story.

“My hope in finally coming forward with my story is not only that I can begin to get closure and healing for all that has happened to me, but more so, that my story might have a positive impact on others and effect positive change in how these types of situations are handled within the church.

To anyone who has suffered from sexual abuse in the church and the subsequent cover up and pressure to remain silent, I want you to know that it is not your fault. Most importantly, I want you to know that you are not alone.”

The subsequent years: The church wanted to bring Savage back on staff!

Jules struggled with anxiety and depression in the following years. She has sought professional counseling to help her make sense of what had happened to her. Meanwhile, Andy Savage, Larry Cotton, and Steve Bradley have gone on to become successful pastors. We asked Jules if any of them had reached out to her to see how she was doing. She has not heard from any of them.

The pastors and the deacons of StoneBridge Church later approached Jules’ parents, asking if they could bring Savage back on staff. The parents said “Absolutely not!” The pastors did not take the opportunity to reach out to Jules and apologize to her. Can you imagine that the pastors still did not get the seriousness of what had happened to Jules? They had been told the details. How could they be so callous?

My concerns about the molestation:

  • Jules had received permission from her mother for Savage to take her to her home from the church that evening. He deliberately ignored her mother wishes, leading me to question whether or not this could be considered an abduction.
  • She asked him where they were going but he did not directly answer her hence her assumption that he was bringing her for ice cream. (This makes me cry every time I think about it.)
  • Jules did not give Andy permission to engage her in sexual activities. Even if she had, she was a minor and he was a member of the clergy, abusing his clergy privilege.
  • Jules was well aware that Savage brought her to a dark, isolated area with no one around who could have heard her scream for help. He is a larger man who could have easily subdued her. There is no question in my mind that fear was a component here. By Jules complying with Andy’s desire, she may have prevented an even worse scenario.
  • It is hard for me to believe that he found such a perfect place to molest Jules at the spur of the moment. It appears to me that he may have planned this in advance.
  • Savage’s order to *take it to her grave* could be perceived as a threat.
  • The pastor, Larry Cotton, appeared to lay some of the blame on her by making her believe that she consented to the act because she participated. Given the particular circumstances of Jules’ trauma, his response could be seen by some as abusive.
  • From what we know, the police were not notified by the pastors of the church.
  • According to his bio (of which we have taken screen shots) Savage went on to be the Pastor of College Students and Young Singles at Germantown Baptist Church. Was Germantown Baptist Church notified of Savage’s behavior?
  • Could there be other victims?

A police report has been submitted by Jules Woodson.

Here are some relevant sections of Texas law.

  1. Note the clergy portion of this law.
Texas Penal Code Chapter 5. (22.011)
Title 5. Offenses against the person.
Chapter 22. Assaultive Offenses.
Sec. 22.011. Sexual assault.
(b) A sexual assault […] is without the consent of the other person if: […] 10) the actor is a clergyman who causes the other person to submit or participate by exploiting the other person’s emotional dependency on the clergyman in the clergyman’s professional character as spiritual adviser …
Texas Penal Code 22.011(b)(9): “by exploiting [the patient or former patient’s] .  .  . emotional dependency”; and (b)(10) “by exploiting the other person’s emotional dependency on the clergyman in the clergyman’s professional character as spiritual advisor”
 2. CHAPTER 261. INVESTIGATION OF REPORT OF CHILD ABUSE OR NEGLECT link

Final thoughts:

-I will be contacting all of the pastors involved in this story as well as their churches. We will print their responses, if any. I will plan a follow up post on Monday.

-We will be watching the comments closely. All comments attempting to victim blame will be deleted and the commenter will be placed on our permanently banned list.

-Finally, special thanks go out to Brooks Hansen and Kenny Stubblefield for getting us all together and helping us in our research. Last year, I remember telling them that someday their story would help another victim. Here is the proof that I was right.

-Dearest Jules,

You are a brave woman who has endured much pain. I have been blessed by our conversations. I have cried a lot, both with and for you. Your story will help many other people. Ask Kenny and Brooks about it. One day, when they are older and can understand, your children will come to know what an awesome mom they have.

Comments

I Thought He Was Taking Me for Ice Cream: One Woman’s #MeToo Story of Molestation By Her Former Youth Pastor, Andy Savage — 1,323 Comments

  1. I’m glad y’all are bringing these stories to light. I used to drive by this church on my way to work.

    It bothers me how many more of these haven’t been brought to light yet.

  2. Jules,

    Thank you for breaking your silence on this terrible assault and the subsequent betrayal by the pastors at your church. Your bravery will no doubt be an encouragement to other sex abuse victims.

    Please know that I will be keeping you in my prayers as this situation plays out.

  3. Deb wrote:

    this terrible assault and the subsequent betrayal by the pastors at your church.

    Beyond assault, beyond betrayal.
    Criminal. Literally criminal.

  4. Jules,

    I am so sorry that you were sexually assaulted in the first place and then further abused and assaulted by Savage. It is so disturbing to see Savage’s tweets in light of his own sexual predatory assault.

    I am praying for God’s peace and healing in your life.

  5. – Andy Savage identified Jules as an outcast from her parents’ divorce and sexual assault at a party, and introduced supposedly spontaneous casual touching in a social setting.

    – Savage seems to have a schtick of presenting himself as the perfect husband and father who can protect the women in his flock from men who aren’t as good as he is. That’s common. If he was doing that at that time in his career, I’d say that’s also part of the grooming.

    – While Andy Savage seems to be from the seeker-sensitive-ish side of things, Larry Cotton is now part of Austin Stone Community Church. That is a huge Acts29 church of about 7000 members: http://thomrainer.com/sbc500/

    – Texas and Arkansas are the only states that criminalize sex between clergy and lay without the two parties being in a formal counseling relationship. About a year ago, the Village Church very quietly removed Fort Worth campus pastor Anthony Moore. We’ll probably never know what happened and what he did, but I have wondered if it was an affair with a congregant and they’re shielding him from the full legal consequences of his actions.

    – Darcy followed a hunch that something worse than what was said happened. I know that hunch, and I admire that courage.

  6. I believe Jules. Very brave to come forward. The church handled this horribly. I hope justice comes.

  7. I have not read the entire article as yet, but there are several issues that stand out immediately about Andy Savage.

    Savage knew that she had been sexually assaulted.
    Savage knew she was vulnerable since she confided in him.
    Savage new her parent’s were recently divorced.
    Savage was a rule breaker as noted.

    It is sickening to see Andy Savage’s tweets in light of his own actions.

  8. Stan wrote:

    – Darcy followed a hunch that something worse than what was said happened. I know that hunch, and I admire that courage.

    Agreed. I applaud Darcy for caring enough to reach out to Jules.

  9. Curious to see the response now that this has all come to light. Seems to me it would have been shortly after the advent of the internet and cell phones. Blogs have now become a way for victims to bring to light what was literally done in the dark. I can almost guarantee that there are other victims. Was he married at the time? I feel bad for his wife if he was but truth is always the best thing even if painful. Jules is brave and I would hug her if I could.

  10. Thank you to all of the women who brought this forth. Jules, my mind is on you today.

    And any person (thinking specifically of men, since I am one) who can’t handle the “temptation” of a younger female in the same vicinity, consider a new profession. Also, lay off the X-rated matieral, since it always seems those two issues come in pairs. I did Bible Studies for High Schoolers in small towns after college (and am roughly Savage’s age), so I’m not speaking without experience – you do not mess around with this temptation, and you do not blame the victim, period.

    Now to see what KLOVE does. Hopefully someone there catches wind of this.

  11. Oh, dear Jules! Thank you for your courage in sharing your pain in an effort to help others. I am enraged at what you suffered and the long standing cover up. This garbage has to be exposed so finally the right people can carry the shame and the blame. His site and social media wants to make me puke. My heart and prayers go out to you. And go, Darcy! May your tribe increase.

  12. I was just thinking about why some men question why a victim wouldn’t “cry out” and run. Well, because as women, we’re told to be submissive, quiet, gentle, meek. We’re told not to trust our own feelings because the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. We’re told to ignore our instincts because we’re filthy sinners. We’re told that men are the leaders–to trust God even when you don’t trust what the man is doing (esp. in marriage).

  13. I believe Jules. My hearfelt sympathy and prayers go out to her. My thanks to all who have helped her.

    We have once again witnessed a major failure by the professional clergy class.

  14. The pastors completely washed their hands of Jules. It seems they just wanted her to go away. Rather than address the gossip going around in the church at that time, which blamed Jules for Savage leaving they allowed it to fester and continue. That was to their advantage. She was a problem that needed to go away. Imagine how frustrated and angry the pastors must have been when Jules broke the code of silence and spoke about her sexual assault outside of the ‘pastor’circle. She had to pay for that infraction. What better way than to ignore her and allow the gossip to continue. These pastors are no shepherds, but wolves in sheep’s clothing.

    And by the way, the pastor asking Jules if she screamed during the sexual assault reveals his ignorance about sexual assault. Anyone who has known someone that has experienced this kind of violation, knows that freezing up and shock are normal reactions. I wouldn’t be surprised if these ‘pastors’are proponents of Biblical Counseling.

  15. My Twitter feed is out of control. Massive support for Jules. People demanding Andy Savage resign. I am now working on email the links to the blog post because I would like some of the churches or pastors to respond. Let’s see if that happens. I will be updating things in the comment section and plan a second post on Monday.

    Everyone: Pray for Jules. She is doing well but this has been emotionally trying on her. She is a great lady and I admire her. She is reading here.

  16. After listening to Andy Savage’s ‘faith story”, I have a better understanding of why he left Texas.

    At the 50 minute mark Andy explains how he was offered a position as Youth Pastor at a growing church in The Woodlands, Texas area during his freshman year of college. After serving there for three years, he returned to Memphis to complete his undergraduate work at the University of Memphis.

    I’m left wondering two things…

    (1) Why didn’t Andy finish his college degree at the school he was attending in Texas???

    (2) Why in the world would he suddenly move back home, resigning from his position at a church plant that grew tenfold (from 150 to 1500) in just three years???

    Looks like Andy’s ‘faith story’ corroborates Jules’ testimony.

    Pastor Andy Savage Faith Story :: The Church at Schilling Farms from Highpoint Church on Vimeo.

  17. Bridget wrote:

    I have not read the entire article as yet, but there are several issues that stand out immediately about Andy Savage.

    Savage knew that she had been sexually assaulted.
    Savage knew she was vulnerable since she confided in him.
    Savage new her parent’s were recently divorced.
    Savage was a rule breaker as noted.

    It is sickening to see Andy Savage’s tweets in light of his own actions.

    Bridge, I agree with all of your insights. Those tweets of Savage’ s are creepy.

  18. Andy Savage: former youth pastor of Woodlands Parkway Baptist Church, now known as StoneBridge Church. He is now co-pastor and teaching pastor of the successful Highpoint Church Memphis

    Can I just say, even before I get into the story, everything about this page of ‘staff’ gives me hives. ‘Leadership’ = all dudes. ‘Staff’ = bunch of pictures of women, all with titles like ‘director’ and men who are pastors o’whatever.

    Stuff that is just nonsense about titles and lead me to no longer be Baptist.

  19. @ Deb:
    I would like to highlight the fact that Andy Savage states in his ‘faith story’ (at the 1:15 mark) that he is still friends with the pastors who mentored him at the Texas church plant where he served as youth pastor.

  20. Jules, you have a whole online community behind you. Believing you. Praying for you. You’re not alone. Allow yourself to feel our love. What happened to you is all too common. By sharing your story, others will become free to share theirs. Abuse in church causes God to become distorted to the victims. I pray that you’re able to see God as He truly is: pure love. He thinks you’re the best! …and so do I.

  21. Jennifer wrote:

    I was just thinking about why some men question why a victim wouldn’t “cry out” and run. Well, because as women, we’re told to be submissive, quiet, gentle, meek. We’re told not to trust our own feelings because the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. We’re told to ignore our instincts because we’re filthy sinners. We’re told that men are the leaders–to trust God even when you don’t trust what the man is doing (esp. in marriage).

    Ditto! Women are told they’re easily deceived and need to trust the ‘servant leadership’ of men because they are not so easily influenced by their emotions. Complementarianism puts a stranglehold on women. It also lays the blame on women when men commit sexual sins. Somehow women are made to feel responsible when men lust. It becomes an endless cycle of guilt-tripping (ed.) to keep women in their subservient role.

  22. It’s men like these that make me want to remove myself from association with the church at large.

  23. This makes me nauseous.

    I can see why she would have the reaction she did when seeing his “tweet” about Matt Lauer. I”m glad she took action!

    So, so sad.

    He messed up her life and he’s messing up his family’s life all because of his stupidity!
    Now will he man up to it? Or will he deny, deny, deny?

  24. In that video of Andy Savage’s, notice how he says he is “still friends” with those men at the church where he was a youth pastor? Ah…the Good Old Boys network. Those men probably helped him promote his career behind the scenes.

  25. srs wrote:

    Are you sure you want Jules email address posted (in the email excerpt)?

    Thank you. None of us noticed that. You have sharp eyes.

  26. Deb wrote:

    @ Deb:
    I would like to highlight the fact that Andy Savage states in his ‘faith story’ (at the 1:15 mark) that he is still friends with the pastors who mentored him at the Texas church plant where he served as youth pastor.

    Deb, yeah, I noticed that too and now just read your comment. With these guys, one hand washes the other.

  27. @ Deb:
    The cover, the veneer (friends at the top) of a predator who goes after his minor charges.

    Roy Hazelwood, FBI profiler, has stated that predators act on what has played out in their mind many times over, fulfilling their fantasy (which is motive). Given the youth leader’s position (means), he set up his opportunity, offering an unsuspecting girl a ride home in his car with him in the driver’s seat, and sprang on his prey. Criminal.

    Another reason why the ACBC “training” from the last post, is defunct. Disciplined behavioral science research unmasks how these perpetrators operate.

    The irony is that the apparently attractive youth leader could conceivably court women of his own age. However, that is not his fantasy, which evidences a psychiatric disorder (pedophilia or attraction to his underage charges).

  28. Dear Jules–

    Me Too…Me Too!! You are not alone! You are amazing & brave! God has the heart of a Lion in protecting & avenging the harming of His most vulnerable creation: Children.

    I don’t know how you feel but I know how I feel, and it is just awful sometimes.

    I will also pray for you to receive comfort from God’s spirit. One of my favorite verses is from Isaiah 42:3:

    “A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice”

    As one who was left bruised & smoldering I can tell you that God does not despise our feelings.

    This verse promises that He will never withdraw either His presence or His love & mercy from you.

    Hang on to God Jules…Blessings to you through Our Lord Jesus Christ.

  29. Darcy said all the girls were jealous of the attention that Savage paid to her because he was quite attractive.

    Sorry, reading my way down the article and commenting, but MAN it seems like a terrible, very bad idea to put a college freshman guy in charge of a bunch of teenage girls. WT…Complete lack of sense displayed by the people in charge there.

    Darcy was not close friends with her at the time because she was not part of the *popular* group

    Ugh. Reminds me of the whole cliqueyness of my church youth group too!

  30. Jen wrote:

    This makes me nauseous.

    I can see why she would have the reaction she did when seeing his “tweet” about Matt Lauer. I”m glad she took action!

    But I wonder if Andy Savage supported Roy Moore. It’s easy to point out the sins of the ‘secular’ media. But the question is: Will Christians defend the sexual predators in their own camp, or call out their sin, even if it means being ostracized?

  31. Jules Woodson, you are courageous and empathetic to shed light on this horrific problem by telling your painful story.

    The trickery of a predatory youth leader enabled by religious leaders is in plain sight through your testimony.

    God bless you, Jules Woodson!

  32. Jules, thank you for being a brave woman and exposing a sexual predator who disguised himself as a pastor, even though you had to know a firestorm would follow. That is remarkable courage. May God strengthen you in the days to come, granting you confidence and resolve. I hope the love and support you feel here at TWW and elsewhere gives you comfort and peace.

  33. My fear and shame quickly turned to anger. I had just been manipulated and used.

    That feeling of being used…it’s the absolute worst. I am so sorry.

    Use things, love people. The reverse never works. It certainly isn’t Christian.

    {The little snippets of stuff this guy is posting right now are so effective. }

  34. I am sick and shaken. Comments are spot on, especially Stan’s observation that the abuser identified Jules as an “outcast” (reminds me of a wolf watching a herd of deer to see if one is limping) because of the pain in her life, and those who were creeped out by the tweets.
    As soon as I read the pastor’s response, his observation that she had “participated”, my heart sank. I think I know the narrative among the men in that church that followed. “She led him on.” And maybe “He couldn’t help himself.” And even “She trapped him.” They likely talked about damage control; it was a momentary, understandable weakness in his part (just like that man after god’s own heart, King Daved!) and they couldn’t let his promising career get derailed because of some young seductress. (you see, all females are seductive, in their view, whether the female in question intends it or not, even that little baby girl with her diaper falling down, looking over her shoulder and giggling.) No, but if they could get her to understand it was her fault for his momentary stumble, and get her to keep quiet (and hopefully reflect on and repent of her sins and maybe start wearing sackcloth and ashes or a burqa so she would not lead any other men of god astray — after all, the more promise he has to do god’s work, the more satan sets his sights on the guy) then the situation could be redeemed for “good” and Savage (strangely apt name) could go on to fulfill his calling.
    But then she had to go and spoil things by not following their script. (Please don’t read this as victim-blaming. I don’t agree in any way with the mindset I have described here, which I have heard stated by other men and women in other “churches” and “christian” settings.)
    The statute of limitations in Texas was not mentioned. At least, I didn’t see one. Please tell me that her suit can’t be dismissed because she understandably remained silent for two decades.
    My heart is with you, Jules. I prayed for you just now and will keep praying for you as the Lord brings you to mind.

  35. Also, reading through this thing, I can’t help but speculate about exactly what percentage of ‘pastors’ are complete and total hypocrites?

  36. From Andy Savage’s video: “I’ve always been a good personality on stage.”

    No surprise there. I bet he was a “good personality on stage” when he was a youth pastor. It takes a certain kind of person to be good at pulling the wool over people’s eyes.

  37. •Jules was well aware that Savage brought her to a dark, isolated area with no one around who could have heard her scream for help. He is a larger man who could have easily subdued her. There is no question in my mind that fear was a component here.

    This is so sad and scary.

    It also reminds me of creepy/comedic deal on It’s Always Sunny, when the character says that a woman on boat would automatically say yes ‘because of the implications’ and the rest of the characters try to talk to him about how they don’t actually want girls who only are consenting because they are scared. And how messed up that is.

  38. @ Deb:

    I wondered the same.

    “As all the #metoo accounts of sexual harassment continue to pour out, it’s critical to point out that holding harassers accountable is possible. But it requires infrastructure.”

    from “Me Too, Except I Didn’t Stay Silent: In the places I’ve worked, sexual harassment was identified as something that could destroy an organization. It was a story with consequences.” Written and illustrated by Sukjong Hong

    https://longreads.com/2018/01/05/me-too-except-i-didnt-stay-silent/?utm_source=Weekly+Longreads+Email&utm_campaign=bf4df79d0d-Longreads_Top_5_January_5_2018&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_bd2ad42066-bf4df79d0d-238670389&mc_cid=bf4df79d0d&mc_eid=06f5b264b8

  39. I believe Jules!

    Let me turn this around on the pastors of StoneBridge who knew about it:

    YOU participated in covering up a sexual assault of a minor!

    YOU allowed a criminal to go to another church where he could assault others!

    YOUR ACTIONS ARE CRIMINAL!

    YOU do not deserve to be in any sort of ministry!

  40. @ JYJames:

    I agree with JY James except it’s not a psychiatric disorder. It is a malicious, vicious, vile, evil choice, by a wicked yet sane man.

    Straying slightly from topic on the separate, but related Wartburg series on “biblical counseling.” I wish people practiced & taught real Biblical counseling. Counseling that uses the Bible to tell his sheep how to recognize & deal with evil, wicked, vile people that are out to destroy/devour the sheep.

    Jules, I believe you. It was not your fault. Thank you for your tremendous courage for coming forward!

  41. Darlene. wrote:

    Jen wrote:

    This makes me nauseous.

    I can see why she would have the reaction she did when seeing his “tweet” about Matt Lauer. I”m glad she took action!

    But I wonder if Andy Savage supported Roy Moore. It’s easy to point out the sins of the ‘secular’ media. But the question is: Will Christians defend the sexual predators in their own camp, or call out their sin, even if it means being ostracized?

    Sad to say, some will. I can predict, from past experience, the responses to linking this story in my Facebook. A few other “dones” will share my feelings, and the rest of the “christians” who respond will rebuke me for gossip, tell me that it was two decades ago and I should not be raking up the past, tell me that I am doing the devil’s work for him, tell me that the man has probably changed (how would they know?) and it’s not fair to him to make this public, tell me it’s none of my business since I don’t attend his church, tell me I’m dragging the name of Christ through the mud, etc.
    I’ve heard it all before, you see. Every time I link to a story like this.

  42. Darlene. wrote:

    She was a problem that needed to go away.

    This is how way too many pastors seem women in these circumstances. Is it any wonder they are prone to using them?

    Maddening. This whole story. This whole system.

    I’ll tell you what, I am NEVER going back to a church that doesn’t treat women as equals. I am convinced this way of seeing them has lead us down a dark path.

  43. Lea wrote:

    I’ll tell you what, I am NEVER going back to a church that doesn’t treat women as equals. I am convinced this way of seeing them has lead us down a dark path.

    Same here!

  44. ishy wrote:

    Lea wrote:

    I’ll tell you what, I am NEVER going back to a church that doesn’t treat women as equals. I am convinced this way of seeing them has lead us down a dark path.

    Same here!

    Amen.

  45. Lea wrote:

    I’ll tell you what, I am NEVER going back to a church that doesn’t treat women as equals. I am convinced this way of seeing them has lead us down a dark path.

    I’m certain Complementarianism has led the church down a dark path as well. It’s a system that tells women to shut up and learn their ‘place’. Women become props to promote men’s egos.

  46. Jean wrote:

    who respond will rebuke me for gossip, tell me that it was two decades ago and I should not be raking up the past,

    Savage is raising 5 sons. What if they grow up to be like him???
    Nope. The past needs to be exposed. Savage’s sons (and wife) need to know his history, as well as how the “good ole boyz” network operates.

  47. Darlene. wrote:

    And by the way, the pastor asking Jules if she screamed during the sexual assault reveals his ignorance about sexual assault.

    Even in the old testament, it was not expected that a woman scream when she was dragged out into the middle of nowhere!

  48. @ Lea:
    @ ishy:
    @ refugee:
    Well ladies, I am still a member of an SBC church, though I haven’t attended in almost 2 years.
    And, my husband is a member as well as a licensed preacher.
    All I can say is I agree with you and AMEN!
    I am sick of it!

  49. I worry about the story having to be reported from one guy to another higher up in the chain. I can easily imagine a situation where the second guy might soft pedal the complaint against the youth pastor to his superior. He might use hedging language to cast doubt on her story as he repeats it to the main pastor: “Now I don’t know if this happened or not because I wasn’t there, but it appears that our youth pastor might have been inappropriate just this once, according to what somebody told me.” Especially given that particular youth pastor was a beloved part of the church leadership team, odds are they’d want to protect him from what he’d done rather than protect the innocents who he had harmed / could harm in the future. The re-hiring aspect knowing what he had done just shocks me. What plan did they have in place to prevent it from happening again? Crossing their fingers, closing their eyes, and stopping up their ears while humming a loud hymn?

  50. @ Todd Wilhelm:
    I agree, Todd. Although I would have used stronger terms when describing the actions of the pastors involved. Their sins also need exposed as their actions render them permanently unfit for any position in the church.

  51. Jamie Carter wrote:

    I worry about the story having to be reported from one guy to another higher up in the chain. I can easily imagine a situation where the second guy might soft pedal the complaint against the youth pastor to his superior. He might use hedging language to cast doubt on her story as he repeats it to the main pastor: “Now I don’t know if this happened or not because I wasn’t there, but it appears that our youth pastor might have been inappropriate just this once, according to what somebody told me.” Especially given that particular youth pastor was a beloved part of the church leadership team, odds are they’d want to protect him from what he’d done rather than protect the innocents who he had harmed / could harm in the future. The re-hiring aspect knowing what he had done just shocks me. What plan did they have in place to prevent it from happening again? Crossing their fingers, closing their eyes, and stopping up their ears while humming a loud hymn?

    But here’s the thinking. In their eyes, he’s most likely both the “victim” in the situation and considered “sadder but wiser” for the experience and so on his guard against future temptations.

    In their view, it’s not a matter of covering up for a predator and sending him out to fresh pastures. It’s more “there but for the grace of god go I” and the underlying belief that the teen was really to blame.

    Sick. But then that’s the natural outcome of the rape culture that the “church” lives to call “purity”.

  52. Jamie Carter wrote:

    The re-hiring aspect knowing what he had done just shocks me. What plan did they have in place to prevent it from happening again?

    They wouldn’t have that awful temptress there, obviously! So things would be fine. /sarcasm font/

  53. Hats off to Jules for coming forward and making her story public.
    Jules – oh, how I wish that when Savage got out of the truck, you had locked the truck doors and driven away!!!

    I only wonder ……. how many more “Jules” are there.

  54. texas. again. this is for jules: you did the right thing. People don’t change their stripes that often, and you did the right thing for any future victim or possible other victims. Once the perpetrator gets away with it, who’s going to stop him next time. something i live with every day. Andy Savage: now may be the time to find another line of work. Depending on the laws in texas and the statute of limitations, that will be the least of your problems. If anyone else comes forward, which i hope they will, then the worst is yet to come. To anyone who helped him cover the story and blamed the 17 yr old rather than the youth pastor: you are as guilty as Savage is, and you will answer for it.

  55. I wish I were shocked. Appalled. Absolutely. Shocked? No. More women need to come forward and expose these men. Men in high places in churches seem particularly horrific.

    I’m just sitting her sobbing–grief for the victims known, for the victims unknown, for the daughers being rasied to trust these men because they are men.

    The behavior of men toward women in the two churches I attended not far from this one drove me out of the church.

  56. What struck me was Savage suddenly begging for forgiveness during the attack. Do you think it was genuine remorse, or manipulation?

    Because I’m thinking it was manipulation.

  57. Robert M wrote:

    Because I’m thinking it was manipulation.

    IT didn’t happen till after he got what he wanted…so I’m going with manipulation.

    And I agree with those who said he planned it out. He scouted a location!

  58. Lea wrote:

    And I agree with those who said he planned it out. He scouted a location!

    Or the site had been previously used.

  59. I’ve never been in a church with a youth pastor. Are they typically young enough to be college students? Because that seems like a very bad idea.

  60. Bridget wrote:

    Or the site had been previously used.

    True.

    Also…it doesn’t sound like he and Jules were very far apart in age. If he had wanted to date her, on the up and up, rather than simply use her for his own ends, he could have set up a way for that to work. Stepped out of ministry, talked to the pastor, talked to her…Waited until she was out of high school.

    He didn’t do any of that.

  61. Robert M wrote:

    I’ve never been in a church with a youth pastor. Are they typically young enough to be college students? Because that seems like a very bad idea.

    My youth pastors were a married couple (I’m sure only the guy was a ‘pastor’ but they basically co-lead the thing). They may have been 30’s? I’m not sure. It for sure wasn’t an 18/19 year old single college student though!

  62. Robert M wrote:

    I’ve never been in a church with a youth pastor. Are they typically young enough to be college students? Because that seems like a very bad idea.

    Yes. The idea seems to be that they can relate better to the teens, being closer to them in age, and the teens can relate better to them. So their spiritual guidance for the teens is thought to be better or more effective.

  63. Bridget wrote:

    Lea wrote:

    And I agree with those who said he planned it out. He scouted a location!

    Or the site had been previously used.

    What a chilling thought.

  64. @ refugee:
    I mean, it’s possible it’s just a general go-to makeout point or something. I could tell you where all of those were in high school…

    But yeah, the whole thing is creepy. Especially ‘take it to the grave’ (which just makes me think of the pretty little liars song, which in case anyone doesn’t know:
    https://youtu.be/I_4rRM8CIwU)

  65. I did a quick google search on the Statute of Limitations in the State of Texas and it looks like there is no such period for sexual assault of a child, for those who were wondering.

  66. Robert M wrote:

    I’ve never been in a church with a youth pastor. Are they typically young enough to be college students? Because that seems like a very bad idea.

    It is very common.

  67. @ Nancy2 (aka Kevlar):
    Was the running over him on the way past implied or is that just me? She would have been arrested for stealing his truck. Got to have consequences for bad behavior, dontcha know?

  68. Jean wrote:

    Sad to say, some will. I can predict, from past experience, the responses to linking this story in my Facebook. A few other “dones” will share my feelings, and the rest of the “christians” who respond will rebuke me for gossip, tell me that it was two decades ago and I should not be raking up the past, tell me that I am doing the devil’s work for him, tell me that the man has probably changed (how would they know?) and it’s not fair to him to make this public, tell me it’s none of my business since I don’t attend his church, tell me I’m dragging the name of Christ through the mud, etc.
    I’ve heard it all before, you see. Every time I link to a story like this.

    You are not dragging the name of Christ through the mud by exposing Savage’s actions. Savage dragged the name of Christ through the mud that by sexually assaulting a child.

  69. Robert M wrote:

    I did a quick google search on the Statute of Limitations in the State of Texas and it looks like there is no such period for sexual assault of a child, for those who were wondering.

    Not sure what the age of consent is in Texas when considering the child aspect. BUT there is certainly the issue of pastor/congregant, power position, and forceful sexual assault.

  70. Bridget wrote:

    Not sure what the age of consent is in Texas when considering the child aspect.

    I would guess 16, possibly even 14 (which I vaguely remember was Louisiana’s at one time).
    Texas is a former Confederate State with a Frontier Attitude, and both of those cultural memes would tend to lower the age of consent.

  71. refugee wrote:

    Yes. The idea seems to be that they can relate better to the teens, being closer to them in age, and the teens can relate better to them. So their spiritual guidance for the teens is thought to be better or more effective.

    If so, there’s one of him and a lot of them; they’re more likely to be assimilating and guiding HIM through sheer numbers.

    Major risk of young youth pastor becoming the leader of a Cool Kids’ Clique.

  72. Deborah wrote:

    Was the running over him on the way past implied or is that just me? She would have been arrested for stealing his truck. Got to have consequences for bad behavior, dontcha know?

    Nah. Drive to the nearest police station or sheriff’s office …… tell them what happened ……. how afraid she was …….. how she didn’t know what else to do ……………

    My daughter prolly woulda ran over him ….. a few times ……. spun tires, etc ……..

  73. (from the post): “Savage lived with one of the families in the church and had students, including Jules, over to this home. One evening he took Jules to his bedroom, alone, and was tickling her. One of the other adults came to the room and told them they needed to go back and join the group because they should not be alone in a room together.”

    Good for the adult who intervened that time, but Savage’s position as a leader in the church should have ended right there! I wonder if the adult mentioned above reported it to church leaders at the time, and if that was brushed under the carpet as well… Prompt and appropriate action could have prevented a lot of additional pain for Jules.

  74. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Texas is a former Confederate State with a Frontier Attitude, and both of those cultural memes would tend to lower the age of consent.

    Texas is like a whole different country within a country.

  75. Emails have been sent to all 3 churches and members of the senior staff. I was unable to get comments from the churches. However, media is starting to pick up the story. Will let you know once I know more.

  76. @ Robert M:
    There are lots of youth pastors out there. Often they are quite young-at the beginning of their rise to fame and fortune. Isn’t it interesting that we usually put the young guys just out of school with the most naive bunch in or churches-the kids.

  77. Jules, I believe you. You are a hero. You were used and manipulated for Andy’s selfish sexual desires. Andy has lived up to his last name, Savage. But really, he is a very weak man. It is only weak men who cover up sexual sins and take advantage of the vulnerable. You were a minor. This was not your fault. It’s interesting the church’s name is High Point. I think this case is going to bring them to a low point, but I hope it will bring them to humility, sorrow, self-reflection, and true repentance. None of these men should be pastoring, period!

    If nothing criminally happens in this case, please consider taking legal action (civil) against these men. There needs to be justice! Hold your head high. You have exposed sin in God’s house. You have likely saved others by speaking out. Thank you!!

  78. Seventeen is still a minor.

    And I’m thinking if Texas has this law about clergy and congregants, they must know they needed it for a reason, which makes me think this is not a unique situation, which makes the whole thing, having that law at all, terribly sad.@ Bridget:

  79. There are two types of abuse here. The one by the Pastor and the one by the leadership of the Church. Dee you wanted us to spot the grooming tactics. It is the cover up tactics by the Church that I could spot a mile away. First they told her ‘not to tell’. Then they watered down the allegations and made it out to be her fault. Didn’t tell the Congregation the whole story so it would look like the Pastor was the victim. If we can forgive and forget so should you. Text book ‘upholding the reputation of the Church at all cost’. Seen it all before.
    Then the audacity of the leaders to ask her parents could he come back. They really don’t get it.

  80. JYJames wrote:

    The irony is that the apparently attractive youth leader could conceivably court women of his own age. However, that is not his fantasy, which evidences a psychiatric disorder (pedophilia or attraction to his underage charges).

    The irony goes a level further. And in my opinion, I’m seeing a pattern here. Had Savage been caught doing the hanky-panky with another consenting adult, his hash would have been settled and his goose cooked so to speak, and the likelihood is high that he would have been run out of the church on a rail.
    And yet in the larger milieu of fundagelicalism, when it’s little kids and teens, they cover it up and look the other way.

  81. Muff Potter wrote:

    Had Savage been caught doing the hanky-panky with another consenting adult, his hash would have been settled and his goose cooked so to speak, and the likelihood is high that he would have been run out of the church on a rail.

    I honestly can’t say if it would have or not, but I could see a reason the church would want to cover this up, instead of the other kind of behavior – liability to the church does not exist if this guy is sleeping with his girlfriend. That is absolutely a problem if he is doing *anything* with children or teens under his care at the church!

    IOW, churches have pure, selfish reasons for covering up anything that might make them look bad. If one of them tells you ‘not to talk’ about something? They are about to play coverup games.

    Good for Jules for speaking out anyway.

  82. He was hugely predatory – testing boundaries with tickling, going after a young woman he knew had suffered a previous sexual assault, not telling her where he was taking her, going to an isolated rural location with nowhere for her to run & possibly poor phone coverage…I’m not surprised she ‘went along with it’ – that was the safest path for her to take in that situation & I’ve known plenty of young women who have done all sorts of things for that reason. It means they are not about to enrage a man with whom they are alone in an isolated location with no help around & with no way of returning home except for the man in question. If she had said an emphatic no, or screamed & run, it could have gone very very much worse for her, sadly as his arousal & then fear would have added a huge amount of adrenaline to this situation & the predator/prey dynamic would have been massively heightened.

    Jules – I’m so sorry this happened to you. I don’t think you are his only victim, by a long way & this was in no way your fault.

  83. Allie wrote:

    And I’m thinking if Texas has this law about clergy and congregants, they must know they needed it for a reason, which makes me think this is not a unique situation, which makes the whole thing, having that law at all, terribly sad.

    Yes. It is terribly sad. This is what I found out about age of consent as far as being considered a child. But there was no consent in this case and the pastor/congregant predatory sexual abuse applies.

    “Texas statutory rape law is violated when a person has consensual sexual intercourse with an individual under age 17. While there is no close in age exemption, defenses exist when the offender was no more than 3 years older then the victim and of the opposite sex.”

  84. I often view life through a lens of probability when I do not personaly know the facts. I believe this is highly likely to a truthful account.
    There is a personal bias I feel towards accepting a girls account over a boy. Even if I don’t believe the girl, I feel a bias towards holding the boy responsible for the event taking place at all.

    The only sexual assault I have first hand information took place in conservative christain school.

    I was expelled from a seperate school and had basicaly to live on my own for a very hard year. I was too young and dumb to understand everything, but now recognize it as my first encounter with Gothardism.
    I attended an urban public junior high. My antdotal experiences were that being surrounded by unbelieving students was a dramatic decrease in the level in sexuality / sexual tension.

    I consider conservative mentorship / ideology / holiness doctrines etc. to be major contributing factors to christian sexual abuse.

  85. Rhonda Aubert wrote:

    There are two types of abuse here. The one by the Pastor and the one by the leadership of the Church. Dee you wanted us to spot the grooming tactics. It is the cover up tactics by the Church that I could spot a mile away. First they told her ‘not to tell’. Then they watered down the allegations and made it out to be her fault. Didn’t tell the Congregation the whole story so it would look like the Pastor was the victim. If we can forgive and forget so should you. Text book ‘upholding the reputation of the Church at all cost’. Seen it all before.
    Then the audacity of the leaders to ask her parents could he come back. They really don’t get it.

    Yep. And allowing the gossip about Jules to continue because it worked in the pastors’ favor. As long as Jules was marginalised, she could be seen as the ‘Jezebel’ – the one to blame for Savage having to leave. And Savage could be seen as the victim of a female’s wiles.

  86. @ Muff Potter:
    they cover it up because there is criminal action involved, and they don’t want criminal charges pressed, so they have to “cover it up”. two consenting adults is another story. and he would have probably been fired for that like you say. kind of proves they knew it was criminal, whatever…

  87. After reading the Watchkeep article, I felt compelled to return and say, Jules, you are not alone. You did nothing wrong. You are not to blame. I believe your story.

  88. Due to some issues locally with churches aligning with 9Marks and Biblical counseling (see Low Country Biblical Counseling Center – yikes), I’ve been digging deeply into the interconnectedness of the schooling, conferences, and hubs of these organizations. So I was very surprised to have not run across any of these names. I dug into Steve Bradley and Andy Savage and came up with nothing. These are the most insular churches I’ve run across. No outside conference advertised, no pastors speaking outside of their church, no pastors coming into the church. Only Financial Peace curriculum advertised. They are their own universes. Mind you Andy Savage’s radio show is a whole other matter. But wow. I didn’t know that such tech savvy church staff could produce a sense of transparency and vulnerability without saying anything.

  89. dee wrote:

    @ Robert M:
    There are lots of youth pastors out there. Often they are quite young-at the beginning of their rise to fame and fortune. Isn’t it interesting that we usually put the young guys just out of school with the most naive bunch in or churches-the kids.

    These young men would never be allowed to serve unsupervised by women in the nursery, preschool, or children’s rooms. If they don’t trust these guys to be alone with pre-teen children, why on earth do churches trust them to be alone with teens?!? Really, not being rhetorical here. Any ideas?

  90. @ dee:
    From this Chris person:

    As one of my closest friends and partners in ministry, I can assure you that I have total confidence in the redemptive process Andy went through under his leadership in Texas.

    Why do people think they are allowed to ‘redeem’ and forgive people, instead of the person they harmed? Where did anyone get that idea??? It seems pervasive and so wrong.

  91. @ Lea:
    To anyone out there who has treated me or jules or anyone else badly, your buddy bob does not get to decide when the matter is settled.

  92. Lea wrote:

    Why do people think they are allowed to ‘redeem’ and forgive people, instead of the person they harmed? Where did anyone get that idea??? It seems pervasive and so wrong.

    Because they’ve usurped power over others in many other ways and usually get away with it.

    I will never believe that someone who keeps it all a secret is truly repentant. Nor will I ever believe that two years is enough time to redeem yourself for a criminal act before going back into ministry.

    Even now, he’s trying to really minimize what he did and protect his position. That’s not repenting and truly asking for forgiveness.

  93. I’m so angry reading your story, Jules, and getting angrier still as I read the comments calling out the grooming behaviors and manipulation that led to you being abused. I’m so sick of being easy prey — and a 1) young 2) Christian 3) woman is the easiest prey of all. No one will believe you, OR indeed, it was all your fault in the first place! Might as well comply, because failing to comply could be a sin too. And as long as I’m ranting, the teaching that a woman sins if she does not comply with her husband’s requests for sexual gratification is part of this cancer that has all but consumed the church. If it’s a sin to withhold consent AT ANY POINT in one’s life, then every girl and woman in the church is being groomed via this teaching.

    Jules, I’m so sorry. I can’t believe you were brave enough to tell your pastor — I never would have been! And I admire even more that you are still fighting for what’s right. It is Christlike to fight for the oppressed and the voiceless. Thank you, all who were involved in bringing this to light!

  94. Dee said,

    For regular readers, I offer a challenge. See if you can spot predatory grooming tactics in the story and point them out in your comments.

    A few of Savage’s grooming tactics I spotted:

    -Jules confided in him that she had received prior unwanted sexual attention
    (in his mind, that may have made her an “easier” target)

    -if he knew about her parent’s divorce, and/or if she had told him their divorce was negatively affecting her, he would’ve viewed that as making her easier to victimize, as she’d be more vulnerable

    -he played a tickling game with her

    (Perverts often get their target gradually accustomed to more and more intimate touching before trying more intensive sexual acts.

    Actor Dustin Hoffman, according to several of his victims, for example, had his targets start by giving him foot massages, then he’d escalate to more serious sexual touching or acts;
    Harvey Weinstein’s victims said he’s start by asking them to give him a “massage” before sexually assaulting them)

    – he kept trying to get her alone, in the youth group, he seemed to focus on her at the exclusion of other kids

  95. I find it amusing when men defend other men. THEY are not at risk of the sexual abuse. It will be interesting to see if any other girls come forward. It would be unusual for her to be the sole victim.

  96. I do agree with the commentators above that gender complementarianism can make girls and women easier prey for sexual abusers.

    (I think I’ve made it more than clear in my years posting to this blog how much I detest complementarianism!)

    Having said that, I’m not sure if sexism is the only or primary motivator for why the jerky church pastors play cover-up in these cases.

    I do recall on older posts here that Deb and Dee have run stories about male teen victims of male youth pastors (or of male congregants), and in those cases, the churches were equally insensitive and irresponsible in addressing the matter.

    They sided with the (male) perps and ignored the (male) victims, or told the (male) victims to get lost, forget about what happened, etc.

    I do think with girl and women victims there is some sexism at play, but when it comes to all victims (regardless of biological sex) these pastors and churches seem more motivated by power, fear of law suits, or fear of loss of reputation. They have a C.Y.A. approach with both male and female victims.

  97. Abigail wrote:

    I find it amusing when men defend other men. THEY are not at risk of the sexual abuse

    What’s crazy to me is when they say ‘he always seemed like a good guy to me’ like no kidding are you a 17 year old girl? No? Maybe that’s why.

  98. I am so very sorry by what happened to Jules, and far as I’m concerned, she was victimized twice – not just by the pervert Savage but also by a church, whose pastors should’ve kicked his butt to the curb immediately, should not have implied she was to blame in some way for what happened.

  99. Dee said,

    -I will be contacting all of the pastors involved in this story as well as their churches. We will print their responses, if any. I will plan a follow up post on Monday.

    I will be extremely shocked if any or all of them take full responsibility for their failure in handling this.

    I am predicting the usual:
    They will say “we’re all sinners,” or, they may say, “you don’t have all the facts in this story.”

    They will probably refer to the sexual assault by using the word “Mistake.” (Not “sin” and/or “crime” but as a “mistake.”)

    Or, they may want to say that Savage told them how gosh- didley- darn- dang sorry he was, so as far as they’re concerned, Savage’s slate is clean, and you guys are being big meanies for bringing this up, you should just let it go, and do a Matthew 18, at the very least (go to him in private), so the sin is on you for airing this dirty laundry in public, don’t you know.

    If their minions show up to this blog, they will say who are you to judge, what about forgiveness and grace, and you’ll be referred to as a “Daughter of Satin.” (Yes, that was Satan with an “i”.)

    If they respond at all, I would imagine you’ll get one or more of the perspectives I just outlined.

  100. Lea wrote:

    What’s crazy to me is when they say ‘he always seemed like a good guy to me’ like no kidding are you a 17 year old girl? No? Maybe that’s why.

    I’ve seen guys witness other guys who assault or harass women and still defend them that way. “He’s just a little awkward in show her he likes her” or “He didn’t really mean it”.

    I can’t help but wonder if many of them think men deserve to be allowed to do those things because they devalue women so much. Objects shouldn’t complain about how they are treated.

  101. Daisy wrote:

    They will probably refer to the sexual assault by using the word “Mistake.” (Not “sin” and/or “crime” but as a “mistake.”)

    He’s already called it an “incident” and, you are correct, “mistake”.

  102. Gwen wrote:

    I see Mr. Savage has tweeted his response to be found here:
    http://www.highpointmemphis.com/official-statement-from-andy-savage?utm_campaign=coschedule&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=andysavage
    He’s claiming he apologized to and sought forgiveness from Jules.

    Can someone ask Savage then to explain how years after he sexually assaulted Jules, he felt it acceptable to..

    1.teach a “True Love Waits” class to church kids and

    2. to go on and write a book about how to have a good marriage, and

    3. ask how or why he’d tweet so hypocritically about what a shame it is another Hollywood/media type (Matt Lauer) has been accused of sexual harassment/abuse when Savage himself has done that very thing?

  103. @ Daisy:

    Under Savage’s comments was this by a guy named Conlee:

    “This information is not new to me or to our leadership. As one of my closest friends and partners in ministry, I can assure you that I have total confidence in the redemptive process Andy went through under his leadership in Texas. In addition, for more than 16 years, I have watched Andy strive to live a godly life and proactively share what he has learned to help others.”

    ‘Redemptive process’ does not mean allowing a sexual predator into the pulpit, or saying it’s okay for him to publish marital tips books and so on.

    Savage can go to work in some other field that does not involve Christianity or teaching about sexual morals, give me a break.

    Conlee:
    “This information [that Savage has engaged in sexual abuse of an underage female] is not new to me or to our leadership.”

    …And yet…
    you’ve allowed this guy into your church in some kind of leadership or teaching position (or am I wrong about that)?

    If Savage should be in a church as just another every-day congregant is debatable, I suppose, but if your church has him as some sort of preacher, teacher, role model type thing, NO NO NO.

    Source for the Conlee quote above:
    http://www.highpointmemphis.com/official-statement-from-andy-savage

  104. ishy wrote:

    He’s already called it an “incident” and, you are correct, “mistake”.

    These church guys are more predictable than the plot of every ‘Giligan’s Island’ episode, I swear.
    (Professor figures a way off the island, Giligan messes it up).

  105. It seems this is summed up by his name:

    Andy The Savage (def: uncontrolled)

    Or savage: of a people regarded as primitive and uncivilized.

  106. A women is disqualified from becoming a pastor because of her gender. A male pastor must be above reproach. If he is not disqualified when he us not above reproach it means that being female is more sinful than anything a man can do.

  107. Daisy wrote:

    Professor figures a way off the island, Giligan messes it up

    Haven’t you heard the theory that Gilligan was a Sith Lord?

  108. Lea wrote:

    Why do people think they are allowed to ‘redeem’ and forgive people, instead of the person they harmed? Where did anyone get that idea??? It seems pervasive and so wrong.

    Because they (elders, deacons and leaders) are the only ones with power to determine guilt and forgive. It’s disgusting.

  109. You know, if a pastor stole a whole lot of money from any of these pastors, I bet they would have gone to police right away, then made sure the guy never worked in ministry again.

  110. ‘Regretfully had a sexual incident’…sounds like when you prang a car because you’re not paying attention.

    Regardless of the list of things he did afterwards the fact that this is not described accurately is horrendous, how about changing the wording to ‘I drove a vulnerable under-aged girl who had previously been the victim of sexual assault to an isolated location & coerced her to fellate me while I fondled her.’ There, all fixed. Do you think the rest of the statement would run the same way now?

  111. Daisy wrote:

    Conlee:
    “This information [that Savage has engaged in sexual abuse of an underage female] is not new to me or to our leadership.”

    Then Conlee had no clue how to deal with sexual abuse.

  112. Rhonda Aubert wrote:

    A women is disqualified from becoming a pastor because of her gender. A male pastor must be above reproach. If he is not disqualified when he us not above reproach it means that being female is more sinful than anything a man can do.

    It seems they way.

  113. cindy treadway wrote:

    they cover it up because there is criminal action involved, and they don’t want criminal charges pressed, so they have to “cover it up”. two consenting adults is another story. and he would have probably been fired for that like you say. kind of proves they knew it was criminal, whatever…

    You make an excellent point, I hadn’t considered that angle and it does make sense.

  114. ishy wrote:

    You know, if a pastor stole a whole lot of money from any of these pastors, I bet they would have gone to police right away, then made sure the guy never worked in ministry again.

    They value women and children far less than their money. It speaks volumes about their characters.

  115. Megan wrote:

    I feel immensely for this girl but it just goes to show you no one is responsible for any actions they make.

    Can you explain this a bit further? I feel like I’m not following how he wasn’t responsible for this sex crime in your comment.

  116. Megan wrote:

    A 20 year old youth pastor made sexual advances to a conceding girl within his age range, was immediately sorry, apologized to his congregation and immensely to the girl and her family. Yea that’s what I think of as a sexual predator!

    EXACTLY – A PREDATOR. Why didn’t he just ask to date her instead of taking her to a secluded place and demand sex?

  117. Bridget wrote:

    Why didn’t he just ask to date her instead of taking her to a secluded place and demand sex?

    Exactly what I said above!! They were age appropriate, if he hadn’t been her youth pastor, which is like being a teacher but with the spiritual element on top of it which makes it worse.

    But he didn’t try to date her, he USED her for sex!!! F that noise Megan. This was not a good guy.

  118. The Megan wrote:

    Yea all 20 year old guys I knew were all about courtship and never put the moves on anyone before properly asking hem in a date. You’re absolutely right

    Yes, a bit in college tried to put his hand up my skirt, but he’s not a preacher now. And he certainly wasn’t my youth pastor then. No one in this scenario showed any decency or sense. Good night Megan!

  119. Everyone keeps forgetting….gossiping about the people in your church is a sin. Being jealous of others is a sin. Being greedy for more money is a sin. Sexually assaulting a teenager under your spiritual guidance….is a CRIME!!!!

  120. @ Lea:
    [That would be a boy in college.]

    He also didn’t lie about taking me home only to take me to an abandoned lot.

  121. Well now you just had to make me leave one last comment. So since he made a terrible mistake he should not be allowed to be a pastor? Wow y’all must hold your pastors on a higher pedistool than I do.b>@ Lea:

  122. Bridget wrote:

    Megan wrote:

    A 20 year old youth pastor made sexual advances to a conceding girl within his age range, was immediately sorry, apologized to his congregation and immensely to the girl and her family. Yea that’s what I think of as a sexual predator!

    EXACTLY – A PREDATOR. Why didn’t he just ask to date her instead of taking her to a secluded place and demand sex?

    Wait a minute, Megan. When did Savage apologize to the congregation?
    From all that I read, the congregation didn’t know about the sexual assault against Jules. That’s why the gossip ensued, because they don’t know. Further, the pastor told Jules to keep quiet about the sexual assault, and assured her that the church would handle it. They handled it alright, they swept it under the rug and protected Savage from having to face criminal charges and church discipline.

  123. Megan wrote:

    Wow y’all must hold your pastors on a higher pedistool than I do.

    Well, yes. We do hold our pastors to a higher standard. That would be “beyond reproach”. I think that’s in the Bible somewhere.

  124. Megan wrote:

    Well now you just had to make me leave one last comment. So since he made a terrible mistake he should not be allowed to be a pastor? Wow y’all must hold your pastors on a higher pedistool than I do.

    I think it’s more about his response than his mistake. You sound like maybe you prefer unrepentant pastors?

  125. @ Herringbone:
    Megan wrote:

    You sound like you really don’t know the whole story and much like the rest of the country you read one article and run with it.

    None of us know the whole story except the ones who were there. You certainly don’t since you were not there. But the evidence available does seem to indicate that his actions were less righteous than what we would expect of a pastor.

  126. Megan wrote:

    Well then you don’t know enough of the story. Common problem when it comes to people making assumptions in this country.@ Darlene.:

    Megan, you said that Savage apologized to the congregation. Seems to me you took that out of thin air.

  127. I’m so incredibly thankful for the courage of Jules and all those who are supporting her and are willing to publicly advocate for her. Her story is compelling and the fact that her abuser and those complicit in covering up his crimes were unscathed is a terrible miscarriage of justice. A special thanks to A Cry for Justice. You’ve been my rock for the past three years.

  128. @ Robert M:
    In one sense, it doesn’t really matter. As Christians, we can’t let forgiveness mean forget it ever happened. These brave women deserve justice. In the name of forgiveness, too many things have been swept under the rug. Even if Savage can’t be brought up on charges, a part of justice is forcing Savage to actually face what he did. It feels so inadequate, but that is what we have and the very least the victim deserves.

    Jules and Darcy, your bravery is inspiring. Hold on to the truth of who you are, not the evil lies you have heard from others.

  129. Megan wrote:

    Well now you just had to make me leave one last comment.

    Who “made” you do this? It must be a bummer to have so little control over your actions.

  130. Darlene. wrote:

    Further, the pastor told Jules to keep quiet about the sexual assault, and assured her that the church would handle it. They handled it alright, they swept it under the rug and protected Savage from having to face criminal charges and church discipline.

    And Jules didn’t tell her parents. She had no one to confide in. AND Jules is the one who told the pastors, not the great leader Andy Savage himself, but the 17 year old girl.

  131. This sort of reminds me of the scene in American Pie when one of the boys is in his car on a date and he turns to the girl and says, “suck me, beautiful.” It was played for laughs.

    It also reminds me of when I was a youth intern and one of the male interns started secretly dating one of the students. I think maybe there was an inappropriate phone call once or twice. He confided in me about the relationship (but not the phone call) and I didn’t say anything. They were three years apart, flirted all the time, and I didn’t want to be a narc. I bought a pack of cigarettes instead. He wasn’t a bad guy, just a stupid, horny, 20 something boy.

    I can imagine Andy being a manipulative sexual predator who works the system and the theology to his advantage. I can also imagine Andy being barely twenty and arrogant and totally unprepared for the attention of all the high school girls, and then acts like a total ______ (fill in the blank).

    Jules, you thought you were getting ice cream! That’s the saddest part. I cannot imagine how traumatic that must have been. And then the social shame on top of it. I am sorry.

  132. Megan wrote:

    Gladly, she consented. She did not have to, he did not force himself on her. He was 20 years old. It is very clear he made a horrorinle mistake but one that she participated in. But bc he was youth pastor she felt intimidated?

    If I conceded to every sexual approach by inappropriate men and circumstances I would not be standing up 20 years later blaming them and I would have a very extensive sexual history. I in no way think this makes him a sexual predator. Young, dumb, showing bad judgement?? Yes, absolutely, but not an evil sexual predator.

    So much wrong with your comment.

    Even Savage knew there was something wrong with his behavior, because he dropped to his knees begging God for forgiveness, asked Jules to keep it quiet, etc. Some want to say those actions was just him manipulating her even further, but regardless of that, it shows he knew on some level he was taking advantage of her and committing sexual sin.

    Girls in Christianity are raised to be compliant, sweet little doormats, and even Non-Christian girls freeze up or act shocked in similar situations. They will sometimes comply out of fear or shock in such situations.

    Jules was only 17 when this event happened: look at all the women, ages 20, 30 and older who were placed in similar scenarios by sexual predators such as movie producer Harvey Weinstein or actor Dustin Hoffman.

    These sorts of guys exploit a girl or woman’s tendencies to freeze up, or be polite (rather than “make a scene”) etc.

    I know my mother sure raised me to be that way : she equated being a sweet, compliant, doormat with being a “good Christian.”

    So, I was not taught to fight back or scream “No!” when and if people abused me or were simply rude.

    Christianity in particular sets girls up to be easily preyed up by perverts then faults them after the fact. That’s what you’re doing.

    You used the word “Mistake.” You must be trolling. What he did was sexual abuse or exploitation, which is more serious than making a “mistake.”

    I don’t think she “gladly” consented. Girls in situations like that (especially ones not taught to have strong boundaries by their parents) are going to be easily confused and not fully understand what is going on or how to react when something like that occurs.

    The slime ball was to take her home, but instead drove her to a deserted area. He had this planned in advance – even prior to that, he was grooming her with the tickling games he was playing on her and so on. So yes, he’s a predator.

    The blame or fault is solely on him.

  133. Megan wrote:

    Yea all 20 year old guys I knew were all about courtship and never put the moves on anyone before properly asking hem in a date. You’re absolutely right

    This 20 year old guy was the youth pastor who happened to be teaching purity classes, and who, according to this article, never repented before the congregation, nor to Jules, nor to her parents.

    (Q to moderator: based on blog post promising to disallow victim-blaming, why are Megan the Enabler’s comments being published?)

    Jules, what you are doing is so remarkably brave and noble. Don’t let the “megans” of the world cause you to doubt the course you’ve taken; NEVER sit in the seat of the scornful. Psalm 1.

  134. Megan wrote:

    It makes me think unchristian thoughts so that’s my cue.
    Hope y’all have been forgiven for mistakes in your past and 20 years later you will not be called out publicly with atrocious names

    I’ve never raped, groped, anyone over the course of my life.

    Nor have I coerced or pressured any one ever, not a 17 year old kid, or anyone of any other age, nor would I.

    I’ve never used any position of trust or influence I had to sexually take advantage of a person.

    Some of my worst sins in life include flipping off rude motorists when I lived in Houston. But no rape or groping, Megan.

  135. Megan wrote:

    So since he made a terrible mistake he should not be allowed to be a pastor? Wow y’all must hold your pastors on a higher pedistool than I do

    The Bible has criteria for leadership roles in the church, and sexually exploiting a teen aged girl would be one thing that would disqualify a guy from holding any sort of powerful position.

    At this point I suspect you’re just trolling the blog, though.

  136. @ Megan:

    It’s not my blog but it’s become evident to me the longer I scroll down the page and read your replies to other commentators that you’re only here to troll, and so, I hope you are given the permanent boot.

  137. @ Megan:

    You posted above that he apologized immensely to her family and the *congregation*… do you know that as fact, or based on his *public* apology he posted this afternoon?

  138. Anonymous wrote:

    He was 19!!! @ Abigail:

    Anonymous-he was 19 when he started at the church. He was the Youth Pastor and had been there for several years when he assaulted her. So, if a guy in his 20s assaulted you, would you go to the police or would you think it was just a youthful fling and have a good old laugh with your girlfriends? Get your story straight and don’t listen to the rumors.

  139. @ Anonymous:
    Why do I get the feeling that you would be the first one at the police station if a 20 something guy f=dragged you down a dirt road to molest you?

  140. @ Bridget:

    True and just because we are forgiven doesn’t mean we can be in a leadership position or a pastor. Divorced people cant so why should someone who commits sexual assault.

  141. Megan wrote:

    . So since he made a terrible mistake he should not be allowed to be a pastor?

    Excuse me. Is this what you are taught in your church? That a molestation is a simple *mistake.* A mistake is forgetting your lunch when you left for work. It is not a sin or a crime. Dragging a minor down an isolated dirt road to molest her is both a crime and a sin. What are they teaching in churches these days????

  142. Megan wrote:

    Hope y’all have been forgiven for mistakes in your past and 20 years later you will not be called out publicly with atrocious names

    You do not need t be forgiven for a mistake. You need to be forgiven for a sin and you need to go to the police to receive justice for a crime. Unless you go to one of those churches that says to ignore the law and do what comes natural??If so, bless your heart.

  143. “A mistake”
    “A bad decision”

    I’m confused: Which was the singular mistake or singular bad decision?

    Was it deciding to go take an attractive and vulnerable woman home alone in his car? Was it deciding to park said car with her in a secluded lane?

    ***Graphic Warning***
    Was it him unzipping his jeans? Or was it exposing his penis to her and instructing her to suck it? Or was the bad decision or mistake him touching her breasts?

    ******
    Or was the bad decision instructing her to hide what he did with/to her and KNEW to be wrong at the time? Or was it a mistake that he did not report himself to the proper legal authorities?

    …I could go on, but I think you’ll get my point. This is not “a” mistake or “a” bad decision. There’s FAR more than that in even the little we know about it.

  144. David wrote:

    And any person (thinking specifically of men, since I am one) who can’t handle the “temptation” of a younger female in the same vicinity, consider a new profession. Also, lay off the X-rated matieral, since it always seems those two issues come in pairs. I did Bible Studies for High Schoolers in small towns after college (and am roughly Savage’s age), so I’m not speaking without experience – you do not mess around with this temptation, and you do not blame the victim, period.

    Good word for both men and women serving. Stay legal, respectable, licensed, godly, within healthy boundaries, and in holy righteous agape love in one’s profession or calling or volunteerism (youth workers, coaches, teachers, mentors, social workers, etc., secular or religious).

  145. Anonymous wrote:

    He was 19!!! @ Abigail:

    He was 23. He is 42 now.

    She was 17.

    Just for perspective, that’s like an 18 y/o male doing this to a 12 y/o female. OR a 23 y/o man doing that to a 17 y/o girl.

  146. Megan wrote:

    DEMAND sex??? When did he do that???

    Let me put this simply so you can understand what happened. When a man who is functioning in the capacity as a youth Pastor aka clergy and has reached his majority and is big and strong takes a minor down an isolated dirt road where no one could see or hear her and pulls out his dick and tells her to suck it, that is a situation in which a reasonable person like Jules could perceive that her life was in danger if she did not comply. In fact, police often tell women to comply as opposed to scream in order to stay alive and well.

    I don’t know how they view that in Memphis or wherever the heck you come from, but in Raleigh, I consider this a dangerous situation and so would most of law enforcement. You do understand that Andy would have been arrested if the pastor had called the police like they should have, right?

    Oh yeah, and if it had been my daughter, there would have been a different outcome. Savage would be on the sex offender registry by the time I got through. Who knows, maybe he might still be put on one.

  147. Btw, this is not “just” a “sexual incident.” This is a classic case of ministerial sexual abuse/misconduct. The age difference in immaterial in determining whether or not this was wrong. He was her pastor. This was a professional abusing his power to get sex.

    AND HE KNEW IT WAS WRONG AT THE TIME OR WHY DID HE BOTHER TELLING HER TO KEEP IT A SECRET TO HER GRAVE!!!

  148. I cannot wait to share the comments of the obviously theologically deficient people commenting on the Highpoint Memphis Facebook pages. I have screen shots. I will be doing a full analysis on Monday. Savage is guilty of another crime and that is poor theological training of the people in his church. Good night!! They all sound like Megan.

  149. There are more news media getting in contact with Jules. This story will soon be covered extensively. I wonder how Savage is going to explain the sexual *incident* that took place on a dark, deserted dirt road where a teen had reason to fear for her safety. Yep-that Savage is quite a guy!

  150. Divorce Minister wrote:

    Btw, this is not “just” a “sexual incident.” This is a classic case of ministerial sexual abuse/misconduct. The age difference in immaterial in determining whether or not this was wrong. He was her pastor. This was a professional abusing his power to get sex.
    AND HE KNEW IT WAS WRONG AT THE TIME OR WHY DID HE BOTHER TELLING HER TO KEEP IT A SECRET TO HER GRAVE!!!

    Darn straight.

  151. Every one needs to pray for Jules tonight. She has been devastated by Savage’s response. he NEVER, EVER, EVER. apologized to her. Proof positive. He didn’t answer her email on December 1 he was hoping she would go away.

  152. It was just a mistake just like wearing one blue sock and one black sock. Just a mistake…Banging my head against the table.

  153. @ Anonymous:
    Or a college grad brand newly licensed high school teacher (man or woman) going after a high school student from one of their high school classes. Criminal. License lost, forever. Teacher, male or female, goes to jail. Case closed. Officially designated a sexual predator, forever, too.

  154. I think some of this has been mentioned but I want to reiterate it…
    He was “clergy” and she was in the youth group. What he did, according to what I understand of Texas law, was a crime. A crime.
    If he had not been acting as her youth pastor, but as a guy that wanted to date her or was dating her and the same “incident” happened and came to light, yes, there would be disappointment, but I think there would be less condemnation than this situation has bought. They very reason this is a big problem is because he was on a church staff as a pastor!
    As mandated reporters, the other pastors who knew of this and did not report it have also committed a crime. Yes?
    The arrogance of him tweeting and posting to facebook with comments against sexual abuse, etc, when he did the same thing 20 years ago is disgusting. He apologized? According to himself….

    I hope criminal charges are pressed.

    I hope the other pastors are also charged.

    His dumb mistake was made even more heinous in that he was a pastor and was to be “above reproach”.
    So, I’m not condemning him for dumb choices that many of us may have been caught up in during our teens, but for taking advantage of his position. I have no respect for how the other pastors handled this either.

    Anyone who has any sympathy for Andy or the other pastors really needs to do some soul searching. I have sympathy for Jules and all those surrounding these pastors now, but none for them.

    Good for you, Jules, in speaking out. I know it was hard. You waited 20 years after you first tried to address this issue in several different ways.
    Stay strong!

  155. dee wrote:

    It was just a mistake just like wearing one blue sock and one black sock. Just a mistake…Banging my head against the table.

    Yep, classic minimization of very serious sin and possibly criminal behavior (I’m not a lawyer).

  156. Megan wrote:

    Gladly, she consented. She did not have to, he did not force himself on her.

    Are you purposely sticking your head in the sand? This was a deserted dirt road -isolated. She had reason to fear for her wellbeing. If she screamed, no one would have heard her and Savage knew it. If she had screamed, I believe he would have caused her greater hard.

    How could you, a woman, say she c\gladly consented to oral sex??I bet you thin Matt Later was a nice guy.
    because you said this you are permanently banned from commenting at this blog. you should be ashamed of yourself. Someday you will understand how desperately wrong you are and why you need to repent of saying such ghastly things.

  157. Have you been to Highpoint to EXPERIENCE what God is doing or has done? If you have, you didn’t stick around long enough to know that these men in leadership roles and “staff” filled women are totally equal!! ““Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”
    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬ @ Lea:

  158. Megan has been banned from TWW permanently for victim shaming. She came from Memphis and was a Highpoint bot. I will be posting on the comments that people from Highpoint are making on Monday. Besides being a molester, Savage is a really poor expositor of the Bible. I have never seen such silliness…wait- yeah I have. The Joel Osteen crowd.

  159. Anonymous wrote:

    He was 19!!!

    As a mother of two teenage boys and one girl, somebody just shoot me if I ever succumb to this despicable display of rationalizing. Conscience and integrity should be well established by the time one is able to discern right from wrong; exponentially so for a believer. Given my 15+ years observing the debauchery of the institutional church, I’m still amazed by what low expectations christendom has for fellow churchians. Sickening on so many levels. I’ll never darken another church door again.

  160. JYJames wrote:

    @ Anonymous:
    Or a college grad brand newly licensed high school teacher (man or woman) going after a high school student from one of their high school classes. Criminal. License lost, forever. Teacher, male or female, goes to jail. Case closed. Officially designated a sexual predator, forever, too.

    Aw…you mean they can’t just be forgiven and go back to teaching? Which leads me to ask: Who has the higher standards, secular society or the church? It seems forgiveness in many Christian circles is Carte Blanche to do whatever you want.

  161. Darlene. wrote:

    Aw…you mean they can’t just be forgiven and go back to teaching? Which leads me to ask: Who has the higher standards, secular society or the church?

    I don’t wonder any longer. The last 19 years of witnessing the actions of churches has landed me on the side of secular society.

  162. J wrote:

    Have you been to Highpoint to EXPERIENCE what God is doing or has done?

    Bless your heart. It is all about the *experience* isn’t it? Well, let me tell you about an experience that one young woman had on a dark, deserted dirt road with Savage. Yep she really experienced something. Too bad it was a crime.

    Now, it appears that you are another one of those people who know lots about *experience*. and very little about the Bible. Let me fill you in and maybe you could help out your similarly uninformed buddies who are lost in the experience.

    The judgement discussed in that verse is discussing the final judgement. Only God makes that judgement and that is why you will never hear me go down that road.

    The Bible does tell us to judge actions, especially those actions that are sins. In other words, I can say that Savage was wrong to molest Jules. I can say that he needs to punished for molesting Jules. I can say he does not belong in the pulpit because he molested Jules. But I cannot say he isn’t going to be saved in the final judgement because only God does that and he doesn’t need my editorial advice.

    Are you telling me that if a man came into your church and embezzled all of the collections on Sunday, that you would *judge *him. Of course you would. Or, if a man broke into your house and stole you big flat screen TV, you would say that such an action is wrong? you know you would. You would have judged and judge appropriately.

    But, the fact that you don’t get it is because you have been lost in the *experience.* Please find a real pastor who actually teaches you the Bible and stops with the silly phrases such as “the perfect place for imperfect people.” There is a reason he chose that and I am beginning to guess why.

  163. J wrote:

    Have you been to Highpoint to EXPERIENCE what God is doing or has done?

    Have you EXPERIENCED what Jules did as a 17 year old??

  164. Bridget wrote:

    J wrote:
    Have you been to Highpoint to EXPERIENCE what God is doing or has done?
    Have you EXPERIENCED what Jules did as a 17 year old??

    You and I are on the same page!!!!LOL

  165. Darlene. wrote:

    Aw…you mean they can’t just be forgiven and go back to teaching? Which leads me to ask: Who has the higher standards, secular society or the church? It seems forgiveness in many Christian circles is Carte Blanche to do whatever you want.

    Yup. A youth pastor, or any pastor, surely can!!! But, if a substitute school teacher does it. …….. woo hooo, he/she’d never be allowed to enter a school again ……. then there’d be the handcuffs and news headlines ….. You know, all of the appropriate repercussions.

  166. Divorce Minister wrote:

    dee wrote:
    It was just a mistake just like wearing one blue sock and one black sock. Just a mistake…Banging my head against the table.
    Yep, classic minimization of very serious sin and possibly criminal behavior (I’m not a lawyer).

    Yeah but you and I can speculate. I can tell you that we have been advised that there is a legal problem with what happened.

  167. @ JYJames:
    I teach teachers, and this is the truth. We had an alum (graduated the year before I started) sleeping with a 16 year old student. She is in jail in the state of Washington awaiting trial. She will never teach again and could serve 7 years. All this is public info. The church could learn something if it wasn’t so busy looking down it’s nose at “secular” people

  168. J wrote:

    Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”
    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬ @ Lea:

    “And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him.”
    Mark 12:17.
    The guy committed a criminal act. He should have been reported to secular authorities.

  169. @ Nancy2 (aka Kevlar):
    You and I were teachers so we know exactly what would happen to a teacher in the public school system if they treated a student like Andy Savage treated Jules. The cops would come and slap handcuffs on them and cart them away to the interrogation room, where they would then be questioned about their criminal exploits. They’d never get a teaching job in the public school system again!

  170. This is front page on Memphis news already with an invitation for any other victims to come forward.

  171. Darlene. wrote:

    It seems forgiveness in many Christian circles is Carte Blanche to do whatever you want.

    Actually some communities can be highly and authoritatively selective about who in the hierarchy gets Carte Blanche. Everyone may not get to do whatever they want, but some people may have that green light.

  172. dee wrote:

    Every one needs to pray for Jules tonight. She has been devastated by Savage’s response. he NEVER, EVER, EVER. apologized to her. Proof positive. He didn’t answer her email on December 1 he was hoping she would go away.

    I sent you a Tweet earlier tonight about this.

    I really think it would be psychologically healthier for her to accept the fact that he’s never going to apologize or do the right thing, neither is her former church.

    I wish she could shift focus to the tremendous amount of support that others are giving her here and on Twitter instead.

    That guy and the church are more about covering their own behinds and keeping their jobs, marriage intact than they are about acknowledging what he did was wrong.
    I’d be very surprised if Savage or the pastors ever apologize or try to make amends.

  173. J wrote:

    Have you been to Highpoint to EXPERIENCE what God is doing or has done? If you have, you didn’t stick around long enough to know that these men in leadership roles and “staff” filled women are totally equal!! ““Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”

    Are you “Meagan” under a different name?

  174. Muff Potter wrote:

    And yet in the larger milieu of fundagelicalism, when it’s little kids and teens, they cover it up and look the other way.

    Like a bully would. Power differentiation evident (and the opposite of how Jesus used power).

  175. passerby wrote:

    Given my 15+ years observing the debauchery of the institutional church, I’m still amazed by what low expectations christendom has for fellow churchians. Sickening on so many levels. I’ll never darken another church door again.

    A lot of these types of Christians seem to hold Non-Christians to higher moral standards than they do other Christians, which is backwards of Paul’s comments in 1 Corinthians 5.

    If Andy Savage had been an atheist or Non-Christian secular guy in Hollywood or in the media, you can bet that Megan, J, and all the other Savage defenders would be yelling about how awful he is or was and wanting him to rot.

  176. dee wrote:

    I cannot wait to share the comments of the obviously theologically deficient people commenting on the Highpoint Memphis Facebook pages. I have screen shots. I will be doing a full analysis on Monday. Savage is guilty of another crime and that is poor theological training of the people in his church. Good night!! They all sound like Megan.

    Some commentor, J, stressed the “EXPERIENCE” at High Point.
    Sounds to me like a big rock concert with a bunch of groupies slobbering over the performers.

  177. dee wrote:

    But, the fact that you don’t get it is because you have been lost in the *experience.* Please find a real pastor who actually teaches you the Bible and stops with the silly phrases such as “the perfect place for imperfect people.” There is a reason he chose that and I am beginning to guess why.

    Amy of the Watch Keep blog once did a post about how Steve Furtick of Elevation Church put a known pedophile in charge of the men’s sexual purity group, and Furtick had him up on stage one to honor him or give him a plaque or something.

    I don’t know what weird reality these types of Christians are living in where they want to honor and esteem rapists and child molesters.

    It’s all well and good to forgive someone in a spiritual sense, but they still need to face earthly justice or consequences and NOT be rewarded with perks or positions of power and so on.

  178. @ Jean:
    It’s because they believe they need to uphold the reputation of the Church. If the Church was pure it’s reputation wouldn’t need upholding. I ignore those comments because they are a part of the problem not the remedy.

  179. Daisy wrote:

    I’d be very surprised if Savage or the pastors ever apologize or try to make amends.

    P.S. I’m afraid if any of them do offer an apology at this time on in the next few weeks, it will be due to public scrutiny, not out of true remorse.

    Remember the Karen Root situation? Matt Chandler and Co. only apologized after receiving a crap ton of bad publicity from the public, and after some mainstream media outlets started covering what happened there.

    They apologized to cover their own behinds, not because they were TRULY sorry for how they treated Karen.

  180. J wrote:

    Have you been to Highpoint to EXPERIENCE what God is doing or has done? If you have, you didn’t stick around long enough to know that these men in leadership roles and “staff” filled women are totally equal!! ““Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”
    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬ @ Lea:

    Whitewashed sepulchers filed with rotting corpses look pretty good from the outside, too.

  181. Divorce Minister wrote:

    Yep, classic minimization of very serious sin and possibly criminal behavior

    Classic clergy bait and switch. The young lady in the youth group was receptive to God. The youth leader cornered the hungry-for-God youth into being a receptacle for his lust. Sick, evil. (Parallel to the Big Tent Revivals when folks are receptive to God but then asked to empty their pockets – bait and switch for power, lust, and/or money grab.)

  182. Assuming her details are correct, it was definitely sexual assault. It’s easy to say ‘she didn’t have to do it’ but if you haven’t been in that situation you don’t understand.
    I do have to say the whole ‘if you disagree with anything we wrote in this article your will be deleted and banned is a joke and insane. People should be able to share their thoughts.
    Also, why would you not reach out for responses Before posting? And lastly this post is very amateurish.
    I’m not a big fan of Savage. I find him to be arrogant and a few other things… I hope she feels some sense of calm after this all coming out.

  183. JYJames wrote:

    Darlene. wrote:

    It seems forgiveness in many Christian circles is Carte Blanche to do whatever you want.

    Actually some communities can be highly and authoritatively selective about who in the hierarchy gets Carte Blanche. Everyone may not get to do whatever they want, but some people may have that green light.

    Oh yes. “All animals are equal, but some ate more equal than others.”

  184. dee wrote:

    You and I are on the same page!!!!LOL

    It seems as though Andy Savage is teaching some unbelievable proof texting. 😉

  185. Daisy wrote:

    If Andy Savage had been an atheist or Non-Christian secular guy in Hollywood or in the media, you can bet that Megan, J, and all the other Savage defenders would be yelling about how awful he is or was and wanting him to rot.

    Yep.

  186. “I apologized and sought forgiveness from her, her parents, her discipleship group, the church staff, and the church leadership, who informed the congregation,” he said on the church website. “In agreement with wise counsel, I took every step to respond in a biblical way.” Andy Savage

    What a lovely version of the response Andy shared. It doesn’t seem to be Jules experience at all.

    The correct response would have been marching Andy Savage to the police station as soon as Jules told the “top pastors.”

  187. refugee wrote:

    What in the world is sexual atheism or whatever he called it?

    Where did you read that? Talk about strange. I’m trying to wrap my mind around that one but I’m having a hard time. The closest thing I can think of is someone who doesn’t believe in the existence of sex. 🙂

  188. @ refugee:
    From the Raw Story Comments:

    “Another rapist with skeletons in his closet obsessing on other people’s sex lives. I swear, it’s … every … single … one of them.”

    Good point from the commenter. Instead of fixing the real problem as he, the perp, well knows, he is out to fix the world. Good luck.

  189. refugee wrote:

    What in the world is sexual atheism or whatever he called it?

    I dunno, but I don’t see how it can be any worse than what he did to Jules!

  190. Darlene. wrote:

    refugee wrote:

    What in the world is sexual atheism or whatever he called it?

    Where did you read that? Talk about strange. I’m trying to wrap my mind around that one but I’m having a hard time. The closest thing I can think of is someone who doesn’t believe in the existence of sex.

    It was mentioned in the Raw Story article Dee linked. Also, if you scroll down far enough, you see the phrase in the Sex Nation banner in a Savage tweet promoting a #sexnation sermon series in 2015.

  191. Abigail wrote:

    Being greedy for more money

    I respect what Abigail was saying but in my personal experience being greedy for more money is not a sin in the evangelical faith it is a virtue, in fact, the more vicious and merciless U are the better. Now it’s not preached directly from the pulpit but it oozes out of every pore. Don’t believe me, get on the wrong side of a church split, church take over, church financial decision, when leadership is taking the church in a “new direction”, when they put the assets for the church in a trust that is controlled by the lead pastor, etc. The Roman’s showed more mercy to Jesus during the passion than U will be shown if U do.

    That also includes doctrinal and theological issues but the number one with a bullet issue that will get U the boot always has to do with Money and or direct power. I admit this to my shame as true followers of the way dont weep, cry, fear, need (anything ever), grieve, etc. If I learned one thing back in the day as a believer I learned that.

    Jules I am so sorry for what happened to you I wish I could take the pain away.

  192. Developmental disparity, or Innocence disparity:

    “… it was something along the lines of ‘you’ll see’ or ‘it’s a surprise.’ I know for sure he did not tell me where he was taking me. I remember feeling special and excited, as in my mind, he obviously wanted to spend more time with me before taking me home. I assumed we were going to get ice cream.”

    Her idea of a surprise? Ice cream.

    His idea of a surprise? A blow job.

    Ouch. Tragic. Considering the pastor’s “True Love Waits” workshop, how about a “True Love Tells the Truth” or ‘Truth Love Does Not Assault” or “True Love Respects and Protects” workshop. Doesn’t even have to be “True Love”. Could just be “Love”, for God is Love and God does not condone what happened to Jules.

  193. Seems it would be easy to corroborate Andy’s story. Ask Jules’ parents if Andy apologized to them. Since Andy apologized to the congregation, there should be a recording or many witnesses of that. Of course, Jules can’t be considered an accurate historian of her own life. (arghh!) Jules is getting nothing but more anguish out of this. And people wonder why victims don’t speak up…

  194. Perusing the Raw Story comments, many suggest this was neither this dude’s first nor only rodeo.

  195. Jules I am so sorry you had this horrible trauma and have had to carry this burden all these years. Coming from a broken home myself I know how vulnerable we are and how low we feel about ourselves as we watch other families thrive in church and we are barely hanging on for hope. What a horrendous experince you encountered when you looked to the church to be a family. I too needed that family and know how damaging it is to the gospel and our very souls when it is darkened by such acts.

    I’m glad you shared your story so that this poison can be released from you. No matter the outcome you can find personal freedom and healing. I hoped a better response was given but just having read the pastors and Andy’s response I’m assuming “they are in damage control”.

    On that note both pastors are guilty. The senior for not reporting to authorities as is required by law and Andy. I do hope that these two individuals as well as other pastors and board members who participated in covering up this crime will be brought to justice. The name of Christ is being mocked when payment for crimes are not met with justice by pastors, they are better off in civilian life working out their salvation. God is a God if justice, his rules, his way. These men of the word are further damaging it by their mockery and slick plans.

    God is not mocked, what we sow we reap.

  196. I have not read Jules’ direct comments about this, but having lived in The Woodlands for decades, the only dirt, non-concrete roads that might have existed within The Woodlands at that time would be those under development by The Woodlands Corporation, meaning they were clearly marked as PRIVATE PROPERTY.

    Once the trees are cut down and a dirt road plowed in prior to pouring concrete and foundations for homes, ALL private property roads owned by The Woodlands Corp have blockades. It isn’t hard to get around the blockades because those working on building out new development have to enter the restricted areas. But they all have NO TRESPASSING signs **CLEARLY** posted. High school kids would routinely use various areas for various activity (including illegal drug sales) at night. Every South Montgomery County prosecutor could tell you where the current undeveloped “dirt road hot spots” were.

    So, unless this was a really, really long stretch of Research Forest Dr leading out to the then new Stonebridge church site, which seems highly implausible based on my memory of how far the paved, public Research Forest Dr went at that time, and unless Jules’ home was outside of The Woodlands and this dirt road in some other part of Montgomery or Harris Counties, Savage had to have committed this crime on privately owned property that was clearly marked with NO TRESPASSING signs.

    I find it unfathomable to even consider that he had never driven down this “dirt road” before or at the very least didn’t know that he was trespassing.

  197. Megan wrote:

    Well now you just had to make me leave one last comment. So since he made a terrible mistake he should not be allowed to be a pastor? Wow y’all must hold your pastors on a higher pedistool than I do.b>@ Lea:

    This was not a “mistake”, Megan. This was a premeditated act by a pastor with a young girl who had previously been a victim of sexual assault. It was a criminal act. It is important that we call things by their correct names.

  198. Robert M wrote:

    What struck me was Savage suddenly begging for forgiveness during the attack. Do you think it was genuine remorse, or manipulation?

    Because I’m thinking it was manipulation.

    That jumped out at me, too.

    1. He planned this for when the right opportunity came along, is obvious.

    2. In that world and with that age group, spiritual emotionalism is practically a key ingredient to youth groups. Doing that and then his performance of screaming to God for forgiveness was a manipulation tactic. (If he was so out of control, he needed to be locked up as a danger, right?)

    Why and where that emotional manipulation in youth groups comes from is a huge topic. But I will say this, many youth groups are stifling to emotional development and maturing even without abuse. Parents beware.

  199. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Bridget wrote:

    Not sure what the age of consent is in Texas when considering the child aspect.

    I would guess 16, possibly even 14 (which I vaguely remember was Louisiana’s at one time).
    Texas is a former Confederate State with a Frontier Attitude, and both of those cultural memes would tend to lower the age of consent.

    That’s silly. Do you guys ever look at the migration and growth patterns of the last 40 years? Not to mention the invention of air conditioning changed everything before those booms.

  200. @ dee:
    That statement is clever emotional manipulation. And he has his backup.

    The older these stage Cult of Personality Christians get, the better they are at it.

  201. From the ageofconsent.net website

    The Texas Age of Consent is 17 years old. In the United States, the age of consent is the minimum age at which an individual is considered legally old enough to consent to participation in sexual activity. Individuals aged 16 or younger in Texas are not legally able to consent to sexual activity, and such activity may result in prosecution for statutory rape.

    Texas statutory rape law is violated when a person has consensual sexual intercourse with an individual under age 17. While there is no close in age exemption, defenses exist when the offender was no more than 3 years older then the victim and of the opposite sex. sexual intercourse between an employee of a school and a student is also prohibited, unless they are married, and no age of consent is specified in this law.

    Texas does not have a close-in-age exemption. Close in age exemptions, commonly known as “Romeo and Juliet laws”, are put in place to prevent the prosecution of individuals who engage in consensual sexual activity when both participants are significantly close in age to each other, and one or both partners are below the age of consent.
    Because there is no such “Romeo and Juliet law” in Texas, it is possible for two individuals both under the age of 17 who willingly engage in intercourse to both be prosecuted for statutory rape, although this is rare. Similarly, no protections are reserved for sexual relations in which one participant is a 16 year old and the second is a 17 or 18 year old.

  202. dee wrote:

    Every one needs to pray for Jules tonight. She has been devastated by Savage’s response. he NEVER, EVER, EVER. apologized to her. Proof positive. He didn’t answer her email on December 1 he was hoping she would go away.

    Thanks for sharing this. Maybe he was counting ‘in so sorry please don’t tell anyone’ as an apology, rather than a manipulative attempt to save his hide…

  203. J wrote:

    Have you been to Highpoint to EXPERIENCE what God is doing or has done? If you have, you didn’t stick around long enough to know that these men in leadership roles and “staff” filled women are totally equal!! ““Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”
    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬ @ Lea:

    Totally equal!!!

    Just not ‘leadership’. Or pastors. Honey, I get it. Been there. Done that. Got the tshirt.

    Over it.

  204. Lydia wrote:

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Bridget wrote:

    Not sure what the age of consent is in Texas when considering the child aspect.

    I would guess 16, possibly even 14 (which I vaguely remember was Louisiana’s at one time).
    Texas is a former Confederate State with a Frontier Attitude, and both of those cultural memes would tend to lower the age of consent.

    That’s silly. Do you guys ever look at the migration and growth patterns of the last 40 years? Not to mention the invention of air conditioning changed everything before those booms.

    To put your comment in historical perspective, Laura Ingells Wilder obtained a teaching certificate at age 16. That was in a mid Western state.

  205. Lowlandseer wrote:

    Because there is no such “Romeo and Juliet law” in Texas, it is possible for two individuals both under the age of 17 who willingly engage in intercourse to both be prosecuted for statutory rape, although this is rare. Similarly, no protections are reserved for sexual relations in which one participant is a 16 year old and the second is a 17 or 18 year old.

    The Raw Story referenced the law about clergy abuse in Texas.

  206. That might not be the only charge, though, because he did drive her to a deserted place without her or her mother’s consent. That might be considered an abduction and might include the charge of rape because her compliance is considered a way to save her life in a dangerous situation.

  207. ishy wrote:

    That might be considered an abduction and might include the charge of rape because her compliance is considered a way to save her life in a dangerous situation.

    I don’t know where I fall on that – I think I would need a better sense from Jules on how she felt. I would need to know if she felt in danger.

    Regardless, it was predatory behavior. He used her. That is what sticks out to me. And she did not sign up to go there with him. He was supposed to take her home.

    You know, for all this guys talk of all the terribly worldly no good stuff about sex, I met a guy at a club and he offered to take me home. You know where he took me? Home. It seems to me that these pastors are frequently behaving much much worse than their counterparts in the real world.

  208. Lea wrote:

    I don’t know where I fall on that – I think I would need a better sense from Jules on how she felt. I would need to know if she felt in danger.

    He told her mom he would bring her home. And I’m guessing the legal age was still 18 at that time even though the age of consent was 17.

    But either way, the clergy abuse law would still apply.

  209. I can’t get over how he’s saying that he “took full responsibility” and apologized to her parents. Taking full responsibility includes legal responsibility and announcing the full story to the church at the time. It doesn’t mean to cover it up with everybody, move away, and get another ministry job within a few years. Then lie about it when it all comes out.

  210. ishy wrote:

    But either way, the clergy abuse law would still apply.

    Absolutely.

    It also bothers me greatly that he knew she had previously been assaulted. Then he did everything possible to put her in a situation where she might legitimately be afraid to say no.

    This has no comparison to legitimate dating/’sexual incidents’

  211. Jules, I believe you and I support you.

    As a child, I was abused by my own father. And before my mother and step-father alerted any authority, they sent me to our pastor. He told me to take responsibility for “whatever portion was [my] responsibility”, holding his hands apart to show me how much rape I should claim as my own doing, and ask forgiveness from my rapist father, from the church, and from Jesus. I was 15 years old. I understand the “wave of guilt” you mentioned, as well as the embarrassment and shame. It still haunts me to this day.

    Jules, I pray that you find peace – I wish this for us all. And I pray that these people in positions of power within the church stop enabling crime, particularly crimes against children, and start holding themselves to the standard of the law.

  212. Dear Jules,
    Please just hang in & totally ignore people like Megan & also the protestations of your abuser.
    You were failed not just by him, but by those he worked for & I can speak to that with total confidence as I’m a Youth Team Manager in real life, & a Senior Youth Worker. I’ve been a Youth Worker for 23 years, including 15 concurrently as a Church Youth Worker. I manage a team of Youth Workers, including males in their 20’s.
    It should never even have gotten to the point that he drove you home – the ‘tickling’ incident should have been it, it shows incredibly poor judgement & on my team that would have been the end of any 1-1 interaction you had with him. I deal with this stuff all the time, & there are very clear ways of safeguarding both young people & staff. Crushes happen, both ways, & there are ways of handling these. That wasn’t your situation though as whatever you felt for him, he was abusing you. I know this because:
    He was in a position of influence over you, & that means legally & morally he must not pursue any kind of sexual/romantic relationship with you if he has met you in his professional position. No Youth Pastor, however young, should be in a relationship with a young person they work with. If in a previously existing relationship when appointed to a staff position, then that can continue but under strict boundaries, such as no touching when at group activities etc
    The tickling thing should have been the end of it. Who in their right mind thinks this is appropriate behaviour? A report should have been made to Senior Leadership who should have stepped in then.
    When he got you alone, he didn’t follow a pattern of behaviour that expresses romantic interest in you, that is kissing you, cuddling etc declarations of feeling & so on. He went straight for behaviours that are about immediate sexual gratification for him. That is what abusers do, you/your needs & feelings were bypassed entirely & he went straight for his goal. That’s not a ‘mistake’, a ‘mistake’ might be kissing someone & hiding a relationship. Here he just went straight for sexual gratification, as you’d do with a prostitute you’d paid, or a victim you have cornered. This is not, at all, the usual first physical steps in a relationship.

    So take it from someone who actually knows – this is my professional field – nothing people like Megan pipe up with stands up to the actual facts of what should have happened & how you were failed. He wouldn’t have stayed on my team under any circumstances, this is gross misconduct as well as criminal, we would have called Police & his behaviour would have been reported to the Disclosure & Barring Service (our Police checks here in the UK) & that would have prevented him from working with children & young people again. And he would have had to run the gauntlet of a dressing down from my Senior Manager, which would have left him in no possible doubt as to the magnitude of his crime.

  213. Jules, I honor you. Your weakness has become strength. That takes the work of years. It doesn’t mean your knees will never become weak, but your backbone of iron will hold you upright.

    I look at your perp’s FB photo with his lovely wife, and contemplate his True Love Waits money-making scheme (let’s be real, seminars rake in chunks of money), and I want to scream! Is it fair to deduce that he honored his wife’s purity enough to wait? How in the world did he build a ministry on a bedrock of lies! knowing how he so dishonorably assaulted you?

    You are worth honoring, too. And today, I honor you.

  214. Stan wrote:

    I have wondered if it was an affair with a congregant

    The correct term for sexual contact between clergy and congregant is “clergy sexual abuse” or simply “sexual abuse.”

  215. Beakerj wrote:

    When he got you alone, he didn’t follow a pattern of behaviour that expresses romantic interest in you, that is kissing you, cuddling etc declarations of feeling & so on. He went straight for behaviours that are about immediate sexual gratification for him. That is what abusers do, you/your needs & feelings were bypassed entirely & he went straight for his goal.

    All of this.

    He was using her. This was not a mistake.

  216. @ Megan:
    He was guilty of clergy sexual abuse. So no, he doesn’t get to be “clergy” again. If he was an accountant and embezzled thousands of dollars from a client, would you be all for hiring him to handle your money? If he was a surgeon and operated while drunk, should he then be allowed to do your dad’s heart surgery? If he was a nursing home aide and sexually abused an elderly woman while she was helpless, would you want him working at your grandma’s nursing home?

  217. “When he got you alone, he didn’t follow a pattern of behaviour that expresses romantic interest in you, that is kissing you, cuddling etc declarations of feeling & so on. He went straight for behaviours that are about immediate sexual gratification for him. That is what abusers do, you/your needs & feelings were bypassed entirely & he went straight for his goal. That’s not a ‘mistake’, a ‘mistake’ might be kissing someone & hiding a relationship. Here he just went straight for sexual gratification, as you’d do with a prostitute you’d paid, or a victim you have cornered. This is not, at all, the usual first physical steps in a relationship.”

    This. Is. It. Spot on.

  218. I am dumbfounded by member’s remarks on Highooint Church’s FB page.

    So many are upset that Jules has brought up old news, as if an “incident” that happened twenty years ago doesn’t matter, and that it is unfair [insert stomping foot tantrum] to judge Andy so harshly after all the fame and fortune he has so (un)righteously enjoyed since. How dare Jules bring this up now. Jules is a horrible person for rocking the super-nice “experience” boat at Highpoint. He who screams DO NOT JUDGE loudest wins brownie points with eldership!

    Meanwhile, they are harshly judging Jules, assigning to her blame and motive and consent, as they close circle around the admitted perpetrator and hurl rocks at the hurting girl. I want to know why “do not judge” isn’t applicable to her.

    They forget, in their mad blindness, that the Lord, whom they profess to love, sits on His throne of righteousness and justice.

    A foundation built on lies has come tumbling down.

    And the blame doesn’t lie at the feet of Jules.

  219. Remnant wrote:

    I am dumbfounded by member’s remarks on Highooint Church’s FB page.

    Why on earth would a church allow this? If Andy Savage is truly repentant why would he or the church allow victim blaming to go on? I’m not seeing any pastoring taking place at that church at all.

  220. ishy wrote:

    I can’t get over how he’s saying that he “took full responsibility”

    Taking full responsibility for abusing a child includes disqualification from ministry. That should have happened a long time ago. Other church leaders who have covered his sin have disqualified themselves as well.

    There’s just something about a church leader who has degrees in both marketing and ministry that bothers me. Mega-church (little “c”) has become a business enterprise rather than Church (big “C”). Those who prosper in such circles know how to make and close a deal.

    It continues to amaze me how so many otherwise-smart people fall for the schemes of popular preachers and are so easy to forgive the sins of their idols. The cult of personality too often wins out over morality: “People were upset that Savage was let go because he was really well liked.”

    I hope Pastor Savage never looks at a bowl of ice cream without remembering.

  221. Youth pastors are all too often men who go into the profession, consciously or unconsciously, to molest the very kids they are supposed to be helping. The church leadership failed not only Jules but every other member of this church by not calling the police immediately. The hypocrisy is astounding! Churches like this one, that not only silence but blame the victim, will be the death of the modern Christian church in America.

  222. @ Bridget:

    Fifty-one people on staff at that church and no one has a problem with the way Jules is being treated on FB even though they all apparently know that the story is true, because Andy Savage told his version of the assault.

    It’s disturbing to think that this church wants the victim to be blamed and harassed on their FB page. Here are the 51 staff members.

    http://www.highpointmemphis.com/meet-the-staff

  223. Deb wrote:

    Andy explains how he was offered a position as Youth Pastor at a growing church in The Woodlands, Texas area during his freshman year of college.

    What on earth were they thinking offering a college freshman a job as a youth pastor?! A volunteer youth group “leader” position alongside other adults under the direction of an actual, trained, youth pastor, sure, but the actual position of youth pastor straight out of high school?! Weren’t they a fairly large church? Surely, there were other, more qualified men to fill the position, even ignoring the then-unknown character issues.

  224. Nathan Priddis wrote:

    I think Megan is a dude.

    “Dude” means different things to different people, but – from the snippets of his comments in people’s replies – I too would guess he is male.

  225. I was at Germantown, Metro, and then Highpoint. I can’t believe this. I no longer go to HP bc I moved, however, Andy never has admitted to details. He he has only said that he didn’t wait till marriage, wasn’t pure, etc.
    I also can’t believe that Sam Shaw (G’town Bap pastor at the time) would have known this and let him on staff. I think the question there is did Pete DeMoss know? He was the Executive Pastor and would have done the hiring.
    I find it interesting that he so freely preaches and writes about sex with this in his past. Andy is a very cocky person and Chris Conlee is a very shrewd person. He’s only loyal to a small part of the staff. He has done despicable things to businesses they’ve hired for various projects. He’s broken contracts like it was throwing away a used tissue. Also, the church is in Memphis, the mission field for HP, yet Chris and Andy both lived in Oakland in big houses, Oakland is in Fayette Co, not even in Shelby Co.
    I don’t know how true this all is but Andy hasn’t denied the specifics.

  226. JR wrote:

    Weren’t they a fairly large church?

    Andy explained in his ‘faith story’ video that when he was brought on staff the church had 150 members. He then stated that it grew tenfold in just three years to 1500. Wondering if this is really true.

  227. @ Max:
    The cover of Savage’s soon-to-be released book “Ridiculously Good Marriage” features an illustration of an ice cream cone.

    Barf!

  228. “Oh my god, oh my god. What have I done?”

    Too many young men are released into the ministry before they learn to resist the beginnings of temptation. Church leaders who are too quick to ordain young men because they are charismatic, have the gift of gab, etc. share the responsibility when they fall.

    “Never be in a hurry to ordain a man, or you may be making yourself responsible for his sins.” (1 Timothy 5:22)

    Reproof, rebuke, correction and disqualification from ministry should not stop at Pastor Savage, it should include those who knew this and continued to enable his ministry.

    “This information is not new to me or to our leadership.” (Chris Conlee, Lead Pastor, High Point Church Memphis)

    That title “Lead Pastor” has emerged during the new reformation. Please tell me that these folks are not New Calvinists! There just seems to be so much hanky-panky going on in the reformed movement!

  229. JR wrote:

    What on earth were they thinking offering a college freshman a job as a youth pastor?!

    Exactly. See my above comment.

  230. Robert M wrote:

    Do you think it was genuine remorse, or manipulation?

    Firstly, I’m quoting you a little out of context here; also (and I seem to be saying this a lot lately) words mean subtly different things to different people, so apologies if I’m not responding to what you actually meant.

    Secondly, if I understand aright, there is usually something slightly manipulative and self-protecting about remorse. I suppose it’s better than cold psychopathy, although a psychopath would probably know how to fake remorse. But remorse is not repentance. It’s an emotional reaction, and emotional reactions are notoriously good at appearing more significant than they are.

  231. Deb wrote:

    He then stated that it grew tenfold in just three years to 1500.

    Considering an earlier comment that the area was being extensively developed, this may have had more to do with general population growth than anything else…

  232. Yes, Highpoint is affiliated with The Gospel Coalition:

    http://churches.thegospelcoalition.org/app/church/7739

    “Highpoint Church
    About Us: Our mission is simple: Love God, Love People, & Make Disciples. We believe we are here for this purpose. We want to live as if we know what that purpose is. This is our mission statement. This is why we exist. For the Glory of God.
    Pastor: Chris Conlee”

  233. Deborah wrote:

    Seems it would be easy to corroborate Andy’s story. Ask Jules’ parents if Andy apologized to them. Since Andy apologized to the congregation, there should be a recording or many witnesses of that.
    Of course, Jules can’t be considered an accurate historian of her own life. (arghh!) Jules is getting nothing but more anguish out of this. And people wonder why victims don’t speak up…

    Not necessarily disagreeing with what you wrote, I am just using it as a jumping off point.

    IMHO, an apology (even if it had occurred at the time) would not have been sufficient any way, so the whole “but he apologized” argument his fans keep raising is rather moot.

    After Savage abused Jules, regardless if he gave an apology or not:

    Savage should not have gone on to teach ‘True Love Waits’ classes, or gone on to be re-hired by this church, or work again in any capacity at a church (as a teacher, worship leader, preacher, or whatever churches have had him do).

    He’s disqualified himself from holding any formal ministerial or influential positions, even Sunday School teacher.

    (He only now is okay to just sit in the pew and listen to sermons like the rest of us commoners – and even that is debatable, IMO.)

  234. JYJames wrote:

    Perusing the Raw Story comments, many suggest this was neither this dude’s first nor only rodeo.

    Yes, that was what I was saying on Twitter the other day, and maybe on here, and I think Dee suggested it in her OP above.

    One big tip off is that Savage drove straight to a secluded spot past the turn off to Jules’ home. As I said on Twitter, this shows it was either pre-meditated, or, he brought other victims to that same location previously.

    I find it hard to believe he just happened to find that secluded spot so quickly after driving Jules past her home street. He knew about that area beforehand, he didn’t just stumble upon it.

  235. Jerome wrote:

    Highpoint is affiliated with The Gospel Coalition:

    http://churches.thegospelcoalition.org/app/church/7739

    A reminder that The Gospel Coalition = The Calvinist Coalition. As noted earlier, there have been far too many of these reports surfacing in the reformed movement. Sexual abuse by the clergy knows no denominational affiliation, but the new reformers certainly appear to have their share of bad boys. There are just too many young men in leadership roles within New Calvinism that were not proved in ministry before they were released on the church.

  236. @ Max:

    “The lead pastor of Highpoint, Chris Conlee, also released a statement saying the church did know about the incident in 1997 and the church is one hundred percent committed to Savage and his family.”

    Really? And who was 100% committed to Jules’ and her family? It sounds like no one was. In 1997 the church leaders wanted her to shut up.

  237. J wrote:

    Have you been to Highpoint to EXPERIENCE what God is doing or has done? If you have, you didn’t stick around long enough to know that these men in leadership roles and “staff” filled women are totally equal!! ““Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:1‬ ‭NIV

    Highpoint Church has men in leadership roles and “staff” filled women?

    I’m not sure what that last phrase means, and I’m not sure I want to know.

  238. <a href="#comment-351882" title="Go to comment @ Lowlandseer:

    For reasons I don’t want to get into, I don’t want to get too detailed about another sex abuse case I’m aware of, but suffice it to say, defenders of The Pervert in question in this other story like to constantly defend him by bringing up “age of consent laws.”

    The Pervert’s victim was a young teen girl, but in the state he was in at the time of the sexual abuse, she was at the ‘Age of Consent,’ for that state, so LEGALLY, the dude was pretty much in the clear in that regard.

    The Pervert is a bit over 20 years older than the victim (old enough to be her father).

    The guy knew better and was taking advantage of the girl’s naiveté (she also came from an abusive / broken home, which made her more susceptible to being targeted).

    There are other factors in this particular case that I think clearly indicate that The Pervert is guilty – for one, the cops who interviewed the girl at the time say a crime was committed, but some of them discouraged her from pressing charges.

    Anyway, a lot of his defenders keep pointing to Age of Consent as a justification:
    “Yes she was very young, but it is technically LEGAL in that state,” as though that excuses a grown man preying on a naive teen kid.

    This type of argument just really, really gets on my nerves.

  239. Jerome wrote:

    Highpoint Church has men in leadership roles and “staff” filled women?

    A New Calvinist tactic to make it look like they have included women in key roles without actually giving them church leadership responsibility. It’s a nice way not to look like they are not subordinating female believers, while they do.

  240. Bridget wrote:

    who was 100% committed to Jules’ and her family?

    Any pastor worth his ordination would have been committed to the victim rather than the abuser. Church leaders who allow a pastor who has disqualified himself from that title to move on in ministry share in his sin. At this pace, the church will be indistinguishable from the world in a few years.

  241. Lea wrote:

    Totally equal!!!
    Just not ‘leadership’. Or pastors. Honey, I get it. Been there. Done that. Got the tshirt.
    Over it.

    Women are totally equal to men in some churches except for when they’re not!

    But hey, you should joyfully accept this for your own good, because it’s God’s design. *snicker*

  242. Lydia wrote:

    To put your comment in historical perspective, Laura Ingells Wilder obtained a teaching certificate at age 16. That was in a mid Western state.

    A couple of observations I’d like to add about age.

    Correct me if I’m wrong here, any one, but weren’t life expectancies shorter in a lot of countries for hundreds to thousands of years, until the last few centuries?

    Like, age 40 was considered to be like the age 80 of its day. Most people died around age 40 hundreds of years ago.(?)

    If that’s the case, I can see maybe people way back when marrying by 14 or 16, but I don’t think this works out today.

    Another thing I sometimes reflect upon is how I don’t think a 16 year old of today is at the same level of maturity or intelligence as 16 year olds of even two hundred years ago.

    A few years ago, I found online reproductions of several pages of old school books used by, like, I dunno, fourth graders, from like the late 18th century. They were expected to master the stuff in this book.

    And let me tell you the stuff I saw aimed at eight year old kids in 1778 appeared to me to be what we’d now consider to be for today’s 20-somethings, college- level material.

    A few years ago, we had the very sensitive “Pajama Boy” guy in his footie pajamas sipping hot cocoa, used in some political ads, and we had college kids crying at the loss of their favorite politician in the 2016 elections and clinging to therapy dogs, but 18 year olds were mentally strong enough to fight in WWII.

    Something has changed. Kids today are in some ways more vulnerable than even kids of a few hundred years ago (?)

  243. ishy wrote:

    Lea wrote:

    I’ve seen guys witness other guys who assault or harass women and still defend them that way. “He’s just a little awkward in show her he likes her” or “He didn’t really mean it”.

    That sounds like an excuse I’ve heard, “They pick on you because they like you.” No. If you like someone, you do NOT bully them.

  244. Daisy wrote:

    Anyway, a lot of his defenders keep pointing to Age of Consent as a justification:
    “Yes she was very young, but it is technically LEGAL in that state,” as though that excuses a grown man preying on a naive teen kid.

    Age of consent, so what???
    If a dental hygienist/gynocologist/psychiatrist/etc had taken sexual advantage of an adult patient, a co-pilot/bus driver/uber driver had taken sexual advantage of an adult passenger, a doorman/elevator/manger/landlord operator had taken sexual advantage of a tenant, etc …… what would happen???
    Movie producers and politician are not getting away with it now! It seems that the only place someone can commit a sexual crime and get away with it is within the upper echelons of our churches!

  245. Max wrote:

    A New Calvinist tactic to make it look like they have included women in key roles without actually giving them church leadership responsibility. It’s a nice way not to look like they are not subordinating female believers, while they do.

    Aw, now Max, we’re equal. You know we’re equal. We just play different roles. Men play the authoritative roles, while women play the subordinate roles. Maybe, just maybe, when we leave these earthly bodies, we can stop playing roles. Then again, maybe not. Depends on who you ask…….

  246. ishy wrote:

    That might not be the only charge, though, because he did drive her to a deserted place without her or her mother’s consent. That might be considered an abduction and might include the charge of rape because her compliance is considered a way to save her life in a dangerous situation.

    A lot of grown women in their 20s and older automatically complied with Harvey Weinstein’s advances in some of the cases I read about. They said they were in shock and what not and couldn’t think clearly. Ditto on stand up comic and actor C K Louis.

    I don’t think enough people appreciate that… you’re sitting with a colleague, expecting everything to be platonic and professional when suddenly he whips out his penis and demands you lick it like a lollipop, or he forces your head there – a lot of women freeze up, not knowing what to do, become confused.

    It’s blind-siding.

    Then you have a lot of women like me who were coached since girlhood to be passive and never be assertive, which puts us in more of a bind in these situations, because saying “N, you perv, get lost” does not come easily or naturally – but complying does, even if it comes to risk for us.

  247. New York Strip wrote:

    I was at Germantown, Metro, and then Highpoint. I can’t believe this. I no longer go to HP bc I moved, however, Andy never has admitted to details. He he has only said that he didn’t wait till marriage, wasn’t pure, etc.
    I also can’t believe that Sam Shaw (G’town Bap pastor at the time) would have known this and let him on staff. I think the question there is did Pete DeMoss know? He was the Executive Pastor and would have done the hiring.
    I find it interesting that he so freely preaches and writes about sex with this in his past.

    Thank you. I am sending this info onto Jules and others.

  248. HJ wrote:

    As a child, I was abused by my own father. And before my mother and step-father alerted any authority, they sent me to our pastor. He told me to take responsibility for “whatever portion was [my] responsibility”, holding his hands apart to show me how much rape I should claim as my own doing, and ask forgiveness from my rapist father, from the church, and from Jesus. I was 15 years old. I understand the “wave of guilt” you mentioned, as well as the embarrassment and shame. It still haunts me to this day.

    I am so sorry.

    Your amount of culpability in having been raped was ZERO, and the pastor who tried to assign you any portion of responsibility or blame was a sicko.

    (I want to use stronger language than that to describe that “preacher,” but will refrain.)

  249. Robert M wrote:

    I’ve never been in a church with a youth pastor. Are they typically young enough to be college students? Because that seems like a very bad idea.

    My own church has a youth minister who is married and in his early 30’s. He was in his 20’s but already married when he started working with us. During the summer, we do have college students–some male, some female–that intern with the youth group.

    I know that the “side hug” is often ridiculed as being part of “Christianese culture”, but in my son’s youth group, the adults in charge adopted the side hug as a precautionary measure against inappropriate behavior between the adults and the youth.

  250. Nancy2 (aka Kevlar) wrote:

    Aw, now Max, we’re equal. You know we’re equal. We just play different roles. Men play the authoritative roles, while women play the subordinate roles.

    Then why the heck am I cooking an occasional meal and washing dishes periodically?! I thought that’s what it meant to “complement” my dear wife … I’m going to have a long talk with the woman!

  251. Daisy wrote:

    defenders of The Pervert in question in this other story like to constantly defend him by bringing up “age of consent laws.”

    Age of consent is irrelevant when the perpetrator (male or female) has a professional or paid or official (could be even volunteer) role: teacher, counselor, pastor, youth leader, social worker, camp counselor, coach, nanny, community or park leader, mentor, etc.

    In this case, the predator was in a paid position, vetted, hired and sanctioned by the church leadership as a trusted youth pastor.

    The church leadership gave the perp the title or means (the means to bait/switch manipulate from ice cream outing to assault), the opportunity (access to girls who trusted him and took him at his word as godly, do this for me, it’s what God wants of you, submit to your godly trusted youth pastor), so he could fulfill his motive (fantasy of satisfying his lust with his trusting vulnerable charges). Motive + means + opportunity = criminal MO.

  252. Jac14 wrote:

    He was guilty of clergy sexual abuse. So no, he doesn’t get to be “clergy” again. If he was an accountant and embezzled thousands of dollars from a client, would you be all for hiring him to handle your money?

    I wonder if people like Megan could grasp why it’s wrong for a youth pastor to prey on kids in their youth group is you point out it’s wrong for the same reason there are laws in all states against teachers having sexual relations or dating their teen students-

    Or why so many states outlaw dating or romance or sexual relations between psychitartists and their patients.

    It’s the same dynamic.

    I did try using those comparisons on another blog to drive the point home, but the guy stubbornly wanted to cast all women in C.S.A. (Clergy Sex Abuse) cases as being Jezebel Harlot Home Wreckers who deliberately diddled a married pastor in each and every case.

    I couldn’t get him to see that one cannot have a consensual affair with a pastor, since the pastor is in a position of influence who can easily sway an emotionally vulnerable target. It’s up to the professional (the pastor, psychiatrist or teacher) to maintain boundaries at all time – not the parishioner, patient, or student.

    But those points are totally lost on people who love to blame the women targets of these creeps who use their positions of power and trust to prey on targets.

  253. Susan wrote:

    @ Max:
    The cover of Savage’s soon-to-be released book “Ridiculously Good Marriage” features an illustration of an ice cream cone.
    Barf!

    I did not notice this. Now that makes me sick. I will be contacting the publisher.

  254. Max wrote:

    Then why the heck am I cooking an occasional meal and washing dishes periodically?! I thought that’s what it meant to “complement” my dear wife … I’m going to have a long talk with the woman!

    Tee hee. By the time that talk is over, you may have to make room in you schedule for a lot more cooking and cleaning!

  255. Another sad story and unfortunately a script so many church leaders use when the discover other leaders in their church or associated church are sexually abusing someone.

    What I think is sad is what is left out of the Andy Savage statement. Some things that come to mind include that Savage should have included in his statement are:

    – I initially chose to try and hide this sexual assault rather than confess it to other church leaders. It was only after the victim came forward that I admitted this sexual assault.

    – Rather than choosing to immediately step down from my leadership position while hiding my sin I chose to put on “True Love Waits” seminar teaching principles of sexual abstinence that I failed to practice myself just 2 weeks earlier.

    – Rather than accepting full responsibility for my actions I allowed the woman I sexually assaulted to take some of the blame. Adding further hurt to the victim.

    As others have said Savage should have used the term “assault” and vs. incident.

  256. @ Max:

    OT

    Here’s my view on this subject as stated by someone else. My change would be to include all adults living in a household. It is not just a husband/wife thing.

    “A friend came to my house for coffee, we sat and talked about life. At some point in the conversation, I said, “I’m going to wash the dishes and I’ll be right back.”

    He looked at me as if I had told him I was going to build a space rocket. Then he said to me with admiration but a little perplexed: “I’m glad you help your wife, I do not help because when I do, my wife does not praise me. Last week I washed the floor and no thanks.”

    I went back to sit with him and explained that I did not “help” my wife. Actually, my wife does not need help, she needs a partner. I am a partner at home and through that society are divided functions, but it is not a “help” to do household chores.

    I do not help my wife clean the house because I live here too and I need to clean it too.

    I do not help my wife to cook because I also want to eat and I need to cook too.

    I do not help my wife wash the dishes after eating because I also use those dishes.

    I do not help my wife with her children because they are also my children and my job is to be a father.

    I do not help my wife to wash, spread or fold clothes, because the clothes are also mine and my children.

    I am not a help at home, I am part of the house. And as for praising, I asked my friend when it was the last time after his wife finished cleaning the house, washing clothes, changing bed sheets, bathing her children, cooking, organizing, etc. You said thank you

    But a thank you of the type: Wow, sweetheart !!! You are fantastic!!!

    Does that seem absurd to you? Are you looking strange? When you, once in a lifetime, cleaned the floor, you expected in the least, a prize of excellence with great glory … why? You never thought about that, my friend?

    Maybe because for you, the macho culture has shown that everything is her job.

    Perhaps you have been taught that all this must be done without having to move a finger? Then praise her as you wanted to be praised, in the same way, with the same intensity. Give her a hand, behave like a true companion, not as a guest who only comes to eat, sleep, bathe and satisfy needs … Feel at home. In his house.

    The real change of our society begins in our homes, let us teach our sons and daughters the real sense of fellowship! “
    —Hawk—

  257. Remnant wrote:

    So many are upset that Jules has brought up old news, as if an “incident” that happened twenty years ago doesn’t matter

    Oh, Pam B. on Twitter was arguing this last night.
    I told her that the Holocaust happened around 75 years ago, so I guess that makes the Holocaust oakey-doakey and just swell.

    Someone ask John Walsh if the kidnapping and decapitation of his son Adam by some weirdo is now meaningless and irrelevant because it happened in 1981.

    Does Mr. Walsh care any less because the murder of his son happened about 30 years ago?

    I’d like Pam B. or another Highpoint Church crony to ask Mr. Walsh that question and see the response they get.

  258. One of the Twitter comments:

    “No sir u did NOT accept full responsibility. Under TX state law 22.011.10 it is a class 2 FELONY for any clergy 2 have sex w/ anyone they are ministering to regardless of consent. Had u accepted FULL responsibility udv spent min 2 years in prison + life long sex offender registry.”

    The evangelical church is to be full of felony sex offenders while those who protect themselves and their families are done?

  259. One other thought for those who want to defend Savage and his position at Memphis Church claiming this exposure is of “Satin” I wonder if they have thought about what Jesus said in Matthew 7:

    21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

    Even if miracles or what some see as God’s Spirit flowing out could still result in Christ saying I never knew you.

  260. Deborah wrote:

    Ask Jules’ parents if Andy apologized to them.

    We know exactly what happened there and it corroborates our story. However, at the request of Jules, we are not pulling the parents into this.

  261. Max wrote:

    Taking full responsibility for abusing a child includes disqualification from ministry. That should have happened a long time ago.

    If I’m not mistaken, I think Savage recently (or was about to) start promoting a book he wrote, as well. A book about marriage.

  262. Terry Evangelista wrote:

    Youth pastors are all too often men who go into the profession, consciously or unconsciously, to molest the very kids they are supposed to be helping.

    I wonder if churches should do away with age segregated classes altogether?

    I did some reading on this a few years ago. Sunday School was only invented with the last 100 or so years.

    There are arguments among different American denominations about if kids should be shuttled off separately from the rest of the congregation.

    Churches tend to isolate people into groups (based on age, life stage, marital status etc), which isn’t always good.
    Single adults are shuttled off to a Singles Ghetto in churches, where they are overlooked and forgotten about, for instance.

  263. Robert M wrote:

    I’ve never been in a church with a youth pastor.

    Most youth pastors are just glorified baby sitters. The ones I’ve known along the way keep young folks entertained with shallow Bible studies and pizza. I suppose there are some that are seriously concerned about the spiritual development of youngsters, but they are uncommon (at least in SBC ranks). I see no reference to “youth pastors” in the New Testament … only pastors. I don’t know when or why the church decided to corral teens into youth groups with preacher-boys rather than having them mature under the teachings of men of God. There’s a vast difference between a preacher-boy and a man of God and the disciples they produce.

  264. Bridget wrote:

    It’s disturbing to think that this church wants the victim to be blamed and harassed on their FB page. Here are the 51 staff members.

    This is the response I’ve come to expect from most churches most of the time.
    That’s why I said last night in this thread I hope that Jules can focus more on the support she’s getting here and social media, because I doubt she’s ever going to get apologies or support from her abuser, the pastors who covered for him, or from the lay persons at the church.

    Churches are ALWAYS more interested in protecting the creepo (and hence their careers and reputations) than they are in reaching out to the victim and making amends.

  265. @ Tina:
    I work at a private, secular school where hugs are initiated by the child, not the teacher. Teachers are encouraged to use fist bumps/high fives, which communicate so much, but do not invade physical space. Obviously, if a child wants to “hang” on a teacher all the time, that situation is also addressed privately with the child. It seems to work well.

  266. @ Lowlandseer:
    More relevant would be the statute of limitations and there is no limit for this particular case if I’ve understood it correctly.

    Time limits for felonies include the following:

    None: Murder, manslaughter, certain sexual assaults (including sexual abuse of a child), hit and run resulting in death, and certain human trafficking offenses;
    Ten years: Thefts involving fiduciaries or officials, forgery, injury to an elderly or disabled person, arson, and compelling prostitution;
    Seven years: Misapplication of fiduciary property or property of a financial institution, money laundering, certain tax crimes, fraud, identity theft, and bigamy.
    Five years: Other theft, burglary, and robbery offenses, insurance fraud, and abandoning or endangering a child.
    Three years: All other felonies not specifically referenced in the code section.
    For many of the crimes listed above, if the victim is under the age of seventeen when the crime is committed, the statute of limitations is typically extended.

    Furthermore under the legislation b) A sexual assault under Subsection (a)(1) is without the consent of the other person if:
    10) the actor is a clergyman who causes the other person to submit or participate by exploiting the other person’s emotional dependency on the clergyman in the clergyman’s professional character as spiritual adviser.

  267. @ Bridget:
    Notice he doesn’t use her name. This is typical in these situation, especially when lawyers get involved. In the Lauren Hugelmaier post at TWW, you will see that Lauren’s murderer-husband’s attorney said he extended his condolences to the family of *the young woman.*

  268. JR wrote:

    Surely, there were other, more qualified men to fill the position, even ignoring the then-unknown character issues.

    Or women.

    These churches really need to get over their gender complementarian stance.

    Gender comp does not keep women and girls safer. Men are not better leaders or safer just by virtue of being men.

  269. Susan wrote:

    The cover of Savage’s soon-to-be released book “Ridiculously Good Marriage” features an illustration of an ice cream cone.

    The man is sick!

  270. Max wrote:

    Most youth pastors are just glorified baby sitters. The ones I’ve known along the way keep young folks entertained with shallow Bible studies and pizza.

    … and ice cream, of course.

  271. Beakerj wrote:

    Dear Jules,
    Please just hang in & totally ignore people like Megan & also the protestations of your abuser.
    You were failed not just by him, but by those he worked for & I can speak to that with total confidence as I’m a Youth Team Manager in real life, & a Senior Youth Worker. I’ve been a Youth Worker for 23 years, including 15 concurrently as a Church Youth Worker. I manage a team of Youth Workers, including males in their 20’s.
    It should never even have gotten to the point that he drove you home – the ‘tickling’ incident should have been it, it shows incredibly poor judgement & on my team that would have been the end of any 1-1 interaction you had with him. I deal with this stuff all the time, & there are very clear ways of safeguarding both young people & staff. Crushes happen, both ways, & there are ways of handling these. That wasn’t your situation though as whatever you felt for him, he was abusing you. I know this because:
    He was in a position of influence over you, & that means legally & morally he must not pursue any kind of sexual/romantic relationship with you if he has met you in his professional position. No Youth Pastor, however young, should be in a relationship with a young person they work with. If in a previously existing relationship when appointed to a staff position, then that can continue but under strict boundaries, such as no touching when at group activities etc
    The tickling thing should have been the end of it. Who in their right mind thinks this is appropriate behaviour? A report should have been made to Senior Leadership who should have stepped in then.
    When he got you alone, he didn’t follow a pattern of behaviour that expresses romantic interest in you, that is kissing you, cuddling etc declarations of feeling & so on. He went straight for behaviours that are about immediate sexual gratification for him. That is what abusers do, you/your needs & feelings were bypassed entirely & he went straight for his goal. That’s not a ‘mistake’, a ‘mistake’ might be kissing someone & hiding a relationship. Here he just went straight for sexual gratification, as you’d do with a prostitute you’d paid, or a victim you have cornered. This is not, at all, the usual first physical steps in a relationship.

    So take it from someone who actually knows – this is my professional field – nothing people like Megan pipe up with stands up to the actual facts of what should have happened & how you were failed. He wouldn’t have stayed on my team under any circumstances, this is gross misconduct as well as criminal, we would have called Police & his behaviour would have been reported to the Disclosure & Barring Service (our Police checks here in the UK) & that would have prevented him from working with children & young people again. And he would have had to run the gauntlet of a dressing down from my Senior Manager, which would have left him in no possible doubt as to the magnitude of his crime.

    Thank you for posting this Beaker it clairifies so much for me about my own past abuse. Jules I encourage you to keep reaching out to those that are supportive and to not listen to anyone that would blame you as you were a young victim in this horrible calculated assault.

  272. Max wrote:

    “Oh my god, oh my god. What have I done?”
    Too many young men are released into the ministry before they learn to resist the beginnings of temptation.

    I don’t think this was a spur of the moment caving in to temptation, though.

    The story in the OP shows that Savage had a pattern of singling Jules out. She was his pet favorite in the youth ministry class. He went out of his way to get her alone and play tickle games with her.

    He knew straight where to drive her, where to find a secluded spot to hit on her, which shows it was pre-planned.

    I don’t think Savage was momentarily tempted.

    He’s like Clayton Jennings – using his position in a church to hit on girls.
    http://www.gospelherald.com/articles/68543/20161205/evangelist-clayton-jennings-steps-down-from-ministry-after-sex-scandal.htm

    I think these kind of guys are already prone to abusing girls and women. I don’t think it’s just a matter of ‘young hormonal man who is around nubile females, and he caved in once.’

  273. Bridget wrote:

    If Andy Savage is truly repentant why would he or the church allow victim blaming to go on? I’m not seeing any pastoring taking place at that church at all.

    Absolutely!! Why isnt ‘repentant’ pastor online saying ‘leave this poor woman alone-the sin was mine and she was a young girl’

  274. Jerome wrote:

    “Highpoint Church
    About Us: Our mission is simple: Love God, Love People, & Make Disciples. We believe we are here for this purpose. We want to live as if we know what that purpose is. This is our mission statement. This is why we exist. For the Glory of God.
    Pastor: Chris Conlee”

    More accurate:
    “We love people, especially male people and people in power, and people who help make our church more popular. Victims? Not so much.”

  275. If Jules had been boy this whole thing would be going down differently. He would never have been allowed in youth ministry again or probably any ministry. Even if he had, HP’s response would have been to fire instead of support him.

    Our churches and culture EXPECT women to endure abuse. Sadly, many women themselves have this attitude. The fact that the response would have been different based on the gender of the abused shows how very far we still have to go.

  276. Max wrote:

    A New Calvinist tactic to make it look like they have included women in key roles without actually giving them church leadership responsibility. It’s a nice way not to look like they are not subordinating female believers, while they do.

    Such churches also like to play semantics to hide what’s going on.

    Male preachers are referred to as preachers, while women preachers in those same churches get the title of “Director.”

  277. Update: It appears that Savage has been removed from the KLove Cruise he was due to speak on. I put a link to their website in this post which means they got a ping back on theirs. If this is the case, then I commend them for their quick action.

  278. Late comer here…I just clicked on the link for the KLove Cruise 2018 after perusing this blog post..btw almost wanted to puke when I read that he was going to be a speaker at that Cruise…and started to think about contacting Klove about it…I see he is not listed on the list of artists and speakers…is he indeed not on the list anymore?

    Thanks deebs!

    I believe Jules.

  279. @ Beakerj:
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Especially for pointing out the clear distinction between affection and self-gratification, or being loving toward someone vs. using them. Sometimes it’s hard for someone who has been abused to see that there is a difference, and I think some misplaced guilt and self-blame comes from that.

  280. Max wrote:

    features an illustration of an ice cream cone.

    And with the ice cream cone on the cover, from the book promo:

    “Pastor and relationship coach Andy Savage … will challenge you to get real with God, with each other, and with yourself. He’ll dare you to consider how selfishness sinks relationships and … when the author of perfection is behind it …”

    – “pastor and relationship coach”? How’s the expert dealing with his relationship with a young lady he pastored, Jules, and then assaulted?
    – “get real with God, others, self”? Is denying the assault of Jules, fleeing Texas “getting real”?
    – “selfishness sinks relationships”? Is it selfish or healthy, relationshipwise, to assault Jules, demand it be buried forever, flee, deny?
    – “the author of perfection is behind it”? Is this a reference to God, because is God behind the assault of Jules? God has your back on the assault, denial, burying, blaming, fleeing?

  281. Max wrote:

    Too many young men are released into the ministry before they learn to resist the beginnings of temptation

    Max, this is far too lenient a statement.

    This is not about resisting temptation, far too passive a thing. This man sought this woman out, groomed her, lied to her, used her and then threw her away. Let’s not be coy.

  282. sandy c wrote:

    Why isnt ‘repentant’ pastor online saying ‘leave this poor woman alone-the sin was mine and she was a young girl’

    Good point.

  283. Jerome wrote:

    Yes, Highpoint is affiliated with The Gospel Coalition:

    http://churches.thegospelcoalition.org/app/church/7739

    “Highpoint Church
    About Us: Our mission is simple: Love God, Love People, & Make Disciples. We believe we are here for this purpose. We want to live as if we know what that purpose is. This is our mission statement. This is why we exist. For the Glory of God.
    Pastor: Chris Conlee”

    I am getting the feeling, strange as it may sound, that a church that claims to exist for the glory of God is one to steer clear of. Stay away. Far away.

  284. New York Strip wrote:

    Chris Conlee is a very shrewd person. He’s only loyal to a small part of the staff. He has done despicable things to businesses they’ve hired for various projects. He’s broken contracts like it was throwing away a used tissue.

    HUG has anecdotes about this sort of thing, business owner friends he has or had who say they force Christian guys to pay up-front for services because they’ve been stiffed one too many times by self-professing Christians.

  285. Beakerj wrote:

    Here he just went straight for sexual gratification, as you’d do with a prostitute you’d paid, or a victim you have cornered. This is not, at all, the usual first physical steps in a relationship.

    And, as commenters at Raw Story note, obviously not his first rodeo.

  286. JYJames wrote:

    Age of consent is irrelevant when the perpetrator (male or female) has a professional or paid or official (could be even volunteer) role: teacher, counselor, pastor

    I agree completely.

    In the other case I am talking of, the Pervert in question does not fall into any occupation that falls under that sort of thing, he’s not a pastor or teacher. But I still find his behavior morally repugnant.

  287. Susan wrote:

    @ Max:
    The cover of Savage’s soon-to-be released book “Ridiculously Good Marriage” features an illustration of an ice cream cone.

    Barf!

    Wow! Coincidence?

  288. dee wrote:

    @ Max:
    The cover of Savage’s soon-to-be released book “Ridiculously Good Marriage” features an illustration of an ice cream cone.
    Barf!
    I did not notice this. Now that makes me sick. I will be contacting the publisher.

    The only thing I can think of is that Savage’s book publisher hired someone else to create the cover.

    (Authors don’t usually design their own covers. Some may, in e-Book formats, but not usually in printed books.)

    So that motif may have been pure coincidence, but I think it’s an appalling one.

  289. I knew Andy when he was at Germantown Baptist Church and he is a really nice guy. I really hate that this whole situation has happened because I know similar people who experienced less severe situations, and it affects them for the rest of their lives. May God heal this girls heart!

    In Germantown Baptist Church, Germantown Tennessee, there’s a very similar incident – not as extreme – but if you are violated, you are violated, that occurred 18 months ago with a clergy at Germantown Baptist Church and THE TOP administrative told the staff not to say anything to anyone. Three staff members were even fired because they would not stand down on the sexual assault.

    The clergy person was counseling a girl, took her in his car, and assaulted her. The clergy was sent on a week-long trip with his spouse to renew their wedding vows. The girl was shunned, quit working for the preschool Department at the church, she was 18 or 19. And several hundred people have left the church because the issue has not been addressed with integrity. I spoke to the father moments ago to see if Germantown Baptist Church ever did anything for the girl. Nothing. The girl has had to have additional counseling. The man was 20 years her senior.

  290. Chris Elbert wrote:

    I do have to say the whole ‘if you disagree with anything we wrote in this article your will be deleted and banned is a joke and insane. People should be able to share their thoughts.

    This is my blog and my rules. No one abuses a victim on this blog. If you don’t like it, start you own.

    Chris Elbert wrote:

    Also, why would you not reach out for responses Before posting? And lastly this post is very amateurish.

    I did not reach out for responses because I believed Jules from the get go. I have been doing this for almost 9 years. They can respond as much as they want, now. You can be darn sure they wouldn’t have said a word if Amy and I had not posted.

    As for being amateurish, I totally agree. I am not a journalist or an investigator. I am a victim advocate. In spite of being an amateur, we have become relatively well known for our truthful writing. The comments of our readers show the caliber of individual who respond here.

    Why don’t you start your own blog and show us how a real pro like you does it?

  291. JYJames wrote:

    One of the Twitter comments:

    “No sir u did NOT accept full responsibility. Under TX state law 22.011.10 it is a class 2 FELONY for any clergy 2 have sex w/ anyone they are ministering to regardless of consent. Had u accepted FULL responsibility udv spent min 2 years in prison + life long sex offender registry.”

    The evangelical church is to be full of felony sex offenders while those who protect themselves and their families are done?

    If he had apologized, accepted true consequences without them being forced on him…if he had truly taken care of these things 20 years ago and been honest they would likely not be coming back to bite him today.

    It is because he did not, and because he is SUCH a hypocrite that they have come back to him now.

  292. Forrest wrote:

    Susan wrote:
    @ Max:
    The cover of Savage’s soon-to-be released book “Ridiculously Good Marriage” features an illustration of an ice cream cone.
    Barf!
    Wow! Coincidence?

    It is things like this that make me think that there is a Conductor of sorts, making sure truth comes to light.

  293. Max–you raise excellent points concerning “youth ministry” for lack of a better term. When the church became obsessed with youth, making the music all about the youth, the lighting and dress codes and Bible versions used and all a ploy to win the youth, ironically though shuttling them out to special groups quickly, the church went downhill in a hurry. Or to theological hell in a handbasket. For me, and I bet for you, around 13 we were expected to begin to take on adult responsibilities: teach younger kids, clean the church, lead in prayer, hold office. All under the watchful eye and tutelage of true elders, meaning older people who had some wisdom and experience.

    We need to return to that.

    Daisy–you raise some good points also. I would say the he’s a minister she’s a director thing has been around the SBC since at least the early 50’s. It isn’t a new Calvinista thing at all.

  294. Bridget wrote:
    Off Topic follow up.

    I am not a help at home, I am part of the house. And as for praising, I asked my friend when it was the last time after his wife finished cleaning the house, washing clothes, changing bed sheets, bathing her children, cooking, organizing, etc. You said thank you

    This is a small pet peeve of mine: men who want or expect to be thanked after doing some chore they should be doing in the first place.

    My sister’s ex was bad about this. He sat around all day playing video games while she held a demanding job to pay all their bills. He would not clean up around the house but leave that for her to do when she got home.

    About the only chore or two that this ex knew he was expected to do was to unload the dish washer and take the trash out.

    My sister had to ask him repeatedly to do those TWO things.
    When he finally did, he would act either wounded or incredulous that she did not thank him for doing it. She told me: “He’s an adult who lives here and uses the dishes and makes trash too. He wants me to “thank” him for doing what he should be doing as an adult in the first place??”

    I said, yep, it’s ridiculous, and how often does he thank YOU for paying the bills, for doing the laundry, grocery shopping, etc? Never. Yet he expects you to acknowledge it when he does that stuff.

    (My ex was also similar in this way. Drove me mad.)

  295. @ Daisy:
    Unfortunately, age integrated bodies (especially proudly proclaiming the label “family integrated churches”) have their own serious issues.

  296. Daisy wrote:

    But I still find his behavior morally repugnant.

    Not every terrible thing people can do to each other is illegal. You would think Christians especially would know that!

  297. @ Lowlandseer:
    I understand. I wasn’t blaming you or saying you were using Age of Consent to let perverts off the hook.

    Just that your mentioning of it jogged my memories of this other sexual abuse case I’ve been reading about where all the defenders of the perv keep excusing him based on that concept.

  298. sandy c wrote:

    Bridget wrote:

    If Andy Savage is truly repentant why would he or the church allow victim blaming to go on? I’m not seeing any pastoring taking place at that church at all.

    Absolutely!! Why isnt ‘repentant’ pastor online saying ‘leave this poor woman alone-the sin was mine and she was a young girl’

    Because his lawyer told him not to? And despite having expounded on large portions of scripture (maybe) over the past two decades, he’s unclear on the difference between right and wrong?

  299. @ refugee:
    I was listening to a podcast about medicine the other day and one of the things they mentioned is how transparency and true contrition about errors made can head off malpractice suits. People are far less likely to come after you in general if you accept responsibility and treat them fairly from the begining. It occurs to me that churches should learn this lesson, if only for their own selfish reasons!

    That is why I think now that publicity and lawsuits and pain are the only way to change the behavior in the church. If covering up works, all sorts of unscrupulous people will use that as their go to move.

  300. dee wrote:

    there is a Conductor of sorts, making sure truth comes to light

    Hooray for God, Creator of the Universe!

    “Why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, ‘Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!’

    “He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger And terrify them in His fury, saying, ‘But as for Me, I have installed My King
    Upon Zion, My holy mountain.’”

    The cover of Savage’s own book forever illustrates that when his young charge thought they were going for ice cream … he drove her to seclusion and violated her with a criminal attack. And from the title, “Ridiculous” that Savage is still a pastor.

  301. First, Jules I believe you completely and am very angry at how you have been treated, both in the past and even now.
    I was molested by my mother’s boyfriend when I was 17. When I struggled later feeing guilty, like maybe I had done anything to deserve this, a dear friend told me that even if I had willingly laid on the ground spread eagle naked in front of him (which btw was not the case), the boyfriend was a grown up and knew that I was off limits. He should have never put me any sexual situation to begin with. Both he and Andy abused their position in our lives.
    I’m so sorry this happened to you. Please stay strong knowing you are not alone and there are many of us praying for you and your family. ❤️

  302. Kemi wrote:

    Our churches and culture EXPECT women to endure abuse. Sadly, many women themselves have this attitude. The fact that the response would have been different based on the gender of the abused shows how very far we still have to go.

    I addressed this in a post last night. I’m not so sure.

    This very blog has done stories about churches that sided with the male abusers over the male victims.

    I do think churches (under complementarian teachings) set girls up to be easier targets than boys, though.

  303. Also, the RawStory article repeated Savage’s nonsense statement about only being a “staffer.”

    “At the time, Savage was in college and working as a staffer at a Texas Baptist church now known as StoneBridge.“

    I emailed their corrections dept the following….

    Your story says, “At the time, Savage was in college and working as a staffer at a Texas Baptist church now known as StoneBridge.”

    This comes from his statement.

    The fact was he was not just a “staffer,” he was the youth pastor.

    Because of Texas laws Savage wants to minimize his role at the church.

    Please correct the story to reflect Savage was the acting Youth Pastor and not just a staffer.

    Thank you

  304. Dee, I really appreciate your blog and your commitment to victims. I don’t comment often but thought I’d share some thoughts…

    I’m a Methodist pastor and am always astounded by how pastors, in general, overstep their ability. This is not to say there aren’t problems in my own denomination, but at least in my training, I was told countless times to never be the superhero or expert (especially in matters related to abuse). I think we see this time and time again with churches like High Point, where leadership will more than likely deal with matters “in-house” if the individual in question is “repentant”.

    In my own work, anytime a couple seeking spiritual counseling has experienced issues of infidelity, I always recommend professional counseling. I can assist people in their walk with Christ, but even after a Master of Divinity degree, I simply am unequipped to deal with a problem like that. The same goes for (and is even more important) if someone is processing past abuse.

    Sexual abuse is something a lot more pathological than other moral failings of “imperfect people.” Anyone in church leadership ought to realize that and defer to trained professionals who know what they’re actually doing. Ministry can be a very prideful profession, so it’s difficult to get pastors to take a dose of humility.

  305. dee wrote:

    Update: It appears that Savage has been removed from the KLove Cruise he was due to speak on. I put a link to their website in this post which means they got a ping back on theirs. If this is the case, then I commend them for their quick action.

    It’s good they removed him, but – you’ll notice these churches and Christian organizations don’t take action until they get scrutinized in the media, or on the blogs.

    Nobody should have ever allowed this guy to be a book author on Christian morals or to be a speaker on a cruise or whatever in the first place.

  306. what about when a person is between 15 and 16 and the perpetrator is probably late 40’s early 50’s (dead now I’m sure) and statutory law covers the younger person and someone still blames the younger person? the person has lived with the fallout forever. nobody ever ever talks about the fallout. happening in a private “christian” school. connected to a ‘church”. And what I know about this, I know about other incidents in the same place where teachers molested or raped students in the private “christian” school. But in those days, nobody talked. I’m so glad for THESE days, where justice may be served. And if you watch The Keepers on netflix, you will see how it was in those older days and what reporting or trying to report led to the murder of Sister Cathy. One of the best shows I’ve ever seen,, although with my history it was incredibly difficult to watch, as it was for many women. Don’t ever let ANYONE tell you that what is done in the dark shouldn’t be brought to the light…That’s how it goes. I’m glad for the days of #metoo and #churchtoo Because it might lead some people who turned away from God because of actions of others back to Him.

  307. Max wrote:

    Then why the heck am I cooking an occasional meal and washing dishes periodically?!

    At Muff Manor, Muff is chief cook, bottle washer, and all-round scullery boy.
    To aspire to any other station would be unthinkable.
    Better is contentment and diligence than to face the wroth of the Queen (Mrs. Muff).

  308. dee wrote:

    Forrest wrote:

    Susan wrote:
    @ Max:
    The cover of Savage’s soon-to-be released book “Ridiculously Good Marriage” features an illustration of an ice cream cone.
    Barf!
    Wow! Coincidence?

    It is things like this that make me think that there is a Conductor of sorts, making sure truth comes to light.

    amen.

  309. @ dee:
    From Jonathan Aigner’s blog:

    “If Highpoint Church really cares about making God make sense, they will relieve Andy Savage of his responsibilities immediately. If Baker Publishing is truly concerned about offering ‘high quality writings that represent historic Christianity,’ they will cancel this project and cease all affiliation with Andy Savage. If StoneBridge Church’s goal is ‘to lead people into a real, healthy and growing relationship with Jesus Christ,’ they will immediately report this incident to the proper authorities and hold Steve Bradley accountable for not doing so two decades ago.”

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/ponderanew/2018/01/05/andy-savage-story-christian-culture-must-hold-abusers-accountable/#DxvMzYRhmuYW55U9.99

  310. dee wrote:

    Update: It appears that Savage has been removed from the KLove Cruise he was due to speak on. I put a link to their website in this post which means they got a ping back on theirs. If this is the case, then I commend them for their quick action.

    Excellent!

  311. Chris Elbert wrote:

    I do have to say the whole ‘if you disagree with anything we wrote in this article your will be deleted and banned is a joke and insane. People should be able to share their thoughts.

    Have you seen the caliber of folks who did show up and post in disagreement, including victim-blaming Jules?

    Megan made several such posts above, but she came off as a troll. I don’t think she made a quality contribution.

    When you allow these victim blamey types on to a blog, it’s always the same, they will always defend the guilty and victim blame the target, to protect their favorite church or Christian pastor:

    They will say, “but we’re all sinners!,” “you don’t have all the facts,” “you should follow Matt. 18 and keep this all private, not blog about it” etc. ad nauseum.

    Why would you want to see even more of that?

  312. dee wrote:

    Why don’t you start your own blog and show us how a real pro like you does it?

    I’ve already blocked about two people on my modest Daisy blog over this sort of thing.

    People who get angry and yell because they don’t like that you’re critical of some view or another or their favorite Christian celebrity; they want all your posts to be “happy clappy” and cheerful, especially in regards to their pet topic or pet preacher they favor.

  313. linda wrote:

    Daisy–you raise some good points also. I would say the he’s a minister she’s a director thing has been around the SBC since at least the early 50’s. It isn’t a new Calvinista thing at all.

    According to an article I read about this a few months ago, it’s also a way a church gets to hire someone at cheaper pay.

    What they do is hire a woman to do a man’s job, only they slap a different label on the job (such as “Director” vs “Preacher”), then they pay the woman way less, although she’s doing the same exact job, with the same duties.

  314. Bridget wrote:

    If Andy Savage is truly repentant why would he or the church allow victim blaming to go on? I’m not seeing any pastoring taking place at that church at all.

    I hope you share this on Twitter in that discussion. It needs to be heard.

  315. Daisy wrote:

    What they do is hire a woman to do a man’s job, only they slap a different label on the job (such as “Director” vs “Preacher”), then they pay the woman way less, although she’s doing the same exact job, with the same duties.

    And they’re TGC, so they wouldn’t be allowed into the cool club if they called women pastors.

  316. @ ishy:

    I’m not on Twitter. Dee can share it on her Twitter feed if she likes.

    It’s definitely bothering me.

  317. but more importantly, Jules, you are very right to tell the truth about this. I support you.

    As to the general response from Highpoint and its community, some are calculating individuals, some have always been ignorant, and a good many are in a stupor.

    Highpoint, like many churches, is a heady environment which erodes the objectivity & common sense of the community. All of whom are responsible for allowing that to happen to themselves. And, of course, greater responsibility falls on the leaders who have designed it to be so.

  318. J’s comment has not been approved and he/she/it has been permanently banned from TWW/ Seriously, J? You are being so unbiblical and you think you are so *theological.* You are not God.

    Here is my official TWW send off for J.

    https://youtu.be/4L_yCwFD6Jo

  319. elastigirl wrote:

    As to the general response from Highpoint and its community, some are calculating individuals, some have always been ignorant, and a good many are in a stupor.

    Denial.
    Bargaining.
    Anger.
    Depression.
    Acceptance.

    Right? I think a lot of people get stuck on denial and never look past it when someone they like is accused of something. It’s easier.

  320. dee wrote:

    You are not God.

    One of the comments I read on Twitter this morning said something like ‘for all those people who say god has forgiven him, I hope you brought a note’.

  321. Lea wrote:

    If he had apologized, accepted true consequences without them being forced on him…if he had truly taken care of these things 20 years ago and been honest they would likely not be coming back to bite him today.
    It is because he did not, and because he is SUCH a hypocrite that they have come back to him now.

    So very true. This would include letting his victim take the blame.

  322. @ Bridget:
    So I went to that staff page for High Point and read this description:
    “We are a community-loving, fun-seeking, coffee-swilling, high-fiving,” and oh yah “Jesus-following motley crew.”
    Wow!! Plus every one has extreme smiles of joy (?) on their faces, and some appear to be in advanced stages of hilarity. Who knew that following Jesus would be such mad-capped fun!!

    Is there any depth at High Point? I guess it is always High Times. Looks like an ad for the local pot shop (I come from Oregon where it has been legal for awhile).

  323. @ Nathan Priddis:
    “Sin is serious. It is tempting to refer to sin as a mistake. You may even prefer the lighter term. ”

    I love how every time one of these guys is outed you can go back and read there stuff and it’s all right there in black and white.

    He also has a post on how to protect your kids from social media, which doesn’t help when the youth pastor drags them out to a deserted lot but ok.

  324. @ Nathan Priddis:
    Link didn’t copy right. Manualy enter to get the 4/21/2016 online sin test. “Downward spiral may not have been a good choice of words.

  325. Lea wrote:

    dee wrote:
    You are not God.
    One of the comments I read on Twitter this morning said something like ‘for all those people who say god has forgiven him, I hope you brought a note’.

    Lol. That’s a good one. His title is proof, I suppose, in that world.

  326. Lea wrote:

    I love how every time one of these guys is outed you can go back and read there stuff and it’s all right there in black and white.
    He also has a post on how to protect your kids from social media, which doesn’t help when the youth pastor drags them out to a deserted lot but ok.

    Clayton Jennings used Facebook to groom victims, and I think Tullian T. used Twitter for the same purpose.

  327. @ Daisy:
    You’ll be happy to know that Andy has a two part series on his blog about how men and women can’t be friends that starts off with ‘because they’re attracted to each other’. Also because your spouse will be jealous and there is no future in it.

    The he goes into all the rules, which we’ve seen before:
    Don’t ride in a car alone with someone of the opposite sex
    Don’t engage in extended conversations with someone of the opposite sex
    Try not to be alone with someone of the opposite sex
    Give spouse anytime access to anything/everything electronic, social media, text messages, email, etc.
    Never share personal or marital struggles, challenges or concerns with someone of the opposite sex
    Relate to someone of the opposite sex through their spouse as often as possible.

  328. Saddened to read your story Jules, saddened to hear the pain you have had to endure all these years. I find solace in your coming forward to share your story with the masses. I hope in doing so you find some type of closure and peace you need going forward, and that others with similar stories as yours will also have the courage to come forward. I stumbled upon this story on Raw Story, then I clicked a link in that story which brought me here. Going forward I will continue to pray for healing and closure for you and your family. God Bless

  329. “For me, and I bet for you, around 13 we were expected to begin to take on adult responsibilities: teach younger kids, clean the church, lead in prayer, hold office. All under the watchful eye and tutelage of true elders, meaning older people who had some wisdom and experience.
    We need to return to that.”

    Oh yeah. We had Girls Auxiliary adult sponsors from WMU but the older teens were the board and we all had responsibilities. It wasn’t just entertainment., but serious projects.

    . The church evolved to be for spectators with a paid staff who run everything. At some Megas they used to call members “guests”. They still might. It’s bizarre.

    I am not a big fan of the teenager model. Perhaps because I had older parents who were from generations that had no “teenagers”? It wasn’t a thing. It’s a controversial subject but I don’t like to call them children after they are 13 or so. They are pre adults in training or something like that, to me.

  330. Lea wrote:

    You’ll be happy to know that Andy has a two part series on his blog about how men and women can’t be friends that starts off with ‘because they’re attracted to each other’. Also because your spouse will be jealous and there is no future in it.
    The he goes into all the rules, which we’ve seen before:
    Don’t ride in a car alone with someone of the opposite sex
    Don’t engage in extended conversations with someone of the opposite sex
    Try not to be alone with someone of the opposite sex
    (etc)

    It’s the “Billy Graham Rule” (now sometimes called the “Mike Pence Rule”) on steroids.

    This very blog has some defenders of the Billy Graham Rule, and some lady on my ‘Daisy’ blog screamed at me about this a week or two ago, that she supports the Mike Pence Rule and is angry I see problems with it (I don’t think that lady posts on TWW, thankfully).

    Yes, Lea, I am attracted to EVERY man I meet, ESPECIALLY the married ones!
    I had raging affairs with all male co-workers at my professional full-time jobs and my part time ones, too.
    *roll eyes*

  331. @ refugee:

    “I am getting the feeling, strange as it may sound, that a church that claims to exist for the glory of God is one to steer clear of. Stay away. Far away.”
    +++++++++++++++++

    I feel the same. largely because “to exist for the glory of God” is too abstract for any practical meaning (other than ‘we have all the answers, so fall in line accordingly’).

    i really can’t think of a more propagandist statement these days.

  332. Lea wrote:

    Never share personal or marital struggles, challenges or concerns with someone of the opposite sex

    Hmm. I often wonder about this sort of teaching among Christians.

    In this day and age when LGBT persons or causes seem more common place than ever, what if the person you confide in about marital problems or whatever is bi-sexual or homosexual?

    Single women get avoid like the plague by many Christians. The men get told to avoid us because we’re wanna-be home-wrecking harlots, while hte wives have been taught to be suspicious of us, because all of us want to bed their men.

    Even secular folks don’t like inviting singles over for dinners – they don’t like a spare wheel, they like everyone in pairs.

    All of this leaves single women without friends and companionship.

    But anyway are the Mike Pence Rule supporters just as paranoid of LGBT affairs happening?

  333. linda wrote:

    When the church became obsessed with youth, making the music all about the youth, the lighting and dress codes and Bible versions used and all a ploy to win the youth, ironically though shuttling them out to special groups quickly, the church went downhill in a hurry.

    Being “culturally-relevant” has gotten the organized church in a heap of trouble. When you dilute the gospel message and incorporate ways of the world into “worship”, you are catering to the whims of culture rather than the commands of God. I’ve never had a real problem with form as long as there is some substance to it, but 21st century “worshipers” are largely doing church without God. And in that atmosphere, you can expect just about anything … like preachers who can’t keep their pants on.

  334. Had another thought.
    Lea wrote:

    You’ll be happy to know that Andy has a two part series on his blog about how men and women can’t be friends that starts off with ‘because they’re attracted to each other’.

    So that explains why Jesus of Nazareth had all those orgies with those women he met in the Gospels. Thanks for clearing that up, Andy Savage!

    (If you are a Christian: Jesus is not a special exception. He’s your role model.)

  335. I went to a Baptist youth group in the UK in 1972. I was 14-15 years old. The youth group leader would offer me a lift home but near home he would stop at a car park and made me kiss him. I just didn’t know back then it was assault.

  336. @ Daisy:

    “According to an article I read about this a few months ago, it’s also a way a church gets to hire someone at cheaper pay.”
    ++++++++

    do you recall where this article came from?

  337. @ elastigirl:
    I don’t know about the article but someone at church told me that making the person in charge of one group at our church a minister instead of director would usually be more expensive because a lot of those positions don’t have the same benefits. I don’t know if that’s the same for these churches, though. (Wouldn’t be surprised if they were still in ‘she has a husband/dudebro has a family to support’ mode either. )

  338. @ elastigirl:

    This might be at least one of the articles I saw (I read so many of these things I lose track after awhile, and I don’t always book mark every thing I read):

    Pastor or Director: Does Title Matter?
    An honest look at what our titles communicate

    https://www.christianitytoday.com/women-leaders/2015/november/pastor-or-director-does-title-matter.html?paging=off

    At one site I was lurking at months ago, a few women who work as preachers were discussing this – and the pay gap in job titles in churches, and stuff like that.

  339. @ elastigirl:

    Ministry Matters | The sin of the clergy pay gap
    http://www.ministrymatters.com/all/entry/6627/the-sin-of-the-clergy-pay-gap

    Jan 21, 2016 –

    Last week, my fellow clergy sisters and I were hit with a gut punch when the new information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was released.

    For the first time, clergy income was reported, and, lo and behold, women made seventy-six cents for every dollar that men made, a substantially larger gap than the eighty-three cents to the dollar nationally.

  340. #Praying for Jules
    Jules, just know that right now you are not alone. You have all of us standing with you.

    Dee asked us to look for grooming tactics in this. What really stands out to me is Andy’s response. That feels like he’s trying to groom the congregation into accepting his version of events. Let’s analyze this and translate what he’s really saying:

    (trigger warning)

    Translation of Andy’s response:

    “As a college student on staff at a church in Texas more than 20 years ago (See, I’m not such a bad guy—I was just a naive college volunteer. That sounds more innocent than saying “pastor”),

    I regretfully had a sexual incident (please don’t think this was a “crime”) with a female high school senior in the church (I don’t want you to know her name).

    I apologized and sought forgiveness from her, her parents, her discipleship group (Note—right there he just accidentally corroborated her story), the church staff, and the church leadership, who informed the congregation (by telling them only what I wanted them to).

    In agreement with wise counsel (See—I was trying to do the right thing. I’m the one submitting to spiritual authority), I took every step to respond in a biblical way (See—I’m the holy one, she’s the sinful one).

    I resigned from ministry (I’ve already been punished enough) and moved back home to Memphis (to get as far away from this as possible). I accepted full responsibility for my actions (Repentance is whatever I want it to be).

    I was and remain very remorseful for the incident and deeply regret the pain I caused her and her family, as well as the pain I caused the church and God’s Kingdom (Let’s make this all about God’s glory to deflect any attention from me).

    There has never been another situation remotely similar in my life before or after that occurrence (See—I’m not a monster).

    The incident happened before Amanda and I were engaged and I shared every aspect of this situation with her before I asked her to marry me (I’m worried that Amanda will realize she has biblical grounds to leave me. Let’s set this situation up so if she does leave me I can have the moral high ground).

    I further disclosed this incident to Chris Conlee before coming on staff at Highpoint and have shared with key leaders throughout my tenure. (Now I can blame all of them if they don’t back me up).

    This incident was dealt with in Texas 20 years ago (this is old news so no one is allowed to talk about it), but in the last few days has been presented to a wider audience (It’s her fault for not keeping this between us like I ordered her to do). I was wrong and I accepted responsibility for my actions (so let me off the hook).

    I was sorry then and remain so today. Again, I sincerely ask for forgiveness from her and pray for God’s continued healing for everyone involved (let’s put all the responsibility on God to clean up the mess I made).”

    ________________________________________
    A Word from Chris Conlee (Translation)

    “This information is not new to me or to our leadership (so please make all this go away since we don’t want to face it).

    As one of my closest friends and partners in ministry, I can assure you that I have total confidence in the redemptive process Andy went through under his leadership in Texas (I’m in control of that redemptive process so I get to decide whether he has changed. No one else is allowed to use their discernment on whether he has changed).

    In addition, for more than 16 years, I have watched Andy strive to live a godly life and proactively share what he has learned to help others. (Everything was fine until she rocked the boat).

    On behalf of the elders, pastors, staff, and Trustees of Highpoint (who are all on Andy’s side not hers), I want to affirm that we are 100% committed to Andy (so we’re going to pressure Jules to stop this), Amanda, and their family (let’s play the sympathy card so people will feel sorry for Andy) and his continued ministry at Highpoint Church (because we’d rather keep someone who just admitted to sexual assault on our staff).

    We ask for your prayers and support for all involved (because we don’t want to have to do anything else).”

  341. @ Sandra:

    “Also, the RawStory article repeated Savage’s nonsense statement about only being a “staffer.”

    ….The fact was he was not just a “staffer,” he was the youth pastor.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    the ‘pastor’ title: someone endowed with authority and the right to a comparatively higher salary. and in many cases, entitlement to special treatment above rules, laws, integrity and common sense.

    a little word with big consequence.

  342. Integrity wrote:

    I knew Andy when he was at Germantown Baptist Church and he is a really nice guy. I really hate that this whole situation has happened because I know similar people who experienced less severe situations, and it affects them for the rest of their lives. May God heal this girls heart!
    In Germantown Baptist Church, Germantown Tennessee, there’s a very similar incident – not as extreme – but if you are violated, you are violated, that occurred 18 months ago with a clergy at Germantown Baptist Church and THE TOP administrative told the staff not to say anything to anyone. Three staff members were even fired because they would not stand down on the sexual assault.
    The clergy person was counseling a girl, took her in his car, and assaulted her. The clergy was sent on a week-long trip with his spouse to renew their wedding vows. The girl was shunned, quit working for the preschool Department at the church, she was 18 or 19. And several hundred people have left the church because the issue has not been addressed with integrity. I spoke to the father moments ago to see if Germantown Baptist Church ever did anything for the girl. Nothing. The girl has had to have additional counseling. The man was 20 years her senior.

    I would like to learn more about this if you are comfortable. Send me an email to dee@thewartbrgwatch.com

  343. I’m just going to say that everyone else here has expressed how I have felt about this horrible, horrible situation with Jules. It’s also very distressing to hear other people recount how they were sexually assaulted in these comments. Jules, the Low Sparrow and others, know that I have your back.

    But the below is something I think I can shed some light on…

    Lea wrote:

    I don’t know about the article but someone at church told me that making the person in charge of one group at our church a minister instead of director would usually be more expensive because a lot of those positions don’t have the same benefits. I don’t know if that’s the same for these churches, though. (Wouldn’t be surprised if they were still in ‘she has a husband/dudebro has a family to support’ mode either. )

    I think some of this may be–don’t laugh–tax related here in the USA. It’s like this. If you’re a “pastor” or a “minister,” and you’re performing “ministerial” duties, your employer can segregate out some of your income as a “housing allowance” and the “allowance” is attributed to you as *tax-free* income, excludable from gross income.

    https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc417

    Now, I don’t have any insights into how people are being paid at these churches, but I would strongly suspect (again, this is a hunch, not a fact) that the guys with the “pastor” title gets to sequester some of his income as tax-free housing allowance, while the ladies with the “director” title do not. Again, let me be clear–I don’t know if that is the actual case, but it would not surprise me in the least to find out that is the distinction.

    Finally, and for the record, this tax allowance has been struck down (for a second time) in a federal court. It is probably on its way to the Supreme Court.

    http://religionnews.com/2017/10/10/federal-judge-strikes-down-tax-free-housing-for-clergy/

    I am of two minds on this. I know most pastors are not paid very well at all, and I also know of some church schools where the teachers are considered ministers and they get the tax allowance as a result, which helps make up for their low pay. So I definitely see it there. On the other hand, the church/state separation side of me sees it as a real problem.

  344. Lea wrote:

    @ Daisy:
    You’ll be happy to know that Andy has a two part series on his blog about how men and women can’t be friends that starts off with ‘because they’re attracted to each other’.

    Only in PORNOGRAPHY.

  345. Integrity wrote:

    The clergy person was counseling a girl, took her in his car, and assaulted her. The clergy was sent on a week-long trip with his spouse to renew their wedding v

    *speechless*

    But typical. Something is very very wrong in these men’s thinking.

  346. Susan wrote:

    @ Max:
    The cover of Savage’s soon-to-be released book “Ridiculously Good Marriage” features an illustration of an ice cream cone.

    It’s all in how you use the Tongue (heavy panting and licking sounds)…

  347. Susan wrote:

    @ Max:
    The cover of Savage’s soon-to-be released book “Ridiculously Good Marriage” features an illustration of an ice cream cone.

    It’s all in how you use the Tongue (heavy panting and licking sounds)…Daisy wrote:

    HUG has anecdotes about this sort of thing, business owner friends he has or had who say they force Christian guys to pay up-front for services because they’ve been stiffed one too many times by self-professing Christians.

    Actually, it was one of the staffers (Jeff Dunn?) over at Internet Mpnk.

  348. JYJames wrote:

    “The Andy Savage Story” writes Jonathan Aigner. Appropriate title.

    Sounds like an episode title from Wagon Train….

  349. One of the reasons that Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn wrote the Gulag Archipelago is that he wanted to process his role in participating in a society that eventually killed over 50 million of its citizens and went so far down the “political correctness” rabbit hole that it prosecuted people for “thought crime.” The conclusion that he came to was that every time he had not stood up for truth, every time he had gone along to get along, he had made a small contribution to this problem. He actively participated in the fictions the state created, and participating in them gave them more and more power.

    I have been thinking about this in regards to the church. I have never sexually assaulted anyone or covered for anyone who has. I have never heard a first hand report of a sexual in a church I attended, although the statistics say that I have attended a church where some evil crime like this happened. How I have contributed to this problem is by idolizing church leaders. Whether it is a church I attended or following someone on Twitter or reading their think pieces, I have helped in propping up people who see themselves as above the law and so important that they must squash anyone who might threaten “their ministry.” No one has a ministry; the Holy Spirit has a ministry that we participate in. The past year has taught me that I should never assume that anyone in media, sports, politics, or ministry is a moral person. I’m kicking myself that it took me so long to realize that. I was set up to think that way by the culture I was raised in, but I wish I had the courage to break out sooner. As of about a year ago, I have decided that I am done with this. My authority is Jesus Christ, and other christians can help me but they CANNOT dictate what I think or say or do.

    The fact that Savage was writing books and giving lectures about marriage and chastity proves that he was not repentant. A person who’s heart is soft towards God would never be able to talk about those subjects with the guilt that is eating them from the inside. I find it almost physically impossible to offer someone advice on something that I struggle with. Some of the trolls have been fast and loose with forgiveness and redemption and repentance. Repentance is facing the music. Repentance is a change of heart and mind, not simply doing the minimum to make the problem go away. If Savage wants to repent, he will confess exactly what he did and turn himself into the police. Brennan Manning tells stories about people like Savage from his time in alcohol rehab. People haven’t repented until they stop trying to spin things in their favor and accept the weight of what they have done.

  350. I visited his Memphis church for the first time a couple of weeks ago. I will not be visiting ever again. This betrayal of a young woman by a minister is disgusting. He should be fired immediately and not ever again be allowed to hold such a position. All of the people that covered up his crime should face the same fate.

    I am so sorry for what happened to this woman.
    @ Herringbone:

  351. sandy c wrote:

    Thank you for posting this Beaker it clairifies so much for me about my own past abuse.

    I’m really glad it was helpful. It is really hard to understand things that are done to you, especially when young, but an understanding of what a healthy & consensual relationship generally looks like in both behaviour & dynamics is really helpful in showing up the reality of things. We try & teach this to our Young People all the time.refugee wrote:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Especially for pointing out the clear distinction between affection and self-gratification, or being loving toward someone vs. using them. Sometimes it’s hard for someone who has been abused to see that there is a difference, and I think some misplaced guilt and self-blame comes from that.

    I’ve sadly had to do a lot of thinking about this working with young clients who are unaware that an adult (or near adult) is actually grooming or abusing them. There are some fine lines to draw & one of our problems is that we have few really good relationships in the public eye to hold up as an example.

    And seriously, this stuff boils my blood as I work with so many wonderful Youth Workers who would never dream of using a Young Person in their care. There is a lot of practical wisdom out there about how to manage all those boundaries safely, honed by years of practice, especially as Young People become physically very comfortable around us over time. I currently have a Young Woman in a project who likes to drape herself over me like a cat,& one in a former project who used to sit on my knee all the time. My response? I stick both hands up in the air & shout ‘bad touch, bad touch’, of course with a laugh, but everyone gets the point. No tickling here.

  352. J wrote:

    Have you been to Highpoint to EXPERIENCE what God is doing or has done? If you have, you didn’t stick around long enough to know that these men in leadership roles and “staff” filled women are totally equal!! ““Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”
    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬ @ Lea:

    Talk about being judgemental. And what’s with the whole thing about men in leadership roles and women on staff. This makes zero difference to what happened to Jules. If one of these male leaders is not above reproach then the Bible clearly states that he should be disqualified from the leadership role.

  353. Wow! I come back here the next day and there is over 400 comments. I predict this will be one of the most commented on posts of 2018.

  354. I stumbled across this article today as I was looking at the work of the writer, Be Scofield, who has been doing some “guru-busting” in the New Age environment. This article was written in 2010 and is ostensibly about Andrew Cohen, a disgraced New Age guru who has been trying to worm his way back into prominence. The article discusses Cohen, his abuses and some of his close compatriots in the “Integral”/non-dual movement and THEIR abuses. I found this paragraph towards the end of the article to be, well, read it and I think you’ll see where I’m going:

    s Frank Visser says, “Integral confirms integral confirms integral.” I have heard people defend Marc Gafni by stating that Andrew Cohen and Ken Wilber support him. But it actually is a silly game they all play because they all defend and support each other. It goes something like this. Patten, Hamilton, Gafni and Wilber support Cohen. Cohen, Wilber, Hamilton and Patten support Gafni. Cohen, Gafni, Hamilton and Patten support Wilber. Wilber and Cohen support Patten and Hamilton. Wilber and Patten support Adi Da….etc. And they all appear on each others integral programs, websites, conferences, book chapters, magazines and platforms. Among the various offerings is Integral Life Practice, Integral Naked, Integral Institute, Integral Spiritual Center, Integral Enlightenment, EnlightenNext magazine…etc. And as Yenner notes above, they seem to employ the same tactic: surrounding themselves with other luminaries, celebrities, and public faces who agree with them and provide much needed support. If all of these amazing people support Cohen he must be ok, right? Nowadays it seems all you have to do is add the word integral in front of something to boost its credibility. Add the word integral and you have a sexy and attractive product ready to be sold to eager spiritual seekers who are hungry for idealism and more purpose in life. The whole thing equates to a very large money making machine.

    https://medium.com/@bescofield/integral-abuse-andrew-cohen-the-culture-of-evolutionary-enlightenment-2010-dace41c982eb

  355. cindy treadway wrote:

    dee wrote:

    Forrest wrote:

    Susan wrote:
    @ Max:
    The cover of Savage’s soon-to-be released book “Ridiculously Good Marriage” features an illustration of an ice cream cone.
    Barf!
    Wow! Coincidence?

    It is things like this that make me think that there is a Conductor of sorts, making sure truth comes to light.

    amen.

    Hebrews 4:13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

  356. Man, I was in a profession in which men ( and women) became involved with teens. It never happened at any school district I was at, but sometimes you have to ” talk” to folks about how it looks. Espcially if one kid keeps hanging around that teacher.
    I know Youth Pastors sometime need to be one on one with kids, but you know, it seems like there is more of these people who you hear about sexual misconduct with than anyone else on the church staff. Makes you wonder?

  357. K.D. wrote:

    I know Youth Pastors sometime need to be one on one with kids, but you know, it seems like there is more of these people who you hear about sexual misconduct with than anyone else on the church staff. Makes you wonder?

    I now question the entire concept of youth ministry. The church survived nearly 2000 years without it, so why is it so essential now? We’ve seen enough teens abused by youth “pastors.” And the constant need for teachers for younger kids creates opportunities for pedophiles to have contact with children – even the best churces are challenged with screaning everyone. Maybe its time to ditch the whole concept.

  358. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes wrote:

    Nowadays it seems all you have to do is add the word integral in front of something to boost its credibility.

    Wow. Change integral to gospel and it sounds way too familiar.

  359. Stan wrote:

    Savage seems to have a schtick of presenting himself as the perfect husband and father who can protect the women in his flock from men who aren’t as good as he is.

    He must have “sat under” Mark Driscoll’s teaching for awhile. The M.O. is the same.

  360. Everyone here may be served – and hopefully encouraged – by the talk given this weekend (just left the Saturday PM service) at Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC. Kicked-off a new series titled “#MeToo,” and in the message, the hypocrisy of Christians for just this sort of thing was openly acknowledged. I believe this is the first large church I know of dealing with this so openly. You can hear it on their internet campus, or download their app and listen to it. It’s being promoted on Twitter with hashtags #ChurchToo and #SilenceIsNotSpiritual http://www.mecklenburg.org

  361. Addison wrote:

    Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC. Kicked-off a new series titled “#MeToo,” and in the message, the hypocrisy of Christians for just this sort of thing was openly acknowledged.

    Amazing! About time.

  362. drstevej wrote:

    “Oh! What A Tangled Web We Weave When First We Practice To Deceive” — Shakespeare

    Walter Scott not Shakespeare

    However in this case the web weaver may have escaped the legal consequences and possibly most of the other consequences.

  363. @ Ken F (aka Tweed):
    I grew up in a small Mennonite Church. It had its issues, but the youth group was good. It was done on a volunteer basis by two sets of parents of kids in the group.

    Question: ho does a youth minister work 40 hours a week? We give our money to churches to pay full-time pastors, and I really wonder what they do Monday-Friday 9-5

  364. Ricco wrote:

    Question: how does a youth minister work 40 hours a week? We give our money to churches to pay full-time pastors, and I really wonder what they do Monday-Friday 9-5

    You can find them at coffee houses tweeting their lives away in my neck of the woods, along with all the New Calvinist “lead pastors” here. Seldom do either visit sick folks in hospitals and nursing homes. I know that is not the case with all young ministers – there are good ones out there, but the new reformation has produced a crop that only show up on Sunday mornings for their moment in the sun.

  365. Max wrote:

    You can find them at coffee houses tweeting their lives away in my neck of the woods, along with all the New Calvinist “lead pastors” here. Seldom do either visit sick folks in hospitals and nursing homes.

    Acts 29 curtesy of Mark Driscol did away with that coffee shop waste of time….they meet and hang out in hipster dude bro bars now….seen it with my own eyes and also on many A29 church calendars online! They loved to have pics of themselves @bars in local newspaper at the last town i lived in…sheesh

  366. dee wrote:

    @ Bridget:
    Notice he doesn’t use her name. This is typical in these situation, especially when lawyers get involved. In the Lauren Hugelmaier post at TWW, you will see that Lauren’s murderer-husband’s attorney said he extended his condolences to the family of *the young woman.*

    Yep, I noticed that too. It’s a way Savage can distance himself from the deplorable act he committed against Jules. Another way to minimize and avoid dealing with his sinful and criminal behavior.

  367. Dee! Dee! Dee!

    Earlier, I was willing to entertain the idea that the ice cream logo on Savage’s book cover was not his idea, but maybe one by a designer hired by the publisher – which still may be true.

    But I was looking around Savage’s site some more, and there’s another product he’s promoting (“Drive Thru Date Night”) that has ice cream cones and scoops imagery all over the place.

    I am unclear if this is a separate promotion from his “Ridiculously Good Marriage” book. His page says it’s affiliated with another book called “The Marriage Dashboard.”

    You can see the ice cream motiff here, in two or three images on the page:

    http://www.andysavage.com/drive-thru-date-night

    I don’t know if this has any significance, or if Jules ever told him about her assuming he was taking her for ice cream that night or what, but it’s creepy.

  368. Dear Jules,

    Your courage is admirable. Your actions are inspiring. Your wisdom to want to hold this savage man to account is Biblical. As a man, I see the grooming signs and I too share the intuition that what happened to you was, and probably is, still happening to young girls all around the world. By that I especially mean the cover ups, the betrayal of trust, and shameless/unholy behavior by the Protestant Church “elders” who silenced the victim. Shame.

    That shameful behavior continues in High Point’s elders’ statement today, where the Church restates its commitment to poor dear “Andy and Amanda” without so much as a general word of consolation or grace with respect to assault victims — not to mention an outright apology to Jules and/or churchgoers everywhere for the cover up. Shameful and sinful behavior by the “elders” — truly sickening.

    #MeTooJules

  369. Addison wrote:

    Everyone here may be served – and hopefully encouraged – by the talk given this weekend (just left the Saturday PM service) at Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC. Kicked-off a new series titled “#MeToo,” and in the message, the hypocrisy of Christians for just this sort of thing was openly acknowledged. I believe this is the first large church I know of dealing with this so openly. You can hear it on their internet campus, or download their app and listen to it. It’s being promoted on Twitter with hashtags #ChurchToo and #SilenceIsNotSpiritual http://www.mecklenburg.org

    Thank you Addison. I am forwarding this to Jules.

  370. The Low Sparrow wrote:

    I went to a Baptist youth group in the UK in 1972. I was 14-15 years old. The youth group leader would offer me a lift home but near home he would stop at a car park and made me kiss him. I just didn’t know back then it was assault.

    Excuse me? I am not sure what you are saying here.

  371. This here thread’s prolly gonna’ be one o’ them barn burners.
    440 comments and countin’…

  372. Daisy wrote:

    the ice cream motiff

    Interesting that one night years ago the drive that supposedly was innocent as ice cream was actually an evil assault lurking. Makes one wonder what else lurks behind an ice cream cone motif in the repertoire of this “leader”, over the years. His cohorts claim the assault was an isolated one off – never before, never after.

    “It’s not who I really am,” some other assailants have claimed.

    Time will tell.

  373. Several years ago I prosecuted exclusively these types of cases in the State of Texas. Sadly, I think this would be a tough case to proceed on criminally given the way the law is written.

    The section of the penal code that defines sex between clergy/congregant as without consent is *I think* relatively recent. I feel pretty confident this was not the law 20 years ago. You cannot retroactively make something a crime. Also, in the State of Texas, since she was 17, the DA could not charge it as statutory rape (technically, that isn’t what we call it in Texas) because at 17 you are considered old enough to consent (I am not saying this consensual or anything other than evil – just doing a legal analysis). So, this would leave the DA to prosecute it as sex without consent. However, to prove that this was without consent (if you can’t show she was too young or that it was clergy/congregant) the DA would need to show a use of force or threatened use of force. I think this would be a tough case to win.

    Also, up until 5 or so years ago there was a statute of limitations on a lot of the sexual assault crimes. If the prosecutor wanted to proceed, they would need to look at what the statute of limitations was 20 years ago. If that statute of limitations had not run when the law took effect eliminating the statute of limitations, then the case could be prosecuted.

    I apologize if someone already explained this. I read the first half of the comments and as several people talked about these issues I wanted to clarify.

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. These guys are manipulative. Thank you for speaking up about what happened to you. I hope it gives others courage and comfort.

  374. elastigirl wrote:

    I feel the same. largely because “to exist for the glory of God” is too abstract for any practical meaning (other than ‘we have all the answers, so fall in line accordingly’).

    i really can’t think of a more propagandist statement these days.

    I have long felt this way too. It simply doesn’t follow that the God who spoke Creation into existence with unspeakable power needs to have his ego stroked and glorified constantly by his humans.

    And yeah, it is what it is, fundagelicalism has this common thread, and it really doen’t matter if the brand is Neo-Cal or some other non-Calvinist variant:

    …god has no interest in being your friend or in partnering with you. you exist solely to execute his plans and to aggrandize his glory…

  375. The raving patriarchalism of these Calvinistas genuinely leads to a gross and distorted perception of women, who are perceived as being created to meet the man’s needs – whatever they might be. They truly cannot see a man preying upon a woman as being anything other than her fault – her neckline was too low, her jeans too tight, and who could possible expect a mature man to be able to keep his pants zipped? They do not believe in self-control, but major in abusive manipulation and control of others. It is very difficult for them to perceive anything sexual as being the fault of the helpless, hormone-driven man who, after all, is merely doing what comes naturally. Instead, they condemn, suppress and destroy the self image of beautiful young girls who come to view their very feminine essence as a curse and a weapon that destroys helpless men. These men are brute beasts, and proud of it.

  376. dee wrote:

    I just didn’t know back then it was assault.

    When a man of influence grooms and takes advantage of a young person, it is assault, whether the person responds willingly or not. That is exactly why these people prey upon the naive and inexperienced, knowing how to flatter them and take advantage of their youth and inexperience. A young girl who engages in repeated sexual relations with an older man is nonetheless a victim, even when she is convinced that this is true ‘love’ and that sex in the back of a car is a mature relationship. Of course the intelligent abuser is going to woo and win his victims willing cooperation. But consensual sex is still illegitimate and assault when it occurs between an adult and a person too young and immature to make adult decisions.

  377. JYJames wrote:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/ponderanew/2018/01/05/andy-savage-story-christian-culture-must-hold-abusers-accountable/

    “The Andy Savage Story” writes Jonathan Aigner. Appropriate title.

    In the comments section of this article, one of the persons said they were unable to share this article on Facebook. When they tried, this is what came up: :”Your message couldn’t be sent because it includes content that other people on Facebook have reported as abusive.” The author of this article at Patheos made the following statement: “I wanted this shared far and wide, which was happening until Lowpoint/Andy Savage cronies got it marked as spam.

    Talk about Damage Control!

  378. @ Truthseeker00:
    The comment you copied was not from Dee but from “The Low Sparrow”.

    Nevertheless, your comments, Truthseeker00, ring true. I would add: When ANYONE – man or woman – of influence grooms and takes advantage of a young person, it is wrong and illegal.

    A mother of a high schooler in our town got involved with her son’s high school friend and she went to women’s prison for ten years. The 17-year-old high school boy’s parents had her charged; she was found guilty. She is a registered offender.

  379. Daisy wrote:

    dee wrote:

    Why don’t you start your own blog and show us how a real pro like you does it?

    I’ve already blocked about two people on my modest Daisy blog over this sort of thing.

    People who get angry and yell because they don’t like that you’re critical of some view or another or their favorite Christian celebrity; they want all your posts to be “happy clappy” and cheerful, especially in regards to their pet topic or pet preacher they favor.

    Daisy, you must be referring to Seneca Griggs! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  380. He was 20 and she was 17. He asked her to engage in a sexual act and she complied. He realized the inappropriateness of his actions…when? not later when caught, not after the act was finished and he had his sexual needs filled and then felt guilty but DURING the act that she was performing on him and by her account he stopped her and got down on his knees and prayed for forgiveness from her and from God. He was a college student, she was 3-4 years younger than him, he clearly made a mistake and was fired from his position and had to leave the church and the community and state over this action that was not a crime but a typical act of a college age male with a consenting female of his age group. This was not rape, nor sexual assault, this was a sexually inappropriate yet consensual sexual act done by both of them. He clearly was the more guilty party due to his slightly older age and his position in the church, which was the only reason he was interacting with her…he was very wrong. He clearly paid a significant price for a bad decision made by a 20 year old with a 17 yr old. People and the “victim” need to quit acting like a child was raped or sexually assaulted by an adult “clergy” – it disrespects those evils that are truly done on children by adults. How many of you made bad sexual decisions when you were 20 or 17? Are you going to email and call the news twenty years after those decisions and try and blame others for your feelings? Shame on all of you.

  381. Darlene wrote:

    Daisy, you must be referring to Seneca Griggs!

    Griggs showed up to my blog under two other names (one male and one female, had to figure out this was him myself, he wouldn’t admit to it), and tried to post under the name Griggs later, after I blocked the first two names.

    I blocked Chapmen Ed (after warning him a couple of times) and some pro- psychology zealot lady who was bent out of shape that not all of my coverage of psychology is 100% sun shiney.

  382. Truthseeker00 wrote:

    When a man of influence grooms and takes advantage of a young person, it is assault, whether the person responds willingly or not. That is exactly why these people prey upon the naive and inexperienced…

    I wish more people understood this, but they don’t seem to.

  383. dee wrote:

    Integrity wrote:

    I knew Andy when he was at Germantown Baptist Church and he is a really nice guy. I really hate that this whole situation has happened because I know similar people who experienced less severe situations, and it affects them for the rest of their lives. May God heal this girls heart!
    In Germantown Baptist Church, Germantown Tennessee, there’s a very similar incident – not as extreme – but if you are violated, you are violated, that occurred 18 months ago with a clergy at Germantown Baptist Church and THE TOP administrative told the staff not to say anything to anyone. Three staff members were even fired because they would not stand down on the sexual assault.
    The clergy person was counseling a girl, took her in his car, and assaulted her. The clergy was sent on a week-long trip with his spouse to renew their wedding vows. The girl was shunned, quit working for the preschool Department at the church, she was 18 or 19. And several hundred people have left the church because the issue has not been addressed with integrity. I spoke to the father moments ago to see if Germantown Baptist Church ever did anything for the girl. Nothing. The girl has had to have additional counseling. The man was 20 years her senior.

    I would like to learn more about this if you are comfortable. Send me an email to dee@thewartbrgwatch.com

    I was there at GBC at the time. I was in jr. High. I remember the church meetings over this. He was the father to one of my friends. I remember it all went down with secrecy and well it was all so sketchy.

  384. dee wrote:

    Good pick up. I will ask her. This is weird. She did not tell him that. She told that to me.

    I wonder if he talked about ice cream as a special treat as the youth pastor, and that’s why it occurred to her on that awful drive?

  385. I am continually shocked by pastors who tell children they are to take some blame, I get that being men they have a different view of sexual acts that girls do but it’s not comprehensible to me to hear the comments your pastor told you. This is exactly why there needs to be serious reform not only in churches but in seminaries who prepare these people. There needs to be more psychological training because these men are damaging congregants instead of helping.

    I’m so sorry you had to hear that, it’s a lie, you were a child mentally and still needed and deserved protection not exploitation. The field of psychology came to the forefront BECAUSE of incest and how much dannage it caused women and children. Your father should have gotten the help and correction he needed and you should have been helped through that traumatic ordeal.

  386. Darlene wrote:

    In the comments section of this article, one of the persons said they were unable to share this article on Facebook. When they tried, this is what came up: :”Your message couldn’t be sent because it includes content that other people on Facebook have reported as abusive.”

    Yes, this link to the post is being blocked. FB gives me the option to ask about the blocking so I protested it.
    Nevertheless, I could and did post a link to the blogs homepage, and this article is the most recent post, so that is a workaround currently. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/ponderanew/

  387. Daisy wrote:

    Dee! Dee! Dee!

    Earlier, I was willing to entertain the idea that the ice cream logo on Savage’s book cover was not his idea, but maybe one by a designer hired by the publisher – which still may be true.

    But I was looking around Savage’s site some more, and there’s another product he’s promoting (“Drive Thru Date Night”) that has ice cream cones and scoops imagery all over the place.

    I am unclear if this is a separate promotion from his “Ridiculously Good Marriage” book. His page says it’s affiliated with another book called “The Marriage Dashboard.”

    You can see the ice cream motiff here, in two or three images on the page:

    http://www.andysavage.com/drive-thru-date-night

    I don’t know if this has any significance, or if Jules ever told him about her assuming he was taking her for ice cream that night or what, but it’s creepy.

    One of the questions on his date night page for couples to ask each other is “What’s the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into in a car?”

  388. @ Lea:
    Guess I was the only parent who felt it was totally inappropriate for Andy to be Youth Pastor at the age of 20, thought he was 19, when my children (one a female) was just a year older than Jules, but he had been on for a few years. What did I know? I would have never let her ride alone in a car with him and on a a Summer Bible trip, made certain adults were going, and I trusted her and her friends, each of them. I was just unsettled about the whole thing. To think most every one of you participated in the “True Love Waits” while a molester led the Biblical workshop just sickens me.

    Darcy, thank you for reaching out to Jules. You have always been a sweetheart and a dear friend to my daughter and now, again to Jules. Jules, I am so very sorry this happened to you and should have voiced my concerns when he was hired on, but we were relatively new to a somewhat “clickish” church. We left there not long after, because something didn’t feel right about the whole situation.

    Jules, God has been with you through these all most difficult years, but He brought Darcy to you to help you on our earthly side. You did the right thing and you are in my prayers.

  389. @ Muff Potter:

    and….. what exactly is glory? what’s your best guess? shining rays of light?

    no one knows what it means. it is so silly for people to pretend they do, and feign deep understanding. the concept belies such a thing.

  390. @ dee:

    ice cream….
    +++++++++++++

    i remember in high school noticing a book called “Just Like Ice Cream” in a christian book store. it had a picture of teenage girl one side and a teen age boy on the other side, both with innocent smiles.

    the premise of the book appeared to be about sex before marriage seeming as good and naturally enjoyable as ice cream, but to the contrary is something to beware of.

    wonder if / how this plays into things. it is weird.

  391. I just watched Jules’ interview on the Memphis station.
    Keep speaking out!

    I’m praying for you.

  392. @ Daisy<
    I think its role play. Put yourself into the scene of the double date.

    The date is juvenile and innocent. Involves teenage memories that end in a rapid / rushed sexual experience.

  393. Muff Potter wrote:

    elastigirl wrote:
    I feel the same. largely because “to exist for the glory of God” is too abstract for any practical meaning (other than ‘we have all the answers, so fall in line accordingly’).
    i really can’t think of a more propagandist statement these days.
    I have long felt this way too. It simply doesn’t follow that the God who spoke Creation into existence with unspeakable power needs to have his ego stroked and glorified constantly by his humans.
    And yeah, it is what it is, fundagelicalism has this common thread, and it really doen’t matter if the brand is Neo-Cal or some other non-Calvinist variant:
    …god has no interest in being your friend or in partnering with you. you exist solely to execute his plans and to aggrandize his glory…

    You might be on to something here. I’ve just started reading Luther’s works and came across this in the proofs of his Heidelberg Disputation (thesis 21):-
    “This is clear: He who does not know Christ does not know God hidden in suffering. Therefore he prefers works to suffering, glory to the cross, strength to weakness, wisdom to folly, and, in general, good to evil. These are the people whom the apostle calls “enemies of the cross of Christ” [Phil. 3:18], for they hate the cross and suffering and love works and the glory of works. Thus they call the good of the cross evil and the evil of a deed good”

    It describes almost to a ‘T’ the New Calvinists’ fascination with
    works – 7 things to be better, richer,holier etc;
    glory – 9Marks have lots of articles on glory, not so much on ‘the cross’
    strength – grow a beard, drink beer, go huntin’, wear plaid shirts
    wisdom – do as you’re told, we know best
    good – again, articles on a ‘good’ Pastor, authority as a ‘good’ gift, how to be good.

    As Luther says, “they hate the Cross and suffering, they love works and the glory of works”

  394. @ Lowlandseer:
    And to make it even clearer, he says in the proof of thesis 22
    “This has already been said. Because men do not know the cross and hate it, they necessarily love the opposite, namely, wisdom, glory, power, and so on. Therefore they become increasingly blinded and hardened by such love, for desire cannot be satisfied by the acquisition of those things which it desires. Just as the love of money grows in proportion to the increase of the money itself, so the dropsy of the soul becomes thirstier the more it drinks, as the poet says: “The more water they drink, the more they thirst for it.” The same thought is expressed in Eccles. 1[:8]: “The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.” This holds true of all desires.
    Thus also the desire for knowledge is not satisfied by the acquisition of wisdom but is stimulated that much more. Likewise the desire for glory is not satisfied by the acquisition of glory, nor is the desire to rule satisfied by power and authority, nor is the desire for praise satisfied by praise, and so on, as Christ shows in John 4[:13], where he says, “Every one who drinks of this water will thirst again.”
    The remedy for curing desire does not lie in satisfying it, but in extinguishing it. In other words, he who wishes to become wise does not seek wisdom by progressing toward it but becomes a fool by retrogressing into seeking folly. Likewise he who wishes to have much power, honor, pleasure, satisfaction in all things must flee rather than seek power, honor, pleasure, and satisfaction in all things. This is the wisdom which is folly to the world.”

  395. Muff Potter wrote:

    …god has no interest in being your friend or in partnering with you. you exist solely to execute his plans and to aggrandize his glory…

    Replace “god” with “pastor ____” and you get one of the major reasons for this blog.

  396. refugee wrote:

    I wonder if he talked about ice cream as a special treat as the youth pastor

    Youth pastors have various tools in their tool kits to draw youth to church … pizza, popcorn, ice cream, popular movies, trips to theme parks, skating parties, cool bands, youth retreats, etc. In SBC ranks, your livelihood depends on how many young people you can round up … it’s all about the numbers. Offering anything of spiritual significance matters little – these young pastors don’t have much in the way of life experiences to offer the youngsters anyway. When I was a kid, we didn’t have a youth meeting separate from the main worship services. We sat with the adults. You could often find me in the back pew making spit balls out of the church bulletin and throwing them at my brother, but some of the pastor’s messages eventually took root. The whole concept of “youth ministry” needs to be revisited.

  397. Daisy wrote:

    and you’ll be referred to as a “Daughter of Satin.” (Yes, that was Satan with an “i”.)

    Hell-low everyone! Satin here. You know, any godly spiritual wolf can make a mistake and chow down on a little lamb-chop– all inspired just by his own ravenous appetites– and stumble by chance into a “sexual incident”. No help needed from yours truly. But calling it a “sexual incident” must have had my de-spiration. And pointing it out as “over 20 years ago” is positively Satin-ick. Lots of water under the bridge. Time heals all wounds. Victim’s memories probably clouded. Hitler happened into the holocaust incident over 70 years ago! So long ago maybe he never happened into it at all! A final brilliant touch is reminding everyone it was before he and Amanda were engaged! Totally irrelevant, but gets humans thinking Oh, just a little fornification– no actual cheating involved!

  398. ishy wrote:

    Lea wrote:

    What’s crazy to me is when they say ‘he always seemed like a good guy to me’ like no kidding are you a 17 year old girl? No? Maybe that’s why.

    I’ve seen guys witness other guys who assault or harass women and still defend them that way. “He’s just a little awkward in show her he likes her” or “He didn’t really mean it”.

    I can’t help but wonder if many of them think men deserve to be allowed to do those things because they devalue women so much. Objects shouldn’t complain about how they are treated.

    They also justify by saying, “that’s just who he is”, “his intentions were right” “he has a good heart”. The church that’s covering says “that’s not the man we know”, “we cant believe that’s what happened, therefore it never happened.” All of it is sick and twisted and does not reflect God’s heart. You are exactly right that they do not value women, think they are objects to be used and abused and they are not sorry for what they have done.

  399. Ricco wrote:

    I was set up to think that way by the culture I was raised in, but I wish I had the courage to break out sooner. As of about a year ago, I have decided that I am done with this. My authority is Jesus Christ, and other christians can help me but they CANNOT dictate what I think or say or do.

    Excellent comment Ricco!

  400. The protection and advancement of celebrity pastors who have sinned continues to amaze me. Good Lord, how many times have we been here on TWW (Driscoll, Tullian, Patrick, etc., etc.) I wonder how the discussion went with Mr. Savage when he was being interviewed for his position at Highpoint. Perhaps it went something like this:

    HP Leaders: “Have you ever had a moral failure as a pastor?”
    Savage: “Yes”

    HP Leaders: “What did you do?”
    Savage: “%#@*#++”

    HP Leaders: “Wow! Did you apologize to the young girl and her family?”
    Savage: “Yes”

    HP Leaders: “Are you ever going to do that again?
    Savage: “No”

    HP Leaders: “OK, your hired.”
    Savage: “Thanks”

    I suppose it wasn’t this silly, but the substance of the matter is still the same. There are no … I repeat NO … pastors that good who need to continue to be promoted in church ranks who have failed their positions of trust in the Body of Christ. Having the charisma to draw a crowd … having the gift of gab … even possessing a good working knowledge of the Bible … matters not when there is moral failure. Forgive the fallen if they are repentant? Absolutely! Restore them to ministry? NO!

  401. BethA-F wrote:

    Guess I was the only parent who felt it was totally inappropriate for Andy to be Youth Pastor at the age of 20, thought he was 19, when my children (one a female) was just a year older than Jules, but he had been on for a few years. What did I know?

    Thank you for coming to share with us.

    I’ve seen similar situations at Christian college and seminary with too-young men getting pastoral positions when they were really not ready, just because they were male and available. One church I was in with a pastor just out of college went from 10 members to 400 in 6 months and they made some very poor choices about staff (angry, abusive music leader who was a very good musician but should never be leading anything). I graduated and left for the mission field, but I was relieved to go. They are now New Calvinist (big surprise), with the same pastor in charge.

    A lot of the people I knew at seminary were not fit to be pastors or leaders in the church (including some women, though there were few there). Unfortunately, charisma often supercedes character in the modern church world.

  402. Sandra wrote:

    Savage’s nonsense statement about only being a “staffer.”

    I take credit for that one as well! A “staffer” cannot commit clergy abuse. Only a clergy can. Brilliant!

  403. ishy wrote:

    Unfortunately, charisma often supercedes character in the modern church world.

    Sadly, that is the legacy being written on too many church signs by an unseen hand … right underneath “Ichabod.”

  404. First moment of the Highpoint church service: a song that starts out with the words “I Know I still Make Mistakes.”

    Oh dear.

  405. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    “Highpoint Church declined an interview Saturday night, but in a statement they said they were already aware of this incident and are 100 percent committed to Andy.”

    http://www.wmcactionnews5.com/story/37208415/its-very-hard-to-tell-your-story-woman-who-accused-memphis-pastor-of-sexual-assault-tells-her-story

    In my mind, being “100 percent committed to Andy” would involve removing him from ministry. We should expect this level of commitment from church leaders when pastors fail morally.

    The news link you provided said that Highpoint will be addressing this matter during their worship services today. Perhaps they will do the right thing, rather than preaching a sermon about David.

  406. David wrote:

    First moment of the Highpoint church service: a song that starts out with the words “I Know I still Make Mistakes.”

    Oh dear.

    Not a good omen.

  407. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    “Highpoint Church declined an interview Saturday night, but in a statement they said they were already aware of this incident and are 100 percent committed to Andy.”

    “committed to Andy” ……… not God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit, but to Andy.

  408. BethA-F wrote:

    Guess I was the only parent who felt it was totally inappropriate for Andy to be Youth Pastor at the age of 20,

    Thanks for chiming in Beth. It sounds like Andy became youth pastor after his freshman year of college. Do you know how old he was when he left your church?

  409. Quick recap:

    Conlee comes and tells everyone to hunker down, in so many words. Repeats their catch phrase “Love Works” before introducing Andy.

    Andy comes on to the stage and reads a statement from his phone. Mentions her by name, but still calls it an incident and sin. More contrite, but still doesn’t mention the assault charges.

    Conlee states that when you support Andy, you support Miss Woodsen. HUH?!?? Prayers for Jules, “touch her heart, heal her from this sin 20 years ago.” Also prayers for Andy and family. Prayers for church to be more committed to love God more and prove Love Works. They worked in the slogan “Love Works” into the prayer.

    Speaks directly to Jules and says “I’m sorry as well” and asks if he can help her. States that he doesn’t have to choose “a side.” Launches into how to appropriately criticize people. Repeated says that it’s from 20 years ago. Instead of taking Andy’s side, he says he is taking “God’s Side.” Talks about throwing stones at Andy. Talks about “never healing by hurting others.”

    Main sermon is about “throwing stones,” going into the 1st Corinthians about sexual immorality …. states that no one can say they’ve never done that. Defends Andy’s restoration. Again brings up the dates it happened. Brings up his track record of a successful pastor. Brings up Savage’s commitment to healthy families and dating relationships.

    You knew it was coming: Story of the woman caught in adultery. Oh, this is getting bad — states that Pharisees wanted the death penalty. Compares Andy to the woman caught, and how awful the accusers were. Pontificates Jesus is writing down the Pharisees’s sins. “He who is the first w/o sin.” Silence. He repeats it again and again louder.

    (I have to go to my own church! But, this should get people a gist of what they missed)

  410. A little more:

    “I am not judged my justice.” The only one qualified to condemn the woman is Jesus. You see where this is going. This thing is mostly about the “critics” while ignoring the ramifications of the assault. Talk of restoration, gentleness, then yells at the crowd “Stop being so opinionated!”

    Andy was the sinner 20 Years Ago (again!), he’s not minimizing his sin. Andy confessed, asked for forgiveness. Back to Andy’s dating and family sermons.

    They also want “Miss Woodsen” to be healed similarly. Repeat the motto “Perfect place for Imperfect People.” That means “He who is w/o sin.” Repeats motto again.

    Forgiveness can change how you remember the past.

    (Must Go)

  411. David wrote:

    states that no one can say they’ve never done that.

    Did he actually state that everyone commits sexual assault? Or was it something else he said everyone has done?

  412. Watching the live Sunday message from Chris Conlee…

    and I’m filled with rage for the continuing injustice being served up to Jules.

    Jules, you are a beautiful person and loved by God. HE sees the great evil that was done and continues to be done to you, and one day He will give you the justice and comfort that you deserve. Let these losers go on their way to perdition.

    Chris Conlee is so fake that he even hisses like a snake when he says “grace” (gray-sssssssssssssssssss).

    Chris Conlee: “Only God can take what He hates, and use it for what He loves”.

    What a load of unbiblical garbage. The harlot church on full display. Come out of her my people lest you share in her sins. Sorry everyone for the anger but I can’t help it.

  413. I listened to Pastor Savage’s confession and Pastor Conlee’s sermon just now (at least enough of it).

    I have no doubt that Andy is remorseful and repentant. He sincerely believes the process he has been through over the last 20 years justifies his restoration to ministry. I have mixed feelings about that.

    Pastor Conlee’s message about the woman caught in adultery essentially sends a not-so- subliminal message that “Watchblogs = Stones”. He made no mention that there are watchmen on the wall who serve an important role in the Body of Christ to inform and warn. Few who comment here are so cold-hearted that they would not forgive Andy of his sin. Restoration to pulpit ministry is another matter – there are other ways for the fallen to serve in the church. We’re not talking about the repentant/forgiven inheriting the Kingdom (that would be all of us who know Christ) … we’re simply concerned about enabling those who fail morally to continue in ministry, especially since the Body of Christ had little idea of their past failings. Did Highpoint members know that Andy was under discipline and a watchful eye during his early years there, as Pastor Conlee indicated? The question remains: “Is a church leader (be it pastor or staffer) who fails in such a way disqualified permanently from ministry?” There are no examples in Scripture of pastors who fail morally being restored to ministry.

    I know that “Love covers a multitude of sins” (Pastor Conlee quoted that verse) – I have personally experienced the love of Christ in that way. I know that we are known as Christians by our love for one another. My questions this morning: How should our love for Christ and one another handle the pulpit (not the pew) that fails? Are those who lead to be held at a higher standard? To what extent are they to be held accountable?

  414. @David gave a good summary. I tuned in at the very tail end of Andy’s “act of contrition” and listened to the sermon.

    I have to admit that I am amazed that Andy took the stage, and called his act a sin. Compared to others who tuck tail, run, and hide (CJ?), he earned brownie points from me. He showed up. Two points.

    But any admiration stops there.

    Conlee kept repeating that Andy sinned (but we all sin, dontchya know, folk), to condemn him would be to condemn ourselves. And anyhoo, it was 20 long years ago. And let’s make our main point around the adulterous women, thereby insinuating that it takes two to participate in Andy’s sin. And he threw in the fact that he has a 17 year old daughter, presumeably so he can make it appear that if he can forgive Andy for doing something to Jules at that same age, Jules (and everyone) should as well. And to punctuate the point that Andy’s by a visual with the throwing down of very large, jagged rocks, making loud thudding noises.

    And to top off the sermon he said, and I think I jotted this accurately, “We want Ms. Woodson to be healed in the exact same way as Andy.” [because he repented and moved on]

    i imagine the video will be available online. Jules, I highly recommend that you NOT listen to this. And if you must, don’t do it alone.

    Nothing was mentioned about crime or coercion. Or paying the secular consequences for the 20-year old “incident,”

  415. Highpoint worship leader/singer: “You are worthy, Andy!”

    So, so wrong.

    On a good note, the assembly seems very sober and quiet. It looks like the worship team is a bit unnerved, and having a difficult time getting people to sing, and there is very scant clapping.

    The people of Highpoint in general seem to have more humility and are ashamed for their leaders, when their leaders have no shame.

  416. I believe Jules.
    Something that is not being addressed in the church’s statements at all in the abuse of power in this situation. This is not an account of two mutually attracted young people who consensually went too far in an intimate physical relationship. This story is much more sinister than that. And eve if he were not her youth pastor, the way that he acted would be creepy: isolating her in a remote area, making demands, manipulating her.

  417. Remnant wrote:

    Nothing was mentioned about crime or coercion. Or paying the secular consequences for the 20-year old “incident,”

    Bingo! They talk about sin, sin, sin and forgiveness, restoration ….
    But, does anyone mention the fact that what Savage did was also a crime?

  418. I didn’t realize that there was an Andy confession part. Just saw the Chris message and music. But I don’t believe that a dog and pony show constitutes the correct way to handle this mess. Andy needs to step down.

  419. IMO, Andy did not and has not done what is needed for restoration to ministry – if someone was a known, confessed murderer who had not gone through the court system because the church had shielded him from having to face the consequences of his CRIME, would that person be “above reproach”? We say, “you do the crime, you do the time” for even such minor things as car theft. This was theft of someone’s innocence, murder of someone’s development, cold-blooded abuse of a child and is a CRIME (not a “mistake”, not an “error” – you can’t use those words unless you’re willing to excuse all other CRIMES as well). He was shielded by the church from having to face the consequences of his CRIME.

    Now, could he, should be be in ministry AFTER having appropriately gone through the court system? Depends on the state’s requirements – for this type of issue, no, he would be a registered sex offender and not eligible for, at least, ministry with any sort of minor or vulnerable population. A truly repentant person would understand that his victim(s) will live with what he did for life and he would self-disqualify for life – go find something else to bless the world with. King David’s punishment “the sword will never depart from your house” was also for life, so this is “biblical”.

    Coverup? Lying about apologizing? Leaving a young victim to take the blame? Running away from and participating in covering up a CRIME? If I wouldn’t accept him as a volunteer (and I wouldn’t), then why would I be willing to pay him to do the same kind of job?

  420. It is pretty clear that the goal here is to keep Andy in the pulpit and the money flowing in.
    Nothing to see here people, move along.

  421. Remnant wrote:

    a visual with the throwing down of very large, jagged rocks, making loud thudding noises

    I took this to be a reference which included watchblogs. Brings back memories of mega-church pastor Robert Morris’ rant calling blogs “Satan’s Hit List.”

  422. David wrote:

    Compares Andy to the woman caught,

    As if the woman caught was in a position of spiritual authority over men?

  423. Loren R Haas wrote:

    It is pretty clear that the goal here is to keep Andy in the pulpit and the money flowing in.
    Nothing to see here people, move along.

    Bingo. Church is voluntary. And those who remain and give money are now complicit in covering over his crime.

  424. Remnant wrote:

    @David gave a good summary. I tuned in at the very tail end of Andy’s “act of contrition” and listened to the sermon.

    I have to admit that I am amazed that Andy took the stage, and called his act a sin. Compared to others who tuck tail, run, and hide (CJ?), he earned brownie points from me. He showed up. Two points.

    But any admiration stops there.

    Conlee kept repeating that Andy sinned (but we all sin, dontchya know, folk), to condemn him would be to condemn ourselves. And anyhoo, it was 20 long years ago. And let’s make our main point around the adulterous women, thereby insinuating that it takes two to participate in Andy’s sin. And he threw in the fact that he has a 17 year old daughter, presumeably so he can make it appear that if he can forgive Andy for doing something to Jules at that same age, Jules (and everyone) should as well. And to punctuate the point that Andy’s by a visual with the throwing down of very large, jagged rocks, making loud thudding noises.

    And to top off the sermon he said, and I think I jotted this accurately, “We want Ms. Woodson to be healed in the exact same way as Andy.” [because he repented and moved on]

    i imagine the video will be available online. Jules, I highly recommend that you NOT listen to this. And if you must, don’t do it alone.

    Nothing was mentioned about crime or coercion. Or paying the secular consequences for the 20-year old “incident,”

    What you are seeing is the fruit of the “instant repentance” Doctrine with no consequences.

  425. @ David:
    Wow. They are good at twisting Jesus Christ. I have no doubt they gave the Pew sitters an “experience”. Sigh.

  426. David wrote:

    You knew it was coming: Story of the woman caught in adultery. Oh, this is getting bad — states that Pharisees wanted the death penalty. Compares Andy to the woman caught, and how awful the accusers were. Pontificates Jesus is writing down the Pharisees’s sins. “He who is the first w/o sin.” Silence. He repeats it again and again louder.

    David’s summary is good, but I wanted to call this out.

    I was livetweeting the sermon and this infuriated me. I pointed out to Highpoint, Chris Conlee and Andy Savage that Andy wasn’t the woman taken in adultery. No, Andy was the guy who was left behind in the bed when the woman was grabbed and hauled off to the circle. That’s because Andy has never dealt with his *crime* and Jules has been treated awfully throughout all of this.

    I will admit to being very insistent with my tweets, but I did not use my four-letter vocabulary. However, I suspect someone(s) reported me, because my Twitter is restricted for the next 12 hours. *shrug* I just went off and posted what I wanted to say to the Highpoint Memphis Facebook page.

    Also, I thought Conlee was trying to pressure Jules into forgiving Andy publicly so that this will blow over. How can this blow over when Andy hasn’t admitted he committed a crime?

  427. Remnant wrote:

    And to top off the sermon he said, and I think I jotted this accurately, “We want Ms. Woodson to be healed in the exact same way as Andy.” [because he repented and moved on]

    The the perp and the victim are equal. Moral equivalency.

  428. Song of Joy wrote:

    Sorry everyone for the anger but I can’t help it.

    Sometimes God allows His people to display anger and remain faithful. Stories of child abuse by the clergy should incense us. Reports about church leaders who sin should upset us, regardless of how old those incidents are. However, our actions should be redemptive, rather than just fuming. If the end of our rant is to help restore the victim, then it is righteous anger IMO. In my mind, the matter is settled regarding the victim on how I should respond. I debate within myself just how to handle the “abuser.” It was a woman who was caught in the act of adultery who Jesus used in his stone-throwing message … not a preacher being called to account for his moral failure. Being concerned about that – even to the point of anger – is not an act of throwing stones.

  429. Remnant wrote:

    And to top off the sermon he said, and I think I jotted this accurately, “We want Ms. Woodson to be healed in the exact same way as Andy.”

    They want her to be a famous pastor, author, and speaker?

  430. Daisy wrote:

    I blocked Chapmen Ed (after warning him a couple of times)

    Chappie’s a character ain’t he? Makes me think of Donald Trump, Gene Hackman (in the film Crimson Tide), and Franklin Graham all rolled into one.

  431. Ken, very good.

    Conlee makes Andy the better person because he has been “healed” from his self-inflicted, sin-inflicted wound. Poor little hurting Jules, just can’t measure up.

    Some might call Andy’s healing a hardening of the heart.

    You know, it’s crude, but I’d love to know what Andy and Conlee might preach if at a young tender age, and 17 is still young and tender, if they had been the teen in the truck expecting a nice surprise from a trusted pastor, only to find themselves on a dark dirt road, being “asked” to give oral sex to a penis. How would the measure “healed” from that trauma.

    Oh, reminds me – Conlee offered help to anyone hurting from this type of “sin.” I doubt they will be recommending professional counseling to those who might come knocking.

  432. David wrote:

    You knew it was coming: Story of the woman caught in adultery. Oh, this is getting bad — states that Pharisees wanted the death penalty. Compares Andy to the woman caught, and how awful the accusers were.

    In all my reading on abuse/narcissism (which is a lot) I have learned that abusers/narcissists are adept at turning the tables on their victims by accusing them of doing the very thing they are doing themselves. They anticipate what the accusation will be… that they are Pharisees who are throwing stones at Jules… and they quickly turn it around and say that Jules and her defenders are the Pharisees throwing stones at Andy. They twist is around so that they’ll look good and she’ll look bad. The only way to handle that type of twisting is to hold tight to TRUTH… what really happened? Who was the adult pastor who took advantage of a troubled teen? Who remained unrepentant until “caught” and even right went on to teach a class on sexual purity? Who didn’t display humility or truthfulness and instead allowed his victim to take the blame? Who didn’t make it right with her in 20 years and didn’t answer her recent email?

    I seem to remember that this same ploy was used by Marie’s church… saying the church members were throwing stones, not at her, but at her poor suffering abuser husband. It’s a good thing God doesn’t get confused and can sort out TRUTH.

  433. I’m awaiting moderation, probably because I used the p-word for male anatomy.

    But I didn’t want to miss the chance to say that Conlee makes Andy the better person because he has been”healed” from his self- and sin-inflicted wound. Pity poor Jules who isn’t so righteous. They would love to offer her help getting there.

  434. That was professional-level damage control. Emphasize words like healing, forgiveness, twenty years ago… Shame people for throwing stones, criticizing… Skip words like crime, legal, assault, minor… Defend the organization.

  435. Max wrote:

    I listened to Pastor Savage’s confession and Pastor Conlee’s sermon just now (at least enough of it).

    Conmen should never be given the benefit of the titles they claim. These two people are not real pastors. They are fake. They do not represent God in any way. They are liars.

    Proverbs 6:16-17
    These six things doth Jehovah hate, yea, seven are an abomination unto him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood;

  436. elastigirl wrote:

    and….. what exactly is glory? what’s your best guess? shining rays of light?

    no one knows what it means. it is so silly for people to pretend they do, and feign deep understanding. the concept belies such a thing.

    To me glory is a feeling. Like the exclamations people made long ago, ‘glory be!’, when they were moved beyond the usual by an event or circumstances.

    The closest I’ve skirted to it was down the Baja Peninsula, where my old flip-phone said ‘no service’ and the star fields at night were so dense it was hard to pick out the big and little bears.

    And yeah, when you (generic you) strive for some ‘deep understanding’ by way of some Hellenistic repertoire, you miss the whole point.

  437. Conlee is beating the drum that Ms. Conlee needs healing.

    How arrogant!

    Maybe she doesn’t want or need healing.

    Maybe what she wants is to be heard.
    To have a voice.
    To matter.
    To tell her story without the shame placed on her when she was a girl.
    To tell her truth,
    To receive justice.
    To warn others.

    This is her story. She gets to say what she wants.

  438. I am listening to the Highpoint Church sermon by Chris Conlee and he is using the example of the women caught in adultury. A very strategic choice of all the possible examples and is talking about people casting stones. It is all about Andy and Chris and forgiveness with the crowd clapping in agreement. It is disheartening because his sermon is manipulative but very convincing. No mention of a cover-up and an illegal act. Now, he declares, after being caught, only now does he want Jules to be healed and now he wants to reach out to her after 20 years. Unfortunately, there are things that disqualify from ministry and one is not being able to work with youth because of the type of crime committed. He keeps on about mercy of grace without talking about disqualification or talking with authorities about steps of civil concern. This is why the Scriptures talk about not many seeking leadership as that person has a different level of accountability. Conlee also talks of Andy being like the adulterous women. Very good PR and damage control. I do not know these men and am only reporting on what is being said. He is being selective with his information and couching everything in Christianese-I am embarrassed-the world is watching. I fully believe in Truth and Grace-without it we are all in trouble. My hope is that behind doors they are cooperating with the civil authorities and doing everything in their power to provide monetary compensation or future compensation for the expensive medical costs that poor Jules has incurred over the years. Jules-May God Bless you and keep you. Thank you for your courage.

  439. David wrote:

    You knew it was coming: Story of the woman caught in adultery. Oh, this is getting bad — states that Pharisees wanted the death penalty.

    These guys missed the point of that story. The Pharisees brought the woman to Jesus to test him so that they could have an excuse to accuse him. They apparently did not actually have authority to stone anyone (which is why they had to turn Jesus over to the Romans instead of killing him themselves). They were not actually planning to stone the woman. Rather, they were trying to put Jesus in a no-win situation: say no to the stoning and they would accuse him of breaking Jewish law, say yes and they would accuse him of breaking Roman law. It was the perfect set up. The woman was merely a pawn.

    If the watchbloggers are using Savage in place of the woman, I suppose it is as a test of the church leadership. But it is not a no-win test for that church and Savage is not merely a pawn. It is a terrible comparison in every way.

  440. Max wrote:

    The news link you provided said that Highpoint will be addressing this matter during their worship services today. Perhaps they will do the right thing, rather than preaching a sermon about David.

    They did the next best thing-the women caught in adultery. Is this a subtle slight against the victim?

  441. Lydia wrote:

    Remnant wrote:

    And to top off the sermon he said, and I think I jotted this accurately, “We want Ms. Woodson to be healed in the exact same way as Andy.” [because he repented and moved on]

    The the perp and the victim are equal. Moral equivalency.

    In short, the message to Jules: Get over it already.

    (She sinned by being sinned against?)

  442. BTW…we can assume that Conlee and Highpoint being “100% behind” Savage in this matter means they will also be hiring lawyers for Savage at the church’s (read: congregants’) expense.

    One can also be sure they will be (and, most likely, probably already have been) retaining a PR firm to spin lies (such as the “admission” statement posted on their site). This is what Fellowship Memphis and John Bryson did to hide their cover-up of their worship leader, Rick Trotter (at the time of the offense, the brother-in-law of co-pastor Bryan Loritts and son-in-law of national Christian radio host, Crawford Loritts) who had been taking clandestine and wicked videos of unsuspecting women (including minors) in the church bathroom and elsewhere.

    Fellowship hired the incompetent firm, Caissa (who according to it’s founder, Brian Stephens, likes to “operate in the shadows”—just like Jesus did, right, churches?). Caissa, a Memphis PR/investigator firm was hired at significant retainer to squelch the story and harass the victims. By not advising the church to do the right thing, acknowledge wrongdoing and stand by the victims, Caissa ensured that the matter would be escalated–idiots! But… they got paid (again, with the unknowing congregation’s money), and the power structure (Pastor John Bryson, Hamp Holcomb, et al) stayed in place, so I guess in some sense they earned their keep–depends on who you think needed to be protected, I suppose.

    Make sure you don’t give a dime of your money to these creeps in the churches, Christians! If you have, demand a full accounting of where the church has spent your dollars that you gave ostensibly to God.

    Unfortunately, as Boz Tchividjian (fmr child abuse prosecutor, founder of Godly Response to Abuse in the Church Environment, and– for those poor sheep impressed most by ministry fame or proximity to it–the grandson of Billy Graham) has noted, he has NEVER seen a church stand on the side of the victim.

    Fellowship Memphis spent deep into six figures to cover up the Rick Trotter video voyeur mess. They paid massive attorney’s fees–including to an attorney who told them to throw the evidence in the Mississippi River, lots of cash to the Trotter family (which was, in turn, used for a boob job for the complicit wife, Heather Loritts Trotter), PR/Investigative firm costs, expensive private residential counseling for Trotter (which was not offered to the victims and for which elder, Hamp Holcomb, admitted was for show and had no chance of being effective—on this, he was right, as Trotter took clandestine voyeuristic videos at the next Memphis church, Downtown Church, to which Fellowship tried to quietly pass him along).

    It is time these guys use their own money for legal and reputation defense of the indefensible. Andy Savage lives in a very large home in an area that (even out in the country) has average home prices more than 7 TIMES the median value of Memphis homes! John Bryson, the pastor at Fellowship Memphis, lives in a home (complete a lavish pool and guest house) whose previous resident was literally a Memphis billionaire family! These reprobates need to quit stealing money from the church to finance their cover-ups themselves!! And, BTW, how have we let ministry become a path to wealth?

    Of course, if their finances are examined, they and their partners in the Christian Crime Syndicate will simply use their satellite and affiliate ministries to pay for the wickedness. In Memphis, Downline Ministries, has a great number of the local ministry scoundrels suckling at the public teat (Bryson and Savage are both affiliated). Downline is a “discipleship ministry” that charges people to be taught Bible and also collects donations from people like the aforementioned billionaire family and other, less-well-off suckers. In turn, they operate as a money-laundering outfit for their ministry buddies. Downline was instrumental in bringing Pete Newman (convicted as “the most prolific child molester in Missouri history” for his covered-up misdeeds at Kanakuk Kamps) to Memphis while OUT ON BAIL and got him hired to do ministry work. When Rick Trotter quietly lost his job for video voyeurism at Fellowship (the first time he got caught) Downline and its leader, Kennon Vaughan (also pastor at Harvest Memphis), provided a ministry-owned house for the Trotters to reside; do the donors to this corrupt organization know what their money is being used for? Kennon, true to form in the personal enrichment of the modern church, live in a nearly 6,000 SF house on more than 2 acres in one of the most exclusive areas in Memphis–can he not house perverts at his own house/expense if he truly feels called to provide for them?

    Stay strong, Jules! These guys have financial empires to protect and will stop at nothing to protect their lifestyles.

    It is time we understand that these pastors have disdain for us. They profit wildly at our expense. Cut off the money flow, demand a full accounting and accountability. Sue them for fraud when they misuse the money for personal gain/protection. Make them pay for their own cover-up expenses. Don’t give one more dime to these corrupt folks and call out those who do. It is beyond time for change!

  443. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    David wrote:

    You knew it was coming: Story of the woman caught in adultery. Oh, this is getting bad — states that Pharisees wanted the death penalty.

    These guys missed the point of that story. The Pharisees brought the woman to Jesus to test him so that they could have an excuse to accuse him. They apparently did not actually have authority to stone anyone (which is why they had to turn Jesus over to the Romans instead of killing him themselves). They were not actually planning to stone the woman. Rather, they were trying to put Jesus in a no-win situation: say no to the stoning and they would accuse him of breaking Jewish law, say yes and they would accuse him of breaking Roman law. It was the perfect set up. The woman was merely a pawn.

    If the watchbloggers are using Savage in place of the woman, I suppose it is as a test of the church leadership. But it is not a no-win test for that church and Savage is not merely a pawn. It is a terrible comparison in every way.

    Not to mention, adultery is general thought of as a consensual act. So the analogy fails at that most basic level as well.

  444. Lydia wrote:

    Church is voluntary. And those who remain and give money are now complicit in covering over his crime.

    Church is voluntary, anyone can vote with their feet or their wallet. So after this disclosure about Andy, why do people continue to give money and purchase books? Answer: Either they don’t care or they have forgiven.

  445. But for all that, would his congregation believe him? If they jeered when he faced them, he would be ruined, he would still lose the Yorkville pastorate and the Napap. Thus he fretted in the quarter-hour before morning service, pacing his study and noting through the window -for once, without satisfaction -that hundreds on hundreds were trying to get into the crammed auditorium.

    His study was so quiet. How he missed Hettie’s presence!

    He knelt. He did not so much pray as yearn inarticulately. But this came out clearly: “I’ve learned my lesson. I’ll never look at a girl again. I’m going to be the head of all the moral agencies in the country -nothing can stop me, now I’ve got the Napap! -but I’m going to be all the things I want other folks to be! Never again!”

    He stood at his study door, watching the robed choir filing out to the auditorium chanting. He realized how he had come to love the details of his church; how, if his people betrayed him now, he would miss it: the choir, the pulpit, the singing, the adoring faces.
    It had come. He could not put it off. He had to face them. Feebly the Reverend Dr. Gantry wavered through the door to the auditorium and exposed himself to twenty-five hundred question marks. They rose and cheered -cheered -cheered. Theirs were the shining faces of friends.

    Without planning it, Elmer knelt on the platform, holding his hands out to them, sobbing, and with him they all knelt and sobbed and prayed, while outside the locked glass door of the church, seeing the mob kneel within, hundreds knelt on the steps of the church, on the sidewalk, all down the block.

    “Oh, my friends!” cried Elmer, “do you believe in my innocence, in the fiendishness of my accusers? Reassure me with a hallelujah!”

    The church thundered with the triumphant hallelujah, and in a sacred silence Elmer prayed:

    “O Lord, thou hast stooped from thy mighty throne and rescued thy servant from the assault of the mercenaries of Satan! Mostly we thank thee because thus we can go on doing thy work, and thine alone! Not less but more zealously shall we seek utter purity and the prayer-life, and rejoice in freedom from all temptations!”

    He turned to include the choir, and for the first time he saw that there was a new singer, a girl with charming ankles and lively eyes, with whom he would certainly have to become well acquainted. But the thought was so swift that it did not interrupt the paean of his prayer:

    “Let me count this day, Lord, as the beginning of a new and more vigorous life, as the beginning of a crusade for complete morality and the domination of the Christian church through all the land. Dear Lord, thy work is but begun! We shall yet make these United States a moral nation!”

    “Elmer Gantry” by Sinclair Lewis

  446. 3 “victim blaming/Savage was young and didn’t do anything wrong except have sex” comments not approved.

    All such detractors-note that only 5 commenters nave not been approved.by this blog- are in the minority. The ones making these comments need to understand that they are in the minority. They need to read up on what constitutes sin and obeying the law. You dear pastor hid this from the POLICE!

    ALL of my comments have been deleted by HighPoint Memphis. But you have the audacity to fuss over here? Your boy molested someone and he admits it.

  447. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    Remnant wrote:
    And to top off the sermon he said, and I think I jotted this accurately, “We want Ms. Woodson to be healed in the exact same way as Andy.”
    They want her to be a famous pastor, author, and speaker?

    “healed in the exact same way as Andy” –
    Ha! Andy wasn’t the one who was wounded. He was the one who inflicted the wound!

    As far as Jukes being a famous pastor, author, and speaker ……….. that might not be a bad idea!

  448. Max wrote:

    Pastor Conlee’s message about the woman caught in adultery essentially sends a not-so- subliminal message that “Watchblogs = Stones”. He made no mention that there are watchmen on the wall who serve an important role in the Body of Christ to inform and warn.

    Max,

    That’s exactly what happened. I’m watching the full service recording right now. This is Sin Leveling 101. Chris Conlee’s sermon keeps emphasizing that we are all just as bad sinners so we shouldn’t be pharisees who want to throw stones when the only one “qualified” refused.

    Here’s some Chris Conlee quotes (Trigger warning—Jules don’t read this):

    “It saddens us that Miss Woodson has not been on the same road to healing.” (That’s trying to control what emotions Jules is allowed to feel and how she responds)

    (Note: Chris keeps referring to Andy by his first name and Jules by her last name. Is that a subtle way of making us feel connected to Andy but distant from Jules?)

    “How do we restore people from the choices of the past? From the consequences of the past?”

    “Will you please stop being so opinionated? Your opinions have never won anyone to Christ! Your love wins people to Christ.” (Thought Control 101).

    “What is the alternative? Does anyone want to attend a place for criticism? Does anyone want to attend a place for condemnation?” (Is that a subtle slam of TWW?)

    “Forgiveness changes whether you remember the past from a place of hurting or place of healing. Forgiveness is not about justice but grace.” (Again this is trying to control what feelings Jules has and make her feel guilty for not “healing”—meaning not responding the way that they want her to.)

  449. Remnant wrote:

    I’m awaiting moderation, probably because I used the p-word for male anatomy.

    Whaaaat!! Ohhhhhh mercy me!!! for shame, for shame. NO SOUP FOR YOU !

  450. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes wrote:

    I was livetweeting the sermon and this infuriated me. I pointed out to Highpoint, Chris Conlee and Andy Savage that Andy wasn’t the woman taken in adultery. No, Andy was the guy who was left behind in the bed when the woman was grabbed and hauled off to the circle. That’s because Andy has never dealt with his *crime* and Jules has been treated awfully throughout all of this.

    Very good point.

  451. @ Remnant:

    “Conlee is beating the drum that Ms. Conlee needs healing.

    How arrogant!

    Maybe she doesn’t want or need healing.

    Maybe what she wants is to be heard.

    This is her story. She gets to say what she wants.”
    ++++++++++++++++++

    healing….. the image that comes to mind here is mangled flesh healed so the skin is taught over the deformed mangled bit.

    healing with scars to remind her of hypocrisy wins, cover-up wins, duplicitous pastor wins? what’s desirable let alone godly and holy about that?!

    this earns the golden “ridiculous”.

  452. So Highpoint Church believes that someone who just admitted to sexual assault is perfectly qualified to pastor their flock but all women ever born are totally disqualified from pastoring because God made them with different parts?

  453. Lance wrote:

    talking about people casting stones … his sermon is manipulative

    New Calvinists are masters at control, manipulation and intimidation. To distract the listeners from the matter at hand – to change the focus from me to you – they drag out the rock story.

  454. 1 John 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

    1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

    confess (gk. ὁμολογέω) means to say the same thing ….

    Has Andy said the same thing about his actions that God does? If he describes his action in milder terms that God’s word does, he has not confessed in the biblical sense of the terms and claiming he is forgiven is not a biblical assessment.

  455. These guys all want a cheap grace–forgiveness without consequence. It is not biblical. They don’t at all understand repentance (though they claim to be qualified to teach about it).

    When David sinned with Bathsheba, he lost his child, and the sword never left the house of Israel. Consequences.

    The word “repentance” is actually from the old French “penitence”–which is, not coincidentally, the root of our word “penitentiary.”

  456. Remember what Taylor Swift told Kim K?

    “You don’t get to control my emotional response.” Or something along that line.

  457. Ken G wrote:

    Lydia wrote:

    Church is voluntary. And those who remain and give money are now complicit in covering over his crime.

    Church is voluntary, anyone can vote with their feet or their wallet. So after this disclosure about Andy, why do people continue to give money and purchase books? Answer: Either they don’t care or they have forgiven.

    Sorry Buddy, but forgiveness and consequences of a crime are not the same. If you note, he is playing down youth “pastor” to now staff member. There is a legal reason.

  458. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    Remnant wrote:

    And to top off the sermon he said, and I think I jotted this accurately, “We want Ms. Woodson to be healed in the exact same way as Andy.”

    They want her to be a famous pastor, author, and speaker?

    Exactly.

  459. GSD [Getting Stuff Done] wrote:

    That was professional-level damage control. Emphasize words like healing, forgiveness, twenty years ago… Shame people for throwing stones, criticizing… Skip words like crime, legal, assault, minor… Defend the organization.

    As “J” said up thread. They give the sheep an “experience”.

  460. AbuseCrusher wrote:

    When David sinned with Bathsheba, he lost his child, and the sword never left the house of Israel. Consequences.

    He also repented in a very public way, he did not blame Bathsheba for his sin, and he did not leave Bathsheba to fend for herself. Once the deed was done there was no way to undo it, but David did do quite a lot to take care of Bathsheeba after the fact. This in no way excuses David’s sin, but it does show that his response was very different from this case.

  461. The frequently untaught lesson of Jesus on the cross and forgiveness is that Christ’s forgiveness and imputed righteousness applied to salvation and a place in Heaven, not to the elimination of consequences on this earth.

    When the thief on the cross accepted Christ as Lord, JC said “Today you shall be with me in Paradise.” Notice that he did not say, “You are forgiven of your crimes on this earth and I, using my divine power, will remove the nails from your hands and feet, and let you jump down from your cross with no consequence and part the crowd so you can have a clear path back to life as you knew it. Have fun.” Nope. The thief died his horrible death and gloriously joined the Father in Heaven.

    Our pastors teach about living lives focused on Heaven, while they stay mostly concerned about the comfort of their lives here in this world. Apparently, they don’t teach much about the life of Paul in the seminaries these days.

  462. David didn’t repent until he was confronted in a very public way by the prophet Nathan.

    Oops wait——according to Chris Conlee’s sermon today, the prophet Nathan must have been throwing stones instead of “taking God’s side.”

  463. @ Mary27:

    This! It is textbook, happens almost, if not every single time. In any situation with narcissism (person or system), from a mere disagreement or small conflict to serious mistreatment, to the extremes of the very worst kind of abuse, which is what has happened here to Jules.

    Scapegoating, projection, sleight of hand, etc.

    I can’t put into words how evil it is, especially in cases of abuse and sexual assault. The abuse that happens to someone is evil enough, but instead of the blame and weight of sin and wrongdoing being placed on the abuser, it is then placed on the victim.

    The victim is asked or forced (in the spoken or unspoken) to play out the role that the abuser should be taking on in the aftermath. The roles get switched. The abuser gets treated like the victim, and the victim has all the sin placed on them and is cast out and away into the wilderness (whatever that may symbolize or look like, depending on the environment and situation).

    The victim has to take on the path of repentance, carry the weight of the actions, pay or give social restitution to the abuser. Anything they the victim should be receiving from the community, it goes to the abuser. She/he has to provide for themselves what they, the victim, should be receiving from others. The victim can’t do that, so in its place where provision should be – they experience and suffer from extreme lack.

    It then becomes another trauma on top of the original trauma. And those two traumas then meld together as its own separate trauma, so you have three confusing and disillusioning traumas all interplaying in the victim’s psyche, in their soul, their body and heart.

    Jules is both victim *and* the scapegoat in this situation. She was already living as scapegoat for 20 years, on top of the original abuse.

    I hope all this pain and isolation ends for her, as soon as possible.

  464. One of the worst things Chris Conlee said today is that you are supporting Miss Woodson by supporting Andy.

    Grrrrrrrr….

    That’s like saying you are supporting Harvey Weinstein’s victims by supporting Weinstein himself.

  465. @ elastigirl:
    You are right that glory is a super nebulous term. People like John Piper say that we only exist to bring God glory. I think they mean something like fame or renown with this. I think this is a really warped way to look at God and your life.

    I have 2 favorite definitions of glory. Baxter Kruger says glory is something being exactly what or who it is. God’s glory then is as Creator and is found in the relationship of the Trinity. Relationship is who God is at his core, therefore that is His Glory.

    The other is a quote from St. Irenaeus. “The Glory of God is man fully alive.” Once again, this speaks to God’s essence as Creator. Seeing us be all we were created to be reveals God’s glory. Our true self reveals the true self of the Creator who made us.

    None of the Christianese definitions of glory work for me anymore. But these two really help.

  466. To Jules:
    Thank you for your courage. You are believed and supported.

    To Dee, Deb, and Amy:
    Thank you for your courage in coordinating and sharing.

    To Andy Savage:
    My first clue in understanding you are clueless about sex (or marriage) are your recent tweets. I am a career woman aging on the high side of the Baby Boomer years. I have adult daughters and granddaughters. I am a long-time Christian. Your first tweet about Matt Lauer, and those that followed, indicated you (and likely most of your “male only” church leadership tribe) do NOT understand that the trauma and crime of sexual harassment and assault is about abusive POWER and CONTROL over another. You (and your tribe) will do more to lessen future sexual TRAUMAS and CRIMES by dealing with these underlying behaviors of power and control. That and stopping your distortion of submission, silence and forgiveness. Your impact would then be greater than anything you publish, preach, or tweet—like your “sex on our own terms not working” or “honoring God with sex” or “God invented sex.” But for you to actually deal with issues of POWER and CONTROL you, and the complicit others, will first need to lay them down at the feet of those you have abused, and those who serve their justice!

  467. Todd Wilhelm wrote:

    They rose and cheered -cheered -cheered. Theirs were the shining faces of friends. …
    “Elmer Gantry” by Sinclair Lewis

    Good example Todd, life imitates fiction. A problem is when some think this only applies to “religion”, that it somehow doesn’t apply to their group. It seems to be part of the human tribal condition. On the flip side I wonder if the types that run Highpoint don’t hang out with their counterparts, the supposed godless Harvey Weinsteins, and look down on the rubes that slavishly follow either side.

  468. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    AbuseCrusher wrote:

    When David sinned with Bathsheba, he lost his child, and the sword never left the house of Israel. Consequences.

    He also repented in a very public way, he did not blame Bathsheba for his sin, and he did not leave Bathsheba to fend for herself. Once the deed was done there was no way to undo it, but David did do quite a lot to take care of Bathsheeba after the fact. This in no way excuses David’s sin, but it does show that his response was very different from this case.

    Yep. These church guys’ first response is to lawyer up and get sleazy PR firms and surrogates to smear and silence the victims, while distorting the truth.

    Interestingly, the sleazy PR firm of choice for these wayward church orgs in Memphis seams to be Caissa Public Strategy. The irony is that Caissa founder, Brian Stephens, formerly had a staff made up almost entirely of young girls doing his bidding and is being investigated by a local reporter for sexual harassment claims. Disgusting!

    The further irony is that it was relayed to me that Stevens was asked to comment on the harassment allegations and supposedly replied, “No comment,” before hanging up the phone. The title of the book Stevens wrote on PR? “Only Morons Say ‘No Comment'”–immoral moron!!

    Gotta believe amidst the moral rubbish, here, God shows us his sense of humor to provide hope in trying times. Whether it is Caissa’s Stevens ironically saying “no comment”, Savage’s putting an ice cream cone on his book cover, or Downtown Church’s Richard Rieves of Memphis, who hired known video pervert voyeur Rick Trotter and kept his misdeeds secret from the congregation (only to have his own daughter unfortunately, be ensnared–as seen in public record—by Trotter’s continued illicit filming of women at Rieves’ church), God seems to beat these moral incompetents with their own sticks. Reminds me of the fearsome defensive end of the Raiders, Lyle Alzado, who once sacked the quarterback, then ripped the exposed player’s helmet off and beat the quarterback with his own instrument of protection.

    Wouldn’t want to be these fools when they one day face accounting before the Holy of Holies!

  469. Ken G wrote:

    Answer: Either they don’t care or they have forgiven

    It is not true repentance and forgiveness when you’re not told the truth about the actions from all involved. The entire thing is simply a CYA to stay in power. It’s very deceptive and a continuation of evil against people. It is NOT forgiveness.

  470. @ AbuseCrusher:
    This is a good comment. It seems like pastors would rather talk about things that only hurt you that they consider sins. Lifestyle choices are another thing they love to talk about as sin. They either neglect things that hurt others or they equate lifestyles choices with things that hurt others.

    I’m still trying to figure out what I believe about all of this, but it seems like we know for sure that sin is something that hurts someone else. The lifestyle things that don’t hurt others should fall under judge not.

    Also, I had never heard the term sin-leveling until reading this blog. I think it is a true concept, and I’d love to hear a thorough explanation. Does anyone have any resources? Maybe that would be a good future article. It’s not like the Deebs are busy or anything…

    In all seriousness, this blog is amazing. Thank you Dee and Deb, now more than ever.

  471. @ Avid Reader:
    Arggg! He is mangling grace, forgiveness and justice. Probably believes in PSA instead of New Life and overcoming evil. What a sick world he is advocating if you stop and take his teaching to its logical conclusion. Substitute murderer or pedophile for sexual abuser as youth pastor. Truth is, they don’t think it’s a big deal.

  472. He certainly did know the location. Does anybody think this was the FIRST time he’d been to that location?

  473. If this had been addressed when it should have everyone concerned would have been SO much better off. It is true that one reaps what one sows but it is also true the later you reap the bigger the harvest. This one has racked up a lot of interest-pun intended and metaphor mixed.

  474. @ Ricco:
    I hear ya. I gave up on the “sin” position. In my experience, Everything or nothing is sin depending on who you are in many quarters. Or, it’s ‘you are born sinning and your very existence is sin’. Throw in cheapo grace and it’s been a disaster.

    Now I lean toward what I see as the Creation intention which is good or evil —as in missing the mark of God’s intention for us from the start. Jesus Christ was about making that new as in conquering death. A rule of thumb for me is whether we harm others or not. And that includes a whole host of things from deceiving and using people to actually physically harming them. Other than taking full responsibility for ourselves,, we can surely chill out more. 🙂

  475. I’ve been following this whole story and have been saddened and disgusted by it, but I’m especially disgusted by the Highpoint statement/”confession.” The way that Conlee and Savage exploited Jules and this incident was despicable–implying they were on her side to make themselves look magnanimous, making empty offers of “help” and support that they knew no victim would ever accept, subtly changing the details and framing of the story, making Andy Savage and Jules seem like equals in the situation. Common decency would prevent people from doing many of these things *even if* one didn’t believe an assault had occurred, but unfortunately it seems these men were blinded by ambition. If they truly cared about the victim, they would have checked in with her on their planned statement first, but it seems clear that they don’t care. It must be incredibly traumatizing to read that statement and to have no control over how you are depicted and spoken about–even how your name is used. I’m so, so sorry you had to go through this, Jules.

    Jules, I believe you, and I know that going public was an act of courage and self-sacrifice. Stay strong.

  476. Lydia wrote:

    If you note, he is playing down youth “pastor” to now staff member. There is a legal reason.

    It looks like he is also playing up that he was a “college student”, which is all about evening the playing field and removing his pastoral responsibility.

  477. dee wrote:

    They need to read up on what constitutes sin and obeying the law. You dear pastor hid this from the POLICE!

    The problem is that the people are listening to their pastor and NOT thinking for themselves. It is a major problem in the church today. Congregants believing their pastors and not discerning between good and evil for themselves.

  478. Lydia wrote:

    Truth is, they don’t think it’s a big deal.

    That is true. And mostly for 2 reasons…

    1. They are guilty of it, themselves. Been around these guys up close and personal for a long time. They like to act as if this type of sin is completely universal & no big deal, because it absolves them from personal guilt. When speaking with a friend of mine still in ministry (and who has family members in ministry, as well) about these issues. I mentioned that I thought 25% of all people in the ministry were hiding real perverted sexual sickness and deeds; he said that I was vastly underestimating.

    2. Admitting it is a big deal requires them to call out their peers in ministry in order to have integrity. This jeopardizes their ministry jobs and curtails opportunities for additional income/vacations through gold-ole-boy networking for paid side-preaching gigs. Follow the money.

    The easier path (and path to profits) is to act as if it is “no big deal.” Notice that despite the vast prevalence of these sorts of activities in ministry (just read Wartburg Watch, WatchKeep, or Wondering Eagle for a week), there are NO (ZERO!) “major” Christian pastoral figures calling out their brethren for this wickedness. That kind of unanimity is unheard of in any profession! It is truly wicked.

  479. Jules, if you’re still reading, I’m sorry. I’m sorry that this kind of bull exists in the world and I’m even more sorry that it exists in the church, a supposedly “more moral, more upright, safer place” with the supposed imprimatur of God Godself. I’m sorry that the leaders of this non-profit organization effed up so badly 20 years ago. I’m sorry, for your sake, that they’re messing their bed so badly this time as well, denying justice for the sake of cheap so-called “forgiveness”, denying that their boy is one of those the Jesus would have suggested the millstone for. Justice is needed and they’re denying justice to one of God’s little ones, to you. He has not “repented” – repentance means turning away and DOING what it takes to change, to make restitution. In his case, repentance would mean telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth TO THE COPS and taking his medicine like a man. Until that happens, no, he has not repented and no, he should not reap rewards.

    Jules, I hope there are many around you who can weep and rage with you for the treatment the church has given to you, and pray (if you believe anymore) for the fall of these who call on the name of the Lord while refusing justice to the injured. And no, anger is not a problem – it is a legitimate reaction to those who pervert justice and grind the faces of the underdog and the “sun should not go down” (the anger should not be quenched) until justice is served.