Todd Wilhelm Reports on Day 4 of the Tom Chantry Trial

“For every wound there is a scar. And every scar tells a story. A story that says: I survived.” link

Todd Wilhelm

Photo by Todd Wilhelm

I think TWW readers will find this report particularly interesting. It appears that Tom Chantry’s attorney was not happy with Todd’s presence and reporting on the trial. He appeared to attempt to portray Chantry as a potential victim of serious harm by those on social media. That is merely my impression which, if correct, makes me quite irritated since I was truly the victim of Tom Chantry defenders. Here and here.

Thankfully, the judge reconsidered his initial ruling and vacated his judgement. (I am not learned in court room terminology so all of you legal beagles better not be laughing at me!)  🙂

Here is a excerpt from Day Four of the Tom Chantry Trial by Todd Wilhelm who is becoming quite the court reporter! Warning: Graphic material.

During Christmas vacation Victim 2’s parents were taking a trip to Phoenix. Chantry volunteered to babysit Victim 2 at his house so the parents would not have to rush home that night. There was a tutoring class scheduled for the next morning, so it worked well to have Victim 2 spend the night at the parsonage, alone with Tom.

Chantry had obviously been planning this sleep over for some time. It seems Tom did a little woodworking on the side because shortly after Victim 2 arrived at the parsonage he unveiled a new, custom-made paddle he had crafted. It had a custom fitted handle and was nicely varnished. Victim 2 said Tom was quite proud of it.

Tom then instructed Victim 2 in a little church history. He told him that the church used to have monks. The senior monks had younger monks under them and they would punish them for sins that they had not found out about. Tom was now going to do the same to Victim 2. He instructed him to pull his pants down because he “wanted to see his butt turn red.” After the spanking he was, as usual, forced to sit on Tom’s lap while, for the first time, Tom rubbed his butt and then fondled his genitals skin to skin.

I could relate more of the horrors victim 2 was forced to endure, but I think this is sufficient to convince you that Victim 2’s description of Chantry of being a sick, twisted monster” is accurate.

Victim 2 told repeatedly told his parents of the spankings. Their response was that he must have done something to deserve it, and he needed to study harder. They also told him he was fortunate to be able to be tutored by the pastor. He never told his parents of the sexual molestation because he felt he would not be believed,  was ashamed and felt that somehow it was his fault.


Comments

Todd Wilhelm Reports on Day 4 of the Tom Chantry Trial — 59 Comments

  1. From Dee’s post, Todd Wilhelm’s notes: “He never told his parents of the sexual molestation because he felt he would not be believed, was ashamed and felt that somehow it was his fault.”

    This is extremely disturbing. Preyed upon and silenced, in the name of God. Evil to the core.

    Society – church – pastor – parents – kid.

    Society (sanctioning) – church (enabling) – pastor (predatory) – parents (trusting) – kid (violated, silenced).

    Honestly, this is a difficult ride to be on, in the courtroom during this case, but what happened with these children must be accounted for, and the church must be radically changed. What the children went through was the real horror.

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  2. For those who drop in periodically to take TWW to task, claiming Jesus asks us to forgive, I’d point out Jesus’ comment about this type of crime involves a millstone and a large body of water.

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  3. Thersites: For those who drop in periodically to take TWW to task, claiming Jesus asks us to forgive, I’d point out Jesus’ comment about this type of crime involves a millstone and a large body of water.

    And also the fact that Jesus did not release the repentant criminal from the cross.

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  4. Bridget,

    I would venture to say as a sexual assault survivor of my husband who went on to be an elder, that it is typical for the abuse target to not be believed by the church. Look at the Willow Creek 9, Jules Woodson and so many others. Some believe but most remain skeptical at best or unbelieving at worst. Then the support goes to the “falsely accused.” Even if admission is made, the focus is on restoration of the offender. Please correct me if I am wrong about this.

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  5. Ken F (aka Tweed): Jesus did not release the repentant criminal from the cross

    Good point. Where is this in the sermon archive? Just a thought. Goes back to the post about child predators’ free reign in church with families, versus a separate village or church for them apart from families with children.

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  6. My husband was an interim pastor at a large church while the senior pastor was laid up with serious health issues. I worked part-time at an office across town assisting a businessman (elder in our church).

    Down the hall was another businessman (also an elder in our church). He was divorced, and would brush up against me in the workroom, in the hallway, etc. One time he came in on a cold day and proceeded to come up behind me and place his hands on my breasts because his fingers were cold. While I let him know quite firmly that I did not appreciate his actions, he continued.

    I told my boss. I told my husband and I told the church leaders. Guess who they believed? “We know him, he’s not that way.” “Surely, you must imagining things, he wouldn’t do anything like that.” When my boss’s wife had a difficult birth and my boss had to be gone for 2 weeks, I refused to come in to work. I didn’t want to be alone with that man. I was chastised by the pastor’s wife for not carrying on the business while my boss (her brother) was helping his wife. No one would believe me except my husband. Because, of course, an elder of 20 years, is a man of God!

    Six months later, the senior pastor recovered enough to resume his duties and my husband and I were given a send-off party on our last day in town. That’s when hell broke loose. Several women in the church came to me crying saying that they had been tricked into having affairs with this guy and they needed me to speak up for them. I asked them why they thought I would be believed this time? We left and didn’t look back.

    A year later my husband and I happen to be at a pastor’s conference when the pastor’s wife came up to me and wanted to give me an apology. She said that there was so much more going on that they didn’t want to believe at the time. I told her that she was directing her apology to the wrong person that she owed my husband the apology who stood up for me against everyone. She walked away and never did.

    It’s the “not being believed” that is almost worst than the actions themselves.

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  7. chrrypi: He was divorced, and would brush up against me in the workroom, in the hallway, etc.

    The old “brush up against” trick that NO ONE takes seriously.
    We were visiting friends and their small town church. The wife told me to not sit on the aisle. An elderly gentleman usher would always brush across any lady on the end – her front area – as he passed the plate to each pew.

    Ewwww… the ladies all knew it and avoided this dirty old man usher who had been around forever – because “he didn’t mean to”.

    A lot of “you’re imagining things” and “he didn’t mean to, you got it wrong, we know him” stuff going on when power stays on top and knowledge on the bottom. Grooming the community. Gas lighting. Bullying. Culture.

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  8. Besides all the other horrific details, I struggle to understand how a church could elevate pastoral authority to the point where a) it’s considered okay for children to spend extended time alone with him, and b) the parents allow the pastor to administer corporal punishment. It’s almost making the pastor “god jr.” in terms of granting permission to usurp parental authority.

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  9. Linn: It’s almost making the pastor “god jr.” in terms of granting permission to usurp parental authority.

    And the issue is the parents’ ceding it because it’s what everybody does, he knows more about ‘religion’ or whatever rationale is used. People can’t check their brains and intuition at the door. Grievous wolves don’t spare the flock, and they don’t tend to portray themselves as the predators they are.

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  10. The parents said in an earlier article that their son was compliant and well behaved. And yet, here they are telling him he must have done something to deserve these spankings. I can only imagine how they regret their naivety now. Predators spot parents like this a mile away.

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  11. chrrypi: It’s the “not being believed” that is almost worst than the actions themselves.

    Amen. And the actions could not happen, or at least continue to happen very long, without those who refuse to see and believe. They are what enables the whole thing to go on.

    I do not have a story as bad as many here but, still, when I go into a church this is what I see all around me: people who will not see, who will not acknowledge truth, who will not stick up for a victim, who will not stand by a friend. I know that in their midst are the very few who will but I just can’t handle it anymore.

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  12. We will always have “monsters” like this guy around… part of the human condition…
    BUT, those (and systems) that cover this up, or at least protect the monster, are the ones that are the worst… complaining to the Judge that Tom Chantry is a “victim” of bloggers?? Court cases are public for a reason.. the bloggers are doing their civic duty to expose this filth…
    It never cease to amaze me how “the church system” will try to protect and cover up the “good old boys”… yet the “embrace” “traditional American values” when it serves them…. open court cases, where the public gets to see the evidence and trial, is as core “traditional American values” as it gets…

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  13. Linn: I struggle to understand how a church could elevate pastoral authority to the point where a) it’s considered okay for children to spend extended time alone with him, and b) the parents allow the pastor to administer corporal punishment

    It should be clear by now that we live in a day when parents should never do that! Folks have become so open-minded about the extent of pastoral authority over the flock that their brains have fallen out. In the prayerless and powerless condition of the American church, the hedge is down and our children are vulnerable.

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  14. chrrypi: Because, of course, an elder of 20 years, is a man of God!

    It’s common knowledge in SBC ranks that some of the most unspiritual and carnal members of a church are the deacons! Many are in those positions because they are popular in the community, business leaders, or wealthy – none of which are on the check-list of elder qualifications. I was a Sunday School teacher and lay preacher in SBC ranks for over 40 years – I observed numerous deacons struggling to locate books of the Bible and seldom providing any meaningful input to discussions, indicating an unfamiliarity with the Scripture. I saw several “fall from grace” over the years and booted from deacon status because of unChristian behavior. Thus, an elder of 20 years (or even a pastor!) should never be labeled a “man of God” just because of his tenure … examine the fruit of his life. Paul was concerned enough about this that he advised Timothy “Never be in a hurry to ordain a man, or you may be making yourself responsible for his sins” (1 Timothy 5:22).

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  15. I grew up in an era when public school principals applied the “board of education to the seat of learning” when I cut up in class.

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  16. Jeffrey Chalmers: Tom Chantry is a “victim” of bloggers??

    Chantry is not in court because blogs are “Satan’s Hit List” as Robert Morris says. He is there because of alleged criminal activity which occurred during his time as a pastor.

    Bloggers are in that courtroom to provide witness to the Body of Christ as to just how ““the church system” will try to protect and cover up the “good old boys”.” They provide a valuable service to the Church to inform and warn the children of God what to be beware of. “Be sober and watchful, because your adversary the devil walks around as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8) … yes, even in church.

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  17. Chantry had obviously been planning this sleep over for some time.

    Standard sexual predator M.O. (And probably getting his rocks off in Anticipation…)

    We had sexual predators in Furry Fandom with similar M.O.’s. A favorite tactic would be to offer a room share at Furry conventions to his selected prey. (This is not suspicious in and of itself; sharing hotel rooms to cut the room cost has been common since the early days of SF cons.) However, there would only be TWO in the room and predator would have booked a SINGLE….

    More parallels: Predator was noticeably older than his same-sex prey, and was a Big Name in the Fandom (giving him local Celebrity status and de facto cover of authority). Prey was often young and messed up by dysfunctional family and heavy bullying or rejection (common for first-generation Furries who often start obsessing over upright talking animals as a matter of sheer survival).

    It seems Tom did a little woodworking on the side because shortly after Victim 2 arrived at the parsonage he unveiled a new, custom-made paddle he had crafted. It had a custom fitted handle and was nicely varnished. Victim 2 said Tom was quite proud of it.

    Specially-made Equipment.

    Remember that Smyth ManaGAWD in South Africa? The one who would strip nekkid, whip the also-nekkid kid bloody, then press his nekkid body up against the kid (standing in a puddle of his own blood) to whisper in his ear? (But NEVER got an erection so it wasn’t REALLY homosexual?)

    Tom then instructed Victim 2 in a little church history. He told him that the church used to have monks. The senior monks had younger monks under them and they would punish them for sins that they had not found out about.

    Church History straight out of The DaVinci Code?

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  18. Thersites: jyjames: The old “brush up against” trick

    Which should be followed up with the old knee to the groin trick.

    Which should be followed up with a fist to the jaw by hubby! “Lay hands suddenly on no man” does not apply to this situation.

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  19. jyjames: The old “brush up against” trick that NO ONE takes seriously.

    I believe the French word is “Frottage”.
    And those who do it “Frotteur”.

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  20. Max: Thersites: jyjames: The old “brush up against” trick
    Which should be followed up with the old knee to the groin trick.
    Which should be followed up with a fist to the jaw by hubby! “Lay hands suddenly on no man” does not apply to this situation.

    I liked the video recently on the news of the Georgia college student waitress who “took down” the customer who patted her bottom in the restaurant. Not everyone has the instincts to react that way or so quickly, but don’t we wish we all could! Just might discourage a few frisky hands.

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  21. jyjames: chrrypi: He was divorced, and would brush up against me in the workroom, in the hallway, etc.

    The old “brush up against” trick that NO ONE takes seriously.

    It’s ‘plausible deniability’ built in, basically. ‘Oh, that was an accident’. Even women might believe that the first time, but after that it becomes rather obvious! (Although the particular incident described in the end was rather brazen)

    The creep factor generally comes though. Listen to women, listen to children, and stop dismissing this stuff!

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  22. Linn: Besides all the other horrific details, I struggle to understand how a church could elevate pastoral authority to the point where a) it’s considered okay for children to spend extended time alone with him, and b) the parents allow the pastor to administer corporal punishment.

    I think an adult, particularly an unrelated one, who actively attempts to get your children alone should be evaluated carefully, but there are so many places where children can be vulnerable even with the best of intentions. Babysitting, like in this instance, or when a young teen is babysitting and the parent often takes them home. Thought nothing of it really when I was younger.

    But to have the parents not question another adult using corporal punishment on a child is really bothersome. There was an 80’s push to get rid of this in schools, and it was met with strong opposition in churches and at this point in life I have to ask myself WHY??? Why is that a hill to die on? I can’t help but think this was being pushed by Chantry types who wanted deniability for their own fetish and be disgusted.

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  23. Lea: It’s ‘plausible deniability’ built in, basically. ‘Oh, that was an accident’.

    And from growing up with a mind-game abuser, they will have built in the Plausible Deniability well in advance. It’s part of the Pre-Grooming, setting up gaslighting hooks in both the target and third-parties.

    Instead of “That was an Accident”, a more effective gaslighting hook is “Can’t You Take a Joke?” This has the additional advantage of shifting all blame to the target.

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  24. Lea,

    Lea,
    I have asked the same question, not just about corporate punishment, but other “issues” that many in the “fundamentailst/evangelical camp” choose to “ die on”. I have been accused in the past of being to “conspiratorial”, and trying to “generailze” to much; however, as even Dee’s acknowledge, I never dreamed that the church is as bad as all the “situtations” outlined on WW indicates….. I really wonder how much the “cultural war” that evangelicals are so quick to fight is cover up their own “issues”??

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  25. Lea: There was an 80’s push to get rid of (corporal punishment) in schools, and it was met with strong opposition in churches and at this point in life I have to ask myself WHY??? Why is that a hill to die on? I can’t help but think this was being pushed by Chantry types who wanted deniability for their own fetish and be disgusted.

    That might be a bit of a stretch, but from my experience in evangelicalism, it comes down to what they see as a “biblical” teaching of retributive justice. If you break The Rules, you deserve punishment. And punishment must be painful to be effective. I think evangelical support of corporal punishment, the death penalty, mandatory minimum sentencing, criminalizing undocumented immigrants, etc, all comes from this root – God likes Rules, God hates rukebreakers, rulebreakers must be punished to please God’s justice.

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  26. Jeffrey Chalmers,

    I think the “culture wars” have blinded most churches to their own issues and hypocrisy. I had to bite my tongue recently when my own church sent out a team to work with migrants in Europe (in cooperation with a large independent mission group) while they were justifying the separation of children from their families at our southern border. Lesson: it’s okay to help undocumented immigrants as long as they are in someone else’s country. I am still a bit upset, but they absolutely do not understand the disconnect in their thinking. The same thinking goes with “forgiving” sexual offenders who happen to be church members, but throwing anyone on the outside in jail and losing the key. I have a dear friend who I have been close to for 40 years, but recently the relationship has been a bit strained. If it’s on Fox News, it’s correct, everyone else is wrong, even if it’s been vetted by several reputable news sources. If it’s not stamped “approved” by some evangelical group (Focus on the Family, The Family Research Group, etc.), it’s of the devil, wrong, and I am obviously mistaken. I know many more like my friend. On some things I am silent, but I do what i need to do (I am heavily invested in working in a ministry that works with immigrants in my area, many of whom lack papers). When I do speak up, I choose my words prayerfully and carefully. There is enough alienation going on, and I don’t want to add to it.

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  27. readingalong: I liked the video recently on the news of the Georgia college student waitress who “took down” the customer who patted her bottom in the restaurant. Not everyone has the instincts to react that way or so quickly, but don’t we wish we all could!Just might discourage a few frisky hands.

    Every day you hear more and more stories of kids being victimized. When are we going to make basic self defense a mandatory subject taught in schools, like phys. ed. and math? Self defense skills are more useful than a lot of the nonsense they teach nowadays.

    I was a child victim of sexual assault. I didn’t have the skills to defend myself at the time. I learned them later, then as a mom I made sure our kids took martial arts classes. We taught them that no one has any right to lay a hand on them, EVER.

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  28. Linn: I think the “culture wars” have blinded most churches to their own issues and hypocrisy.

    No doubt about it. There has been an outbreak of that in the Southern Baptist Convention.

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  29. Linn: I think the “culture wars” have blinded most churches to their own issues and hypocrisy.

    NO. SKUBALON.

    That’s where Wondering Eagle has been going behind the scenes of his blog. Unfortunately, Christian Culture War has been POLITICAL since the days of Jerry Falwell and The Moral Majority. So any blog trying to “stay out of politics” will not cover it as being “too political”. And in doing so, ends up giving a free pass to another important type of church corruption.

    Because that specific kind of church corruption IS Political. Whether it forces Public Morality, sucks up to secular Power as flattery-tongued “Court Evangelicals”, or takes over itself in a Dominionist “GOD SAITH!” religious dictatorship, mixing Church and Political Power that tight has a very poor track record.

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  30. Eeyore: That might be a bit of a stretch, but from my experience in evangelicalism, it comes down to what they see as a “biblical” teaching of retributive justice. If you break The Rules, you deserve punishment. And punishment must be painful to be effective. I think evangelical support of corporal punishment, the death penalty, mandatory minimum sentencing, criminalizing undocumented immigrants, etc, all comes from this root – God likes Rules, God hates rukebreakers, rulebreakers must be punished to please God’s justice.

    “What happens when the Rule’s not fair?
    We all know where we go from there —
    TO THE HOUSE OF PAIN!”
    — Danny Elfman, “No Spill Blood”

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  31. Linn: There is enough alienation going on, and I don’t want to add to it.

    It’s bad on all sides. I don’t watch much news because it’s become so vitriolic. Comments on news sites are mostly insult slinging. And social networking sites should be called sociopathic networking or antisocial networking with all the divisive posts and comments. And politicians and pundits are making a career out of purposefully misunderstaninding the other side. I am hoping this is just a temporary fad that will be looked back on with the same type of disdain that we now give to leisure suits (please don’t tell me those are coming back!). We need to restore civility. Ugh!

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  32. Headless Unicorn Guy: That’s where Wondering Eagle has been going behind the scenes of his blog. Unfortunately, Christian Culture War has been POLITICAL since the days of Jerry Falwell and The Moral Majority. So any blog trying to “stay out of politics” will not cover it as being “too political”. And in doing so, ends up giving a free pass to another important type of church corruption.

    Because that specific kind of church corruption IS Political. Whether it forces Public Morality, sucks up to secular Power as flattery-tongued “Court Evangelicals”, or takes over itself in a Dominionist “GOD SAITH!” religious dictatorship, mixing Church and Political Power that tight has a very poor track record.

    Afraid so – and the SBC’s authoritarian abuse was very much so-called Conservative Resurgence. You simply cannot ignore the church/state collaboration that has always taken place, however behind the scenes. Church history reveals this has been the case since the ‘Emperor’ declared ‘Christianity’ the official Religion.

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  33. Linn,

    “I think the “culture wars” have blinded most churches to their own issues and hypocrisy.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++

    i think professional christians stoke the culture war as a public relations tactic and as a business model. case in point: CBMW

    after ESS was roundly trounced at the ETS 2016 meeting in San Antonio, CBMW was very quiet. their weapons in the gender role culture war were taken away from them. their purpose, jobs, revenue streams, and reputation were in jeopardy.

    instead of acknowledging that they had misled everyone with their justification for female subjugation, they simply reinvented themselves. they simply refocussed on other people to subjugate. they filled the sudden void in the culture war with a brand new campaign, The Nashville Statement, and rallied the troups.

    there was even a built-in mechanism for power consolidation: those professional christians (teachers, professors, etc) whose name didn’t show up on the list of signatories were viewed with suspicion by their peers, perhaps by their employer.

    talk about sick.

    perhaps common sense has gained some ground by now and rectified this situation. although , i have my doubts.

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  34. Ken F (aka Tweed): It’s bad on all sides. I don’t watch much news because it’s become so vitriolic. Comments on news sites are mostly insult slinging. And social networking sites should be called sociopathic networking or antisocial networking with all the divisive posts and comments. And politicians and pundits are making a career out of purposefully misunderstaninding the other side. I am hoping this is just a temporary fad that will be looked back on with the same type of disdain that we now give to leisure suits (please don’t tell me those are coming back!). We need to restore civility. Ugh!

    A lot of those comments are bots or people being paid to spread dissent and division. I read a lot of news. As horrifying as it is, I feel like I need to know what’s going on in the world around me. But I usually skip the comments. It’s a wasteland.

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  35. Linn: I think the “culture wars” have blinded most churches to their own issues and hypocrisy.

    I do not understand how the same people can think that God is going to “judge” our country because we let adults who choose to have relationships with persons of their own sex yet they do not seem to think God would be enraged by us tearing helpless children out of their parent’s arms. SMH

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  36. elastigirl: Newshour on PBS

    Yes, the PBS Newshour is good. They include Christians as experts because, well, they are experts in their fields. So it’s not about culture wars but trafficking or child abuse – like what Wilhelm is covering in court here. The coverage is not going after the church but child abuse (unfortunately cloaked in religion).

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  37. Siteseer: A lot of those comments are bots or people being paid to spread dissent and division. I read a lot of news. As horrifying as it is, I feel like I need to know what’s going on in the world around me. But I usually skip the comments. It’s a wasteland.

    News in the US is good. We have a free press, thank God. I skim and scan the comments for pertinent anecdotal information and experts from the field among the readers. Example: when MH370 went down, there were commenting aviation experts who added their analysis beyond the journalism.

    Here at TWW, too, there is some back-and-forth that I scan through, just to get to what is important to me. Subjective, yes, but there’s no homework, no test. The homework is living, the test Eternity. I have other things to do here.

    Sometimes the anecdotal is as important, to me anyway, as the post or article. The stories let me know that an experience is universal. The expertise adds pertinent information. (#MeToo grew out of anecdotal stories of folks realizing they are not the only one. A lot of what is happening now in the church is similar, and not just in regard to sexual harassment.)

    It’s all relative, I guess.

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  38. Linn: The same thinking goes with “forgiving” sexual offenders who happen to be church members, but throwing anyone on the outside in jail and losing the key.

    It was Andy Savage’s hypocritical tweet about Matt Lauer that incited Jules Woodson to email him in the first place about Savage’s own indiscretions. And the rest is now history.

    Should Christians side with good and call out the bad in society? Yes, but then the church is going to have to come clean.

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  39. Pingback: Linkathon! – Phoenix Preacher

  40. Reading all this about where church’s don’t want to seek the truth but prefer covering for a pastor or at least not wanting to believe one of their pastors or top leaders reminds of what came up about Cameron Giovinelli and the righteous response of Stacey Shifflett to this allegation:

    https://brucegerencser.net/2018/05/black-collar-crime-ifb-preacher-cameron-giovanelli-accused-of-sexual-assault/

    You can see Shifflett’s explanation of his actions in this message:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WiH7RgWUbZQ&t=3s

    This pastor’s actions is really a breath of fresh air as they say. Why isn’t this the norm for pastors and churches vs. the exception. That is why don’t churches want the truth no matter how much it might hurt?

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  41. Linn: I think the “culture wars” have blinded most churches to their own issues and hypocrisy.

    My take is that the ‘culture wars’ were invented to control and manipulate the right while ‘identity politics’ were thought up to do the same for the left.

    If you ever get an ideologue to genuinely think, he will most likely be forced to admit that the simplistic answers he has been spoonfed and brainwashed with do not offer adequate answers.

    Instead, both sides have very extremified, unrealistic pictures of what ‘the other side’ really looks like, and this, IMO, is the real agenda. A house divided against itself cannot stand, and the god of this world does not want the house as created by the True God to stand.

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  42. I have discovered, over the years, that media was ‘tailored’ to its audience long before social media came into being.

    Having spent many decades in the conservative, religious right (I have since repented. 😉 )and having a sister who just happened to be carving out an existence in the other extreme, we have found that we tend to get very different pictures of ‘reality’ – politics, religion and current events – from our sources of information.

    When I see conservative ideologues from my past posting things I find difficult to swallow, or my sister’s ultra-liberal friends posting similarly untenable beliefs on the other extreme, I believe that both are working on very one-sided perspectives, deliberately crafted for that very purpose.

    My desire is to encourage all to dismiss their reality-shapers, listen to one another and discover they have a lot more in common than they might believe possible. More often, I find myself out of sync with both sides these days. Rejecting the extremes can be very lonely.

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  43. truthseeker00: Having spent many decades in the conservative, religious right (I have since repented. )and having a sister who just happened to be carving out an existence in the other extreme, we have found that we tend to get very different pictures of ‘reality’ – politics, religion and current events – from our sources of information.

    Also don’t forget about “confirmation bias” which is a tendency to hear things and read things in a way that confirms what we already believe. It is real vulnerability we all have.

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  44. Siteseer: A lot of those comments are bots or people being paid to spread dissent and division…

    And to think I’ve been spreading dissent and division all these years for free!

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  45. truthseeker00: My take is that the ‘culture wars’ were invented to control and manipulate the right while ‘identity politics’ were thought up to do the same for the left.

    “The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left” (Ecclesiastes 10:2) … but those on the right can be fooled.

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