Thom Rainer Seems to Believe That the Billy Graham Rule Would Cause #metoo Incidents to Decline.

“It’s like the Wild West, the Internet. There are no rules.” Steven Wright

Update: The Thomas Chantry jury wil not go back to deliberations until tomorrow.


Today, I read an article by Thom Rainer which proved to me that the leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention are still not getting it. His post, 5 Ways #MeToo Will Impact Churches, was featured in the Christian Post. The article appears to demonstrate a misunderstanding of what the #metoo movement is all about. As. review, the movement is about abuse, not about Legal relationships between consenting adults. He doesn’t seem to understand this.

The Billy Graham rule does not prevent abuse.

Thom Rainer utilizes this article to virtue signal that he and his organization, Lifeway, are followers of this rule and are therefore, just like Billy Graham who avoided all hint of impropriety. However, Billy Graham was not a predator and that is why he was successful.

1. More churches will adopt the Billy Graham rule.

The Billy Graham rule, at its essence, says a person should not be alone with a person of the opposite gender if that person is not your spouse. This practice, disparaged and ridiculed by many as archaic, legalistic, and unfair, could have saved a lot of heartache if it had been embraced earlier. It will bring changes in counseling, travel, and meetings.

…I have practiced the Billy Graham rule in my life. It has been a policy of the organization I lead for years. The #MeToo Movement is a reminder that the late evangelist got it right

Here are my thoughts on the matter.

  • A predator will not stick to the rules. There is always a work around.
  • I never got the rule in which one should not eat dinner with someone who isn’t a spouse. People, you are in a restaurant. That means you are surrounded by people. Who is going to get into trouble in the middle of a crowded restaurant?
  • This rule may help prevent a false claim of molestation but those make a up a small portion of claims of abuse.
  • If people will not follow what the Bible, the inspired word of God which clearly speaks about these things, why in the world would they follow the *rules* which are far less inspired?
  • Why does Rainer only focus on relationships between men and women? This totally overlooks the problem of same sex attraction.
  • I foresee problems with this approach from an HR perspective. If women are left out of vital meetings or are not allowed to go on business trips with those of the opposite gender, I expect lawsuits to be filed. This rule may be illegal in today’s professional world.

Two tweets spoke to this particular rule.

Rainer continues on his path with the following statements.

Smaller churches are in trouble according to Rainer and the only thing for a pastor to do is to have a virtual assistant instead of a real person.

In this statement, note that he believes that problems only occur between two people of opposite gender.

3. Smaller churches will make changes to make sure two people are not alone in the church office. It is not uncommon in many smaller churches to have only two people in the office, commonly the pastor and an assistant. Likewise, it is common for those two people to be of the opposite gender. Anticipate an acceleration of the trend toward virtual assistants, even (or perhaps especially) in smaller churches

4. Travel habits will change for church staff and church members. The Billy Graham rule precludes a male and female traveling alone, even for short distances. Many churches will adopt such a policy. It will likely mean some churches will have to change their travel practices

Men and woman shouldn’t travel together.

It appears that Rainer has no idea that men and women travel together and meet alone together every day in millions of businesses. Once again, traveling in a plane or attending a conference at the same hotel does not lead to poor morals. Also, Rainer still doesn’t appear †o understand that physical relationships occurs between same sex people as well. To attempt to segregate people based on gender will led to HR problems and lawsuits.

4. Travel habits will change for church staff and church members. The Billy Graham rule precludes a male and female traveling alone, even for short distances. Many churches will adopt such a policy. It will likely mean some churches will have to change their travel practices

Greg Laurie fusses about stories involving fallen pastors.

In a Christian Post article, Greg Laurie Discusses Pastor Abuse Scandals, Safeguards He Has as Megachurch Pastor. 

He states that the press likes stories that *sizzle.* He does not discuss that many of these stories involve abuse. He shows little to no concern for the victims. The word *sizzle* to describe sex abuse is disturbing. Would he call all the accusations of child sex abuse in Sovereign Grace Ministries as *sizzle?* He also seems to think that the press should carry *nice* stories about faithful pastors. It’s really hard listening to all of those abuse stories, isn’t it?

“Of course, it is in the press because that sizzles,” Laurie said of the media attention. “You never hear the story of that faithful pastor that served his congregation for 45, 50 years and went to glory. Or you don’t hear about the faithful missionary couple that made sacrifices in their life to serve the Lord because those are not the stories that make the press.”

“I am not excusing anybody of their actions,” the 65-year-old continued. “I am simply saying I wish I could hear the other stories because it can seem sometimes like there are all these scandals but they are not taking into account the thousands and thousands and thousands of faithful pastors and faithful leaders that never had even a hint of scandal in their life of ministry.”

Laurie makes confusing statements about restoration of a pastor after a fall.

He is sad when leaders fall but doesn’t mention being sad about little children who are hurt by the leader’s fall. In fact, he, as one of the *spiritual* people out there, wants to restore these poor fallen pastors..

What does he mean by restore? Restore to the pulpit? A pastor who abuses his office in this fashion must never be restored to the pulpit. They can be restored to church membership after repentance.  Doctors, police officers, counselors, etc. who abuse their position lose their jobs and their licenses. The church community appears to have far lower standards than secular culture in this area.

“Though we are sad when leaders fall, the Bible says, ‘When a brother or a sister is overtaken in a fall, we who are spiritual should seek to restore them. …

Laurie scores a win with the following statement.

Predators or those determined to sin will do so, no matter what rules are in place.

…”It is important to have safeguards and it is important to have checks and balances and I have many,” he said. “Having said that, if a person is determined to cheat in whatever way they choose to cheat, they will do so. Safeguards won’t stop it.

Laurie then harps on Christians who critique one another.

He says that we should support one another instead of critiquing one another. He also claims we should preach the Gospel more. How in the world does he know whether or not we preach the Gospel more than we critique? Many of us do that day in and out and don’t get paid the big bucks to do so like Laurie. In fact, Laurie appears to be virtue signaling. “Well I preach the Gospel to lots of people.”

“I think we need to be thinking of ways to build up one another, especially in social media and in other ways, instead of taking shots at each other so much,” he said. “If a leader sins and falls, well, that happens. I am sorry that happened. Sometimes I see good and godly people critiquing other good and godly people in what I think is an unnecessary way. I would like to see that same ‘passion’ in preaching the Gospel and reaching our world.

Laurie does not score a win with this post. He neglects the TWW prime directive. If one is speaking about an abuser, one must first attempt to convey concern for the victims. Laurie does not do so in the article.

Let me end this on the topic of virtue signaling. We have been writing about abusers in the pulpit for years. We believe that there are many closet abusers out there and anticipate that more and more abusers will be exposed in the coming year. Many abusers often point to themselves as paradigms of virtue, making sure we know how they well they conduct their role model lives. That is to get us to not look too closely at them but we do so anyway, especially when they tell us how virtuous they are.

Remember, the pastors who have recently fallen were predators who were ether harassing a number of women or assaulting high school students.The Billy Graham rule won’t touch those problems. Leaders should stop virtue signaling and show some concern for the victims.That”s what Jesus would do (and did!)


Comments

Thom Rainer Seems to Believe That the Billy Graham Rule Would Cause #metoo Incidents to Decline. — 239 Comments

  1. Rules will never control a man whose heart is not right with God.

    “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23).

    An unguarded heart will break rules.

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  2. Greg Laurie comes from the bad fruit tree of Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel, where pastors are defended above all other people. So his pathetic article is not surprising. And yes, I do preach the Gospel, and I do also preach other issues too. Laurie needs to shut up.

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  3. How in the heck is a woman supposed to fulfill Matthew 18 requirements with the Billy Graham rule in place? Is she also not able to benefit from the legal protections that pastoral confidences enjoy in the law because women can’t be legally recognized pastors in conservative churches and if she wants to confess to a crime, I guess she’s not going to be protected like a man would be. Such divisive bullarky. A woman does not engage the Bible fully and have equal standing in the confessional….Just like Jesus wanted it!!

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  4. Having a rule like that could potentially create a sexually-charged atmosphere. Just like the “christian” cults that are sex-obsessed because of all their rules. “Don’t think of the elephant, don’t think of the elephant, don’t think of the elephant”, so what do you think of? The elephant.

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  5. I think the point about secular professions having higher standards (i.e., loss of license to practice one’s profession a consequence of misconduct) than the church is one that bears repeating until people are tired of hearing it.

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  6. I would also make the point that, very often, sexual abuse is about power, not sex. It is disingenuous to imply,as Rainer does, that the problem is one of out of control hormones, or lack of chaperones. No, I’m sorry; much abuse is about traumatizing, minimizing and manipulating. Sexual abuse by a pastor or other person in a leadership position within the church is nearly always also about spiritual abuse, authoritarianism, patriarchalism, etc.

    And, no, social media is not going to play nice and go away so the boys can go back to abusing without fear of getting caught. We are watching, and we are telling!

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  7. Maybe he should watch Fiona Barnett’s “Candy Girl” testimony. BG is not as squeaky clean as some of his worshippers like to think.

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  8. The Billy Graham Rule harms women and men. It assumes that all women are somehow dangerous Jezebels and all men are easily tempted. I’d also note that we couldn’t get work done at the evil too big to fail bank if we had a Billy Graham Rule. I work in an office where most of the time, I’m locked in a suite* with one guy, maybe two, maybe three. Rarely (Mondays right now) is there a woman in the suite with me. Sheesh. We’re entirely too busy to engage in hanky panky, nor do we want to.

    *I have to badge through one parking gate, one turnstile, and two doors to get into my office suite. And they’re talking about moving us behind the mantrap, which ought to be fun, because people are always tripping the alarm on the mantrap. I’ve never been able to successfully get through the mantrap, which requires you to present a handprint as well as badge through.

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  9. The last sentence in Rainer’s article: “When it is all said and done, anything we can do to show greater respect and honor to girls and women can only be good.”

    I was on the receiving end of the Billy Graham Rule when volunteering as the solo administrative assistant to our small, former church. I found it to be anything BUT respectful and honoring. (1) Frustrating – I had a 1-year-old and had to bring her with to meetings with the pastor, so asked to meet at church so she could wander around the room instead of being confined to a high chair at the coffee shop for 90 minutes, and was told “no.” Remember, this was a non-paid position, so no money for childcare. (2) Weirdly sexually charged – While I respected him as a preacher, I had zero physical attraction to him. I was certainly not the one inserting the “we shouldn’t have sex so we need to surround ourselves with witnesses” vibe into the meetings, but it sure was the elephant in the room (of the crowded coffee shop). (3) Disrespectful – I’d worked full-time as an administrative assistant at a large organization for seven years and met with a number of men a number of times one-on-one, in private, in a professional capacity. None of them ever questioned my ability to respect boundaries.

    Nor did my then-boyfriend/then-fiance/now-husband question my ability to respect boundaries while woking with people of the opposite gender. What does this say about the level of trust in the marriage relationship, if one spouse must never be alone with someone of the other gender?

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  10. Godbeforemen,

    In the summer of 1978 The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer disclosed the existence of a $23 million ‘World Evangelism Fund’ that the vast majority of contributors knew nothing about.

    In response to questions, Mr. Graham denied any wrongdoing and explained that the fund had not been publicized so as to prevent a deluge of requests for assistance. As far as I can tell, answers were never provided as to how the money, nearly all from contributions, was actually spent.

    The “secret” fund disclosures were followed by pressures from the Minnesota Securities Commission, the state in which the association maintains headquarters, for a fuller accounting of its financial transactions.

    This little ‘scandal’ was quickly buried, amidst promises for more open disclosure, and few today even know about it. It is very likely he was the original celebrity christian big money maker.

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  11. The Billy Graham rule was partly invented to prevent press speculation at a time when Billy Graham was a huge celebrity. It also was in the context of Graham and his team being away from their homes and families for long periods. It did actually serve a purpose IMO.

    That said, the problem is not that people are tempted, fall into sin, and become an abuser. The problem is that they are abusers to start with. I think this is the issue that Rainer and Laurie fail to appreciate. We’re not talking about a pastor having an affair with a secretary (although that is probably abuse due to the unequal power relationship). We are talking about sexual predators who are serial abusers.

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  12. ___

    Dee,

    HowDee!

    FYI Some 501c3 pastors are now legally recording all of their calls, and meetings. Their church buildings are now equipped with extensive surveillance systems. Travel plans now involve armed professional security teams as well. Did you not think some would protect themselves, their families, their credentials, and their ministries?

    The #MeToo has only escalated the necessity for plasable necessary safeguards. The entire US various professional industries are putting forth safeguards. Private citizens regardless of vocation, are as well.

    ATB

    ;~)

    – –

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  13. The law (aka rules, regs, guidelines, policies, etc) never saved anyone. And by that I mean it also never protected anyone from abuse, along with stopping an abuser. As someone pointed out, the heart bent on it will act on it.
    It is naive to just focus on pastors & church secretaries when the authoritarian nature of evangelical churches goes un mentioned, and think deeply on how church structures provide cover and prey for abusers. Rules will not solve that problem.

    What is needed is a grass roots revolution & recognition that “the church” is broken, & models and methods don’t equate to redemption.

    It ought to be understood that the church should be a safe space for children, literally and in every respect, and that authoritarianism is the main sin problem produced by what the church has become. Power & money are the fuel that feeds the beast. Take them away.

    Barring the Lord’s return, it would take several generations of revolution before the cesspool the church has become can be reversed. Maranatha! (Just feel like that some days…)

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  14. Godbeforemen,

    At https://fionabarnett.org/candy-girl/ one of the first links under the heading “Top Clicks” is to https://pizzagatesite.wordpress.com/2016/12/07/disturbing-evidence-that-portlands-voodoo-donuts-may-be-a-child-sex-trafficking-front-pizzagate/

    I have no idea of Fiona Barnett’s truthfulness and reliability as a witness of things that allegedly happened to herself. If the allegations are true, I do feel sorry for thd things she and others had to endure.

    But Pizzagate? Come on! That one has been thoroughly debunked, and will only serve to make even well-meaning people suspicious of her own story.

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  15. While discussing the issue of the BG rule, and other restrictive behavior codes, don’t forget the issue of gossip. Gossip is a bad thing. It is bad when it is in error, it is bad for people to call something gossip just because it is uncomfortable truth, and it is bad when it is used to express resentment or envy or as something just to make the gossiper look big in the eyes of those who listen.

    I was erroneously ‘accused’ by gossip, and I have some serious pity for those who experience that. If BG rule or other restrictive behavior rules are used for a help in preventing gossip, then I say let people do what they want to do to protect themselves. I also think that for me to try to determine someone else’s behavior, like in either requiring or forbidding them to practice restrictive behavior, is tyrannical on my part and I need to rethink that position. We must not let our freedoms get away from us-either way.

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  16. Ian:
    The Billy Graham rule was partly invented to prevent press speculation at a time when Billy Graham was a huge celebrity. It also was in the context of Graham and his team being away from their homes and families for long periods. It did actually serve a purpose IMO.

    So what was he protecting? Himself? Or his celebrity status? And was his celebrity status worth protecting in that way?

    What BGR means for women is that they will get turned down for jobs, refused into important meetings, and are unable to accomplish many of the same things men can. Moreover, it implies women are the ones at fault in temptation, and that still is a big problem in the church today.

    Look at all the cases we’ve seen recently of abuse and sexual assault–there’s a group of mostly men protecting the abusers for long periods of time. Even the so-called “egalitarian” churches immediately go to “the women are all lying!” because the abuser knew that tactic works in the church. Even if the abuser is abusing males (because who would believe that, right?).

    The BGR not only doesn’t come from a place of faith, and as Pastor Chick pointed out, it’s not what Jesus did, but it causes harm to people who are less powerful that the celebrity claiming to use it.

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  17. The SBC leaders as it relates to sex abuse are a joke. IMO they know this has been going on for years and did nothing, but now they care. I do not believe these men will do anything but talk like they have done in the past.

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  18. Sexual ‘issues’ have been going on as long as there have been humans. When the ancient Hebrews put some origins issues on paper they included the idea that God told Eve-now you are really going to have a mess to live with both biologically and relationally. Which tells me that sex/gender issues were well known at the time that the stories were first being told.

    And may I add that of course women are a ‘temptation’ for (most/many) men. I mean, has anybody seen the species about to dwindle to extinction? Wonder how that happens. Have we noticed the plethora of laws and customs that humanity has tried to stabilize cultures in the face of this ‘attraction’ which easily gets out of hand?

    It would be ridiculous to want males and females to quit being ‘interested’ in each other. We must have accepted ways of dealing with this so that people do not get hurt while at the same time not trying to make it just go away, and I don’t see that we have done that.

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  19. Samuel Conner,

    Right on. I remember reading the blog of a male psychotherapist (many years ago) who related a conversation he had with a male colleague (neither man brought up the Christian angle) about what to do when a female client brings up her sexual attraction toward the male therapist (common) or he feels a sexual attraction to her (also common). The obviously more enlightened one proposed that at that moment that instead of emotionally recoiling and jeopardizing the work that had been done, that the therapist acknowledge that those feelings exist, are predictable and normal, and are temporary and must never be acted upon. Instead, view them (her attraction to him) as a a level of understanding of this client that can be transcended and pave the way to deeper levels of understanding that allow the therapist to understand her as a more complete human being (and himself in the process). I think this can be a universal application. (I realize gender pronouns can be switched out).

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  20. ishy,

    So what was he protecting? Himself? Or his celebrity status? And was his celebrity status worth protecting in that way?

    I think that if you look at Graham’s actual comments on the issue, the protection was of Himself and His reputation, attempting to avoid even the appearance of evil

    What BGR means for women is that they will get turned down for jobs, refused into important meetings, and are unable to accomplish many of the same things men can.

    Can you point to one example where as a result of the BGR, a woman got turned down for a job, refused into important meetings, or was not able to accomplish something that a man could?

    The BGR not only doesn’t come from a place of faith, and as Pastor Chick pointed out, it’s not what Jesus did, but it causes harm to people who are less powerful that the celebrity claiming to use it.

    Jesus traveled alone with women or met with individual women in private? The only examples I can think of is the Samaritan woman (public meeting) and with Mary and Martha (where you have at least three people).

    Where has the BGR hurt people that are less powerful than the “celebrity”?

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  21. From the OP: “Today, I read an article by Thom Rainer…”. Thank you for taking one for the team. Someone has to monitor his stuff and it won’t be me. I thought that when I have the time I might write an essay about why I don’t read his works, but then I realized a list would be much more appropriate.

    I appreciate your diligence in reviewing these articles and providing an excellent perspective. Thank you.

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  22. I have to laugh when I read some of this stuff because, again, they are really prescribing solutions to problems that don’t exist. Sexual abusers aren’t going to play by the rules, & the ‘oh don’t be with someone of the opposite gender’ is far less useful, in many ways, than the simple statement ‘act appropriately with everyone’. It’s turning most of the adult world, who can actually do that, into hormonal teens who need constant monitoring. But then again, guys like these are all about compartmentalising & removing adult freedoms from others, aren’t they? They don’t seem at all concerned with what you lose, while they focus on a pretend ‘gain’, here less chances for an abuser to abuse.

    Pretty soon they’ll be like those Jewish guys who wear plastic bags on airplanes in case a female skin cell floats onto them or something else heinous.

    Also big shout out to my 29yr old male co-worker who is built like a friendly bear. In our 5 years of working, normally as a pair, often in very tough & stressful situations, & often on our own, he has had my back every time the manure has hit the fan, & he’s never once felt the need to abuse me. Or me him. Funny that.

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  23. •I never got the rule in which one should not eat dinner with someone who isn’t a spouse. People, you are in a restaurant. That means you are surrounded by people. Who is going to get into trouble in the middle of a crowded restaurant?

    I think this is where all their stated reasons go haywire, because this is not being ‘alone’ with someone…it’s in public. So now you can’t be alone or in public?

    The only reason I’ve heard given is that people will talk. Tell people not to be such annoying gossips then? Maybe they should get their minds out of the gutter when they see coworkers having lunch together at mcdonalds.

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  24. On his deal about there being only two people in the church office…how is there being only ONE person (with a ‘virtual’ assistant) going to help when church members or strangers come to the church to talk to the pastor or for assistance? Are you just going to tell them to all go away until you can get a chaperone?

    Instead of deciding, quite reasonably, that these rules are stupid and unenforceable, Thom keeps trying to come up with ways to make them work.

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  25. Noevangelical: The law (aka rules, regs, guidelines, policies, etc) never saved anyone. And by that I mean it also never protected anyone from abuse, along with stopping an abuser. As someone pointed out, the heart bent on it will act on it.
    It is naive to just focus on pastors & church secretaries when the authoritarian nature of evangelical churches goes un mentioned, and think deeply on how church structures provide cover and prey for abusers. Rules will not solve that problem.

    What is needed is a grass roots revolution & recognition that “the church” is broken, & models and methods don’t equate to redemption.

    It ought to be understood that the church should be a safe space for children, literally and in every respect, and that authoritarianism is the main sin problem produced by what the church has become. Power & money are the fuel that feeds the beast. Take them away.

    Barring the Lord’s return, it would take several generations of revolution before the cesspool the church has become can be reversed. Maranatha! (Just feel like that some days…)

    This, along with your preceding comment, is so spot on! Sexual abuse, like chronic high blood pressure, is simply a symptom of something gone wrong long ago. It is not THE PROBLEM, but a symptom of the problem. The problem is a faulty structure, derived my men rather than from scripture, which provides the system by which men of any self-seeking ilk can deceive, mislead, manipulate and abuse others – all for his own private motives under the impressive banner of Religion.

    The Hubbard quote would be funny if it weren’t so darn accurate – men, long ago, figured out how effective Religion was to manipulate and control the masses.

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  26. “He also seems to think that the press should carry *nice* stories about faithful pastors.”

    They do occasionally – they’re called ‘puff pieces’.

    On the men and women traveling together thing, I was reading on a crazy mraish group saying that someone at work got fired for refusing to ride in a cab with a woman – with a third person present. Idiots.

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  27. okrapod,

    “I was erroneously ‘accused’ by gossip, and I have some serious pity for those who experience that.”

    Same here. And sometimes all it takes is a backchannel whisper by someone popular in a group, a respected title, etc, to cause serious financial harm. This stuff makes it’s way around the world and guilt announced before one can even respond. Damage done.

    I also am reluctant to shame anyone about protecting themselves.

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  28. The Billy Graham Rule worked for Billy Graham … I don’t believe it was ever intended to be a universally applied law across Christendom. IMO, it shouldn’t be too much to ask for a “man of God” to keep his pants on! At its core, the BGR is all about asking a woman to leave the room, rather than expecting men in the room to be accountable … we need to be asking men to leave the room who have lost their right to be there. If they feel they need a rule to control their flesh, they don’t need to be in the ministry.

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  29. Gus,

    I would suggest that much disinfo has been disseminated to create plausible deniability, as any smart, evil and powerful group would do. It is very easy to create ‘fake news’ in order to lead people away from truth, as we have seen repeatedly throughout history. One does not have to prove or disprove every account (Some may be false, but it is unlikely that all are.) to begin to perceive the pattern described by many. Whatever current structures are in use, sexual abuse and trafficking of women and children have been systematically used to blackmail and control powerful persons. This has been outed by many voices, around the world, who have seen it from the inside – victims and abusers. It is not utterly preposterous to wonder if this phenomenon is behind some of the systemic church abuse, along with much of the #metoo shenanigans in Hollywood, the media and the halls of secular power.

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  30. Robert: I think that if you look at Graham’s actual comments on the issue, the protection was of Himself and His reputation, attempting to avoid even the appearance of evil

    I do not believe that Paul meant the gender discrimination issues in that particular statement. But even if he did, today the “appearance of evil” IS gender discrimination that strict BG rules elicit. If a person really cares today about fairness, and still wants others to observe their private interactions, then leave the door open while meeting with all people.

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  31. Samuel Conner:
    I think the point about secular professions having higher standards (i.e., loss of license to practice one’s profession a consequence of misconduct) than the church is one that bears repeating until people are tired of hearing it.

    I seriously think all pastors should have some sort of licensure that can be looked up on a website and verified, including any legal action or flags against it, just like doctors. Would help immensely.

    And I feel like many churches are *really* not doing due diligence in their hiring phase, calling previous churches and doing background checks, or they would not hire people who have had previous problems.

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  32. TS00: It is disingenuous to imply,as Rainer does, that the problem is one of out of control hormones, or lack of chaperones.

    I don’t know how much of this is that they actually believe their buddy Bob when he uses this kind of excuse, but I think it’s definitely part of the reason they think that (the ones that aren’t abusers or cheaters themselves I mean). See also the people who think the woman seduced them. So much of this, I began to think, comes from men believing other men’s self serving lies when they get caught!

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  33. Max,

    It has also been seriously misapplied. I mean, it’s a no-brainer that Hybels had no business inviting beautiful young women, after hours, to share a bottle of wine with him in a hotel suite. Does that mean that the business man who rents a hotel suite with a meeting room and sets up six appointments with clients is inviting trouble? (I hope not – my spouse does it all the time!)

    Yes, the patriarchs would love to suggest that the real problem is that women are ‘out’ in the business world, tempting those poor, helpless men to view them as nothing but useful devices. Sexual attraction is an obviously genuine phenomenon, and women, in particular, have learned to be careful about the situations they allow themselves to be put in, but the truth is, one would have to establish the sort of tyrannical dictatorship Calvin had in Geneva to keep people from all opportunities to do evil. Why do we not look to the example God has given us, in which, rather than create us with no real freedom of choice he warns and encourages us to use that freedom wisely, and in the best interests of others? Protect yourself from temptation, gossip and false accusations – that seems doable much of the time. Private meetings can frequently be held in ‘public’ spaces, or with doors open. Children must be absolutely protected when they are too young and innocent to protect themselves. Sadly, personal experience proves that even close relatives can be a threat. Although not fail-safe, we often relied on the ‘safety in numbers’ tactic when our children were young enough to be under our protection but too old to be handheld. Had I been less naive, I would have also done much more ‘debriefing’ of my kids after outings to sniff out hints of danger.

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  34. When I worked for the gov after I ‘retired’ we worked in a huge room with maybe a hundred or so people scattered around with first desks and eventually cubbies. We were male and female, young and old, believers and not and so on. At one point they hired a young Muslim man, a Christian preacher’s son who had converted to Islam. He would not acknowledge the presence of a female/females. He would not even speak or nod much less smile at the water fountain (which is where I personally observed the behavior). The word was-religious freedom-leave him alone-don’t be offended-religious freedom.

    I am good with that for him, the freedom I mean, but surely Christians would not adopt that behavior. My thinking is, however, how could we agree to tolerate that behavior from a Muslim and then not tolerate the BG rule or the strict fundamentalist lifestyle from a Christian. That said I come down on the side of freedom for myself and others. We don’t need to be headed toward the lifestyle supervision that it is reported that China for example is trying to institute there

    Way back i the day I once had a man, a chief of the service, not only offer me a job but also offered to be my mentor in the system and he did it in front of everybody in a mid size radiology reading room at a large hospital, and then he said he wanted to talk to my husband about how it could be worked out. I had lots of respect for him. I took the job. So was this BG rule in action? I don’t know, but I do know that his brother was a Jesuit priest on the faculty of the same university, so maybe it was.

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  35. Lea: I don’t know how much of this is that they actually believe their buddy Bob when he uses this kind of excuse, but I think it’s definitely part of the reason they think that (the ones that aren’t abusers or cheaters themselves I mean). See also the people who think the woman seduced them. So much of this, I began to think, comes from men believing other men’s self serving lies when they get caught!

    They need to quit blaming women.

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  36. Separation of church and state makes state licensure difficult. Buy a data bank of sex offenders is a legal matter and is doable.

    Reference calls is wise, but presumes the departing church is knowledgable and willing to be honest.

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  37. Lea: many churches are *really* not doing due diligence in their hiring phase, calling previous churches and doing background checks

    Agreed. The average pastor church committee looks only at the references provided by the candidate and ‘may’ contact the church they are currently serving at. Unfortunately, most committees are reluctant to contact the pastor’s church – not wanting to alert the folks there that they might lose their pastor. References listed on a resume always give glowing reports … they all sound like the next Billy Graham!

    Your suggestion that “all pastors should have some sort of licensure that can be looked up on a website and verified, including any legal action or flags” is a good one. When I considered a job applicant in the business world, I seldom contacted the references on their resume. I talked to folks who knew the folks who knew about them. I even checked the candidate’s name against the criminal database in my state and sex offender lists when available. Unfortunately, we are living in a day when you can’t trust just any “pastor” to be truthful in a search committee interview! If a young pastor will lie to you about his theological persuasion, a pedophile will certainly be elusive. The average search committee would never ask “Are you a pedophile?” … but perhaps they should; strange times we live in.

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  38. drstevej: Reference calls is wise, but presumes the departing church is knowledgable and willing to be honest.

    Used to do reference calls. Sometimes helps to call around and find somebody other than the person listed by the candidate to get a fuller story. Half of the problem is that churches just flat out ignore bad information too. Chantry punched a kid when he was still interim and they still gave him the job instead of firing him immediately and finding someone else.

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  39. TS00: Why do we not look to the example God has given us, in which, rather than create us with no real freedom of choice he warns and encourages us to use that freedom wisely, and in the best interests of others?

    Exactly. The New Testament church didn’t have a “Paul Rule”, a “Peter Rule”, or a “John Rule.” Men were in the ministry because they had a heart for God and were focused on fulfilling the Great Commission of Christ. They knew that they were to “let the Holy Spirit guide your life. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves” (Galatians 5:16). The standard hasn’t changed. If a man doubts that he can stack his life up next to that plumb line, he should consider another career path.

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  40. drstevej: Reference calls is wise, but presumes the departing church is knowledgable and willing to be honest.

    I’ve known churches which are looking for an opportunity to unload their pastor! They would give a glowing report to a pastor search committee just to see him move along and save them the trouble of touching God’s anointed.

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  41. Jess: Greg Laurie comes from the bad fruit tree of Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel, where pastors are defended above all other people. So his pathetic article is not surprising.

    I’m from SoCal, Ground Zero of Calvary Chapel and its Costa Mesa Vatican.

    Calvary Chapel DOMINATED the entire non-denom scene around here; half the airtime of Christianese AM radio in the Seventies/Eighties was CC Costa Mesa, CC West Covina, CC whatever. Remember the old saw of “non-denominational; you know, Fundamental Baptist with the labels painted over?”? Well, out here it was “Calvary Chapel with the labels painted over”. ALL the little non-denom “Fellowships(TM)” were CC clones, with all the CC baggage.

    Being near Ground Zero, I had encounters with a LOT of CC-bots. Calvary Chapel distills down and concentrates ALL the ways an independent Christian church/denom can go sour.

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  42. Max: I’ve known churches which are looking for an opportunity to unload their pastor!They would give a glowing report to a pastor search committee just to see him move along and save them the trouble of touching God’s anointed.

    i.e. “Now he’s somebody else’s problem.”

    You find that everywhere in the business world.

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  43. I’ve said this many times before, on many comment threads when the BG Rule came up:

    The BG Rule makes sense in a very limited set of circumstances. For a public figure or celebrity who has enemies trying to take him down, it is important to avoid any situation that might give appearance of scandal or opportunity for blackmail. In that case, the BG rule makes sense.

    But to apply it to everybody, everywhere, every time?
    THAT’s the approach of a True Believer with a One True Way.

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  44. Lea: I seriously think all pastors should have some sort of licensure that can be looked up on a website and verified, including any legal action or flags against it, just like doctors. Would help immensely.

    At which point, “Who Watches the Watchmen?”

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  45. Headless Unicorn Guy: set of circumstances

    The main thing that makes the rule stupid for people is that it does not consider circumstances, or people, or relationships at all. Everybody is the same, women are all jezebel temptresses, whether they are 13 year olds or 70 year old grandmas and everything in between, and men are all crazy horndogs who also have reason to fear being falsely accused at any moment. Lunacy.

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  46. TS00: Yes, the patriarchs would love to suggest that the real problem is that women are ‘out’ in the business world, tempting those poor, helpless men to view them as nothing but useful devices.

    Isn’t that the rationale behind the Burqa, the locked Harem, and the whips of the religious police?

    Sexual attraction is an obviously genuine phenomenon, and women, in particular, have learned to be careful about the situations they allow themselves to be put in, but the truth is, one would have to establish the sort of tyrannical dictatorship Calvin had in Geneva to keep people from all opportunities to do evil.

    That can be arranged (Seven Mountains Mandate, Christian Nation…)
    And the Commanders of that Holy Gilead are the ones who get to define what is good and what is evil.

    Why do we not look to the example God has given us, in which, rather than create us with no real freedom of choice he warns and encourages us to use that freedom wisely, and in the best interests of others?

    It’s easier and simpler to just have a checklist of Thou Shalt Nots.

    And if I can check off more of the checklist than you Lukewarm Apostates…

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  47. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    With respect to the Roman Catholic Church, clearly no-one until recently
    and in the case of Williow Creek, the “secular” press.. the “church” sure CAN not watch the watchman…. but then, as Papa Chuck used to say “ touch not thine anointed” … Calvary Chapel sure has its share to hide

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  48. mot: They need to quit blaming women.

    “BLAME CANADA!
    BLAME CANADA!
    BEFORE ANYONE CAN THINK OF BLAMING US!”
    — South Park: The Movie

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  49. Samuel Conner: onn

    I’ll add to this that I am not thinking just about “care-giving” professional conduct, but issues of technical competency and honesty. A researcher in the physical sciences who falsifies data and is discovered will suffer irreparable harm to his professional reputation and his ability to find employment or attract research funding. Plagiarism in research publications is also taken very seriously.

    How much contemporary preaching is essentially the religious equivalent of data falsification? A lot of it IMO, and it doesn’t damage careers, but rather enhances them. For every Mark Driscoll who is called out for unacknowledged appropriation of others’ writing, how many are not noticed? I suspect it is a large number.

    Bad religion drives out good.

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  50. Lea: Chantry punched a kid when he was still interim and they still gave him the job instead of firing him immediately and finding someone else.

    Remember the Official Story:
    It’s the kid’s fault because the kid ran full-tilt into Chantry’s innocent fist.

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  51. Max: References listed on a resume always give glowing reports … they all sound like the next Billy Graham!

    If not the Second Coming of Christ Himself.

    Resume inflation is an old, old custom.

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  52. Max: The Billy Graham Rule worked for Billy Graham … I don’t believe it was ever intended to be a universally applied law across Christendom. IMO, it shouldn’t be too much to ask for a “man of God” to keep his pants on!

    The BG Rule also originated among travelling evangelists in the Forties or Fifties, when cultural mores and expectations were different.

    This would have been the Post-WW2/Early Cold War period, where after the one-two punch of the Great Depression and WW2, American culture was feeling a strong pull towards enforced Normalcy, including “traditional” gender roles. After coming through almost 20 years of Hell into postwar prosperity, it was Miller Time (and don’t anybody dare try to rock the boat).

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  53. Max:
    The Billy Graham Rule worked for Billy Graham … I don’t believe it was ever intended to be a universally applied law across Christendom.IMO, it shouldn’t be too much to ask for a “man of God” to keep his pants on!At its core, the BGR is all about asking a woman to leave the room, rather than expecting men in the room to be accountable … we need to be asking men to leave the room who have lost their right to be there. If they feel they need a rule to control their flesh, they don’t need to be in the ministry.

    Worth repeating! Thanks, Max.

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  54. “The Billy Graham rule, at its essence, says a person should not be alone with a person of the opposite gender if that person is not your spouse.” What if you’re gay? How does that apply? Wait, I know the answer, no Christians are gay.

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  55. As a Doc, I have to examine both men and women behind closed doors, though I guess the men who can’t handle that go to male Dr. instead!
    On the other hand, I can understand more well-known people being extra-careful with their reputation, which may not all be for their own glory but also necessary for their ministry to continue.
    I remember reading a book years ago, Chuck Colson’s Prison Ministry, I think?, where he mentions he and associate were checking into a hotel; by chance his associate opened the hotel room door meant for Colson, and there were mirrors etc. set up for what they thought were compromising photos, so they skedaddled quickly.

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  56. Patti,

    If a person really cares today about fairness, and still wants others to observe their private interactions, then leave the door open while meeting with all people.

    Yes, and I agree that such would be a far more reasonable approach than a blanket “I’ll never meet alone with anyone” rule.

    The trouble is, the way people go off about the BGR, I’m not sure that would be enough. “If you have to keep the door open when you meet with me but not when you meet with Steve, then I’m going to be held back from situations that can give me advancement!!!!!!”

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  57. “If people will not follow what the Bible, the inspired word of God which clearly speaks about these things, why in the world would they follow the *rules* which are far less inspired?” (Dee)

    That’s really the bottom-line about this matter.

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  58. Robert: “If you have to keep the door open when you meet with me but not when you meet with Steve, then I’m going to be held back from situations that can give me advancement!!!!!!”

    I don’t know about you, but I don’t think a wide open door is appropriate for some conversations. Do you really consider concerns about advancement whining, when women are excluded from spaces by design? Even outside of the workplace, we see the results of this treatment of, and perception of, women that comes with stuff like the billy graham rule. Women who report things like abusein church are not considered as trustworthy as the pastors buddies.

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  59. When men sit around making rules based on the theory that women cannot be trusted, is it any surprise that when women report issues with men that they are…not trusted????

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  60. DD,

    “/s”
    ++++++++++

    after several minutes of deductive reasoning: oh…. going out on a limb here — is that 2-key-stroke shorthand for raised eyebrow wry smile?

    (how does one stay current with all these things… i thought i was ahead of the curve with my :|)

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  61. I think there is a good principle behind the so-called Billy Graham Rule, and maybe the rule made perfect sense in the context of Graham’s ministry.

    I find it telling when church people want to not just promote the principle but also make it into a legalistic framework. A man and woman can’t travel together on business? How is that problematic when airports, airplanes, and hotel lobbies are all public places? Sometimes it isn’t practical or reasonable to avoid being alone with a member of the opposite sex.

    For that matter, from the context it sounds like the issue for Laurie isn’t keeping behavior above board but rather avoiding temptation. I’d suggest one who can’t keep one’s hands to oneself just because of being alone in a room with someone else shouldn’t be in pastoral ministry to begin with.

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  62. Lea: When men sit around making rules based on the theory that women cannot be trusted, is it any surprise that when women report issues with men that they are…not trusted????

    Cut it out and stick it on your refrigerator, folks!

    You can’t trust a preacher who needs rules to control his flesh; they are the first to break them! These guys are scared to death that some Jezebel is going to bring them down, all the while committing adultery in their hearts. Perhaps we need to have a rule about thinning them out of the church.

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  63. readingalong: I remember reading a book years ago, Chuck Colson’s Prison Ministry, I think?, where he mentions he and associate were checking into a hotel; by chance his associate opened the hotel room door meant for Colson, and there were mirrors etc. set up for what they thought were compromising photos, so they skedaddled quickly.

    Like I said up above, the BG Rule makes sense when you are a public figure who has enemies who are trying to dig up any dirt to discredit you — even if they have to manufacture the dirt themselves.

    But for EVERYBODY, EVERYWHERE, EVERYWHEN?

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  64. Samuel Conner:
    How much contemporary preaching is essentially the religious equivalent of data falsification? A lot of it IMO, and it doesn’t damage careers, but rather enhances them. For every Mark Driscoll who is called out for unacknowledged appropriation of others’ writing, how many are not noticed? I suspect it is a large number.

    Especially when you have gems like this on major pastoral guide sites:

    ” Critics who say that preachers who use other people’s sermons lack integrity. Ignore these people. They have no idea what they’re talking about.”
    http://seniorpastorcentral.com/316/6-reasons-you-should-preach-other-pastors-sermons/

    I know he makes a very brief mention of “not trying to conceal the sources of tools we’ve borrowed”, but that was it. Most do conceal the fact that they bought or stole their sermons. And if he really meant it, wouldn’t he have made it a clearer point? You know, I don’t mind if a pastor cites stuff, but that’s not what happens at all, and I know many of them were hired, and offered pay, on the basis of writing their own sermon every week.

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  65. readingalong: by chance his associate opened the hotel room door meant for Colson, and there were mirrors etc. set up for what they thought were compromising photos, so they skedaddled quickly.

    And ol’ Chuck knew how such things worked, as he had no doubt been a part of setting up such stings in his ‘former’ line of work. Which was my point earlier, about how many abused and trafficked women and children are used to entrap and blackmail people in powerful positions, luring them into or even drugging and setting them up in compromising situations. Chuck knew exactly what he was looking at, even if we naive innocents would not have.

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  66. I was a pastor for 40 years and never used someone else’s sermon. And I attributed quotes I used. This is the case for most preachers I have worked with.

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  67. Max: “If people will not follow what the Bible, the inspired word of God which clearly speaks about these things, why in the world would they follow the *rules* which are far less inspired?” (Dee)

    You don’t think they would lie, do you? Don’t all pastors always tell the truth, whether they can keep their pants on or not?

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  68. drstevej,
    I do think it’s a more modern thing being pushed in pastoral circles. Students were paid to hand out sermon service flyers in seminary. My preaching professor was avidly for citation, but I know most of my classmates buy sermons now. I also went to a couple of megachurches in Atlanta and heard the exact same sermon, down to the “personal examples”. And at one of those, the pastor went on and on about how he spent 40 hours a week writing his sermons, but that church was the second church where I heard that sermon. The dishonesty is a bit frightening.

    Like I said, I’m okay with citation. But I don’t think that’s what happens much anymore. That article certainly didn’t make much of a point about it.

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  69. Lea: Women who report things like abusein church are not considered as trustworthy as the pastors buddies.

    Ah, and now we get to the true motive behind patriarchal complementarism – the ‘Good Ol’ Boys’ know how to keep their mouths shut. The women just can’t seem to understand how boys will be boys . . .

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  70. Robert M: I’d suggest one who can’t keep one’s hands to oneself just because of being alone in a room with someone else shouldn’t be in pastoral ministry to begin with.

    Or any other position of responsibility. Keep ’em in kindergarten until they can stay in the lines.

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  71. Max: Cut it out and stick it on your refrigerator, folks!

    You can’t trust a preacher who needs rules to control his flesh; they are the first to break them! These guys are scared to death that some Jezebel is going to bring them down, all the while committing adultery in their hearts. Perhaps we need to have a rule about thinning them out of the church.

    My young Calvinist pastor’s wife used to explain how he could NEVER preach in a church (like 99.9% of them) in which the young ladies are wearing short skirts and low necklines (which is why we had a defacto dress code, and a formal one was even floated). I had a hard time biting my tongue and not expressing my sympathy for her for having a husband with a lust problem. I am not sure if he wore blinders like the black and blue Pharisees when he went out in public or???

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  72. drstevej:
    My preaching professor was Haddon Robinson and retreads would not be tolerated

    We were allowed to use short quotes, but we had to state the source within the sermon.

    Sadly, I don’t think many of my classmates spend the time in the Bible that being a preacher of God should require. Because it’s not just preaching sermons, but being a student of the Bible.

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  73. TS00,

    Have you seen The Transformed Heologian on Facebook? Takes real hard comp posts and switches gender. Seen a couple people get really offended when the same things are said about men that are regularly said about women.

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  74. TS00: My young Calvinist pastor’s wife used to explain how he could NEVER preach in a church (like 99.9% of them) in which the young ladies are wearing short skirts and low necklines (which is why we had a defacto dress code, and a formal one was even floated).

    A local young Calvinist church planter confessed to his “accountability group” that he “struggled” with pornography. Good Lord! Why in the world is the organized church allowing these youngsters in the pulpit?!

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  75. Max: A local young Calvinist church planter confessed to his “accountability group” that he “struggled” with pornography.Good Lord!Why in the world is the organized church allowing these youngsters in the pulpit?!

    The same pastor asserted that ‘all men struggle with pornography’. Now that’s enough to make a woman want to stay off the streets!

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  76. ishy:
    TS00,

    Have you seen The Transformed Heologian on Facebook? Takes real hard comp posts and switches gender. Seen a couple people get really offended when the same things are said about men that are regularly said about women.

    I will have to check that out!

    Sounds like the ‘man who has it all’ site that flips gender on stuff to make a point For instance: “TODAY’S DEBATE: Should male journalists be told to hide their shape in loose fitting trousers to create a non-tempting work environment for journalists?”

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  77. DD,

    “I’m a CS person IRL. (computer science person in real life)”
    ++++++++

    so, it’s not ceremonial skating in red lederhosen, then.

    …just when i thought i was catching on…

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  78. TS00: The same pastor asserted that ‘all men struggle with pornography’. Now that’s enough to make a woman want to stay off the streets!

    I heard a Christian man say something like that awhile back, then make a comment about how women were temptresses, and then go on for about 2 hours about all the R-rated HBO series he watched (like Game of Thrones). Another man pointed out that maybe that was contributing to his problem and he got really mad and said it was “different”. But I couldn’t help but wonder if a lot of Christians watch a whole lot of graphic sex on TV, but don’t believe that contributes to their struggles with lust.

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  79. Lea: Sounds like the ‘man who has it all’ site that flips gender on stuff to make a point For instance: “TODAY’S DEBATE: Should male journalists be told to hide their shape in loose fitting trousers to create a non-tempting work environment for journalists?”

    Most of the Heologian’s audience posts back in character, and that’s just as funny.

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  80. So how does the “Billy” rule apply when doing counseling? When I was in the pastorate, and now as a psychotherapist, there are situations in which, for the sake of confidentiality, there will be ONE MAN and ONE WOMAN alone in an office. The boundaries I set with female clients – proper seating distance, no “hugs”, intimate matters discussed in clinical language, etc., have been enough to protect my reputation for 40 years. On the other hand, since I was not interested in abusing anyone, everyone remained safe . . .

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  81. If women have to dress like ‘Little House on the Prairie’, why do Neo-Cals get to wear skinny jeans and tight t-shirts? Oh yeah, cause that’s what Jesus wore.

    Whether its the modesty cults or other cultures, it always seems a bit unfair that in modern day America such women and girls have to stick out like sore thumbs in their unnatural attire, while the men and boys wear whatever is in style. Not sure if it as much of an issue in other countries, if all dress similarly – but that has changed over the years. I enjoy diversity, and see a lot of unique styles in my liberal university town, but the poor young girls in their homemade, longsleeve cotton dresses always get me. They look like they feel so out of place, especially when visiting beachy places, like Southern Cal.

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  82. The Billy Graham rule, at its essence, says a person should not be alone with a person of the opposite gender if that person is not your spouse.

    Even at best, then, it doesn’t help victims of domestic abuse.

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  83. These people don’t live in the real world.

    I don’t even think Billy Graham lived in the real world but at least I can give him some slack since he was from the “Father knows best” era.

    This mindset is what is making Christianity appear less and less relevant.

    I’d say “There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza” but apparently since Liza and I aren’t married, I can’t sing a song addressing her.

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  84. ishy: Most of the Heologian’s audience posts back in character, and that’s just as funny.

    The same is true of the site I mentioned and yes, it is funny. I went to the Heologians facebook page and someone even referenced Man Who has it all in the comments!

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  85. TS00: If women have to dress like ‘Little House on the Prairie’, why do Neo-Cals get to wear skinny jeans and tight t-shirts? Oh yeah, cause that’s what Jesus wore.

    I think the skinny jeans types don’t usually mix with the prairie types (usually they have the ‘smokin’ hot wives), although the ‘modesty for women only’ thing gets peddled everywhere.

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  86. TS00: If women have to dress like ‘Little House on the Prairie’, why do Neo-Cals get to wear skinny jeans and tight t-shirts? Oh yeah, cause that’s what Jesus wore.

    When I was in college during the 80’s I knew a couple of Pentecostals that only wore skirts and dresses out of religious conviction, but what they wore seemed pretty much in line with what other girls were wearing. (At the time I don’t think anyone was wearing skirts above the knee.) I guess that has changed?

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  87. ishy: I heard a Christian man say something like that awhile back, then make a comment about how women were temptresses, and then go on for about 2 hours about all the R-rated HBO series he watched (like Game of Thrones). Another man pointed out that maybe that was contributing to his problem and he got really mad and said it was “different”. But I couldn’t help but wonder if a lot of Christians watch a whole lot of graphic sex on TV, but don’t believe that contributes to their struggles with lust.

    Back in the day IIRC there was a lot of talk in conservative evangelical circles about the decline in, um …, social propriety on television. The American Family Association advocated simple protective measures; things like simply switching the tube off, having supper around the dining room table rather than around the TV, etc.

    It would seem that there is a downside to the “christian liberty” mentality of the New Reformed. Maybe they need to make some covenants with their eyes; that would be a productive form of practical theology.

    But who has time for television? Good heavens! There is so much that is in need of doing.

    (Though I must confess to a fondness for the reboot of the BBC serial “Doctor Who”. What is not to like about a man who goes about doing good, who always gives his enemies the opportunity to repent and only sets about destroying them if they refuse, who lays down his life when necessary and who, having laid down his life, takes it up again? It reminds me of someone I find very appealing.)

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  88. Samuel Conner: But who has time for television? Good heavens! There is so much that is in need of doing.

    One of the wisest things I’ve ever done is to get rid of my TV, right around Y2K. I’ve not missed it at all. What a time sink, and for what? Distraction, mostly.

    Now I have the Web for that. Out of the frying pan, into the fire? :-/

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  89. Samuel Conner:
    It would seem that there is a downside to the “christian liberty” mentality of the New Reformed. Maybe they need to make some covenants with their eyes; that would be a productive form of practical theology.

    I think a lot of people just like to lust and don’t want to give it up. But of course, nobody talks about that in evangelical circles because for many people, it’s way more about appearances than actual holiness. Plus, as we’ve seen here, even if there’s abuse of many people, those pastors will still be defended and protected, so why even bother seeking to be holy?

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  90. Linda,

    It would be a bit like the church where I scheduled a meeting with the pastor to talk about some concerns I had. This was a small church, so pastor was in his office, and the secretary/receptionist was in the entrance area. He left the door open while we chatted. I could hear comments, chuckles, and gasps from the secretary in the next room. Who knows how much of what we discussed was repeated, but I left the church within a week.

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  91. Talk about NOT getting it! I don’t think these guys want to get it.

    Maybe it’s wrong to say this – forgive me – but I’ve never been able to stand Greg Laurie and his sneery voice. All of these guys who love the stage because they are so full of themselves.

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  92. Robert M,

    In the 90’s and on there was a pretty wide phenomenon among homeschooling families for the women and girls to wear either denim skirts and high-necked, long sleeve blouses or a more Mennonite style of homemade calico dresses. I am getting older, so that may have changed in the last few years. But the girls always stood out in public, with their very non-fashionable clothes, whereas their brothers tended to more readily fit in.

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  93. TS00,

    I’m from a Mennonite family on both sides, and so was my wife. That was EXACTLY my uncles and aunts (and my parents’) experience. The boys fit looked normal and in terms of how they dressed, but the girls stood out and were often ostracized.

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  94. readingalong: I remember reading a book years ago, Chuck Colson’s Prison Ministry, I think?, where he mentions he and associate were checking into a hotel; by chance his associate opened the hotel room door meant for Colson, and there were mirrors etc. set up for what they thought were compromising photos, so they skedaddled quickly.

    I wonder how Bill Hyles managed to never run into a situation like this?

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  95. “Thom Rainer Seems to Believe That the Billy Graham Rule Would Cause #metoo Incidents to Decline.”

    Thom Rainer and many others believe this to be true. WHICH is exactly why churches have predators roaming the halls and will continue to have them until they wake up and join the world. The world that has much to offer in the ways to keep people safe in work environments. They also need to stop teaching men/young men that they can’t control themselves.

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  96. Lydia:
    TS00,

    I knew Colson. Agree with him or not but he had a real conversion, did his time and went back in. Doesn’t happen like that very often.

    I’ve been reading on Warren Throckmorton’s blog, apparently American Association of Christian Counselors president Tim Clinton has been plagiarizing Chuck Colson’s old Breakpoint articles pretty freely.

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  97. ishy: …I know most of my classmates buy sermons now. I also went to a couple of megachurches in Atlanta and heard the exact same sermon, down to the “personal examples”.

    I’ve seen that same thing in our little corner of the world, but just from one of the ARC franchises. It just mystifies me that these guys do this routinely, while there are atheist and agnostic professors at our local college who would never think of serial plagiarism. Why? Because they have integrity [and maybe because they could also lose their jobs.]

    That’s where this relates to the original post. The BGR won’t solve anything, if the real problem is a lack of integrity.

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  98. GSD [Getting Stuff Done],

    The proven plagiarism of “preachers” like Driscoll would have resulted in them being fired at my secular/godless/moraless State U. While it does go on, I have personally being involved on an investigative committee, with repect to scientific misconduct, and I can say first hand that such “moral failings” are taken very seriously, and carefully, unlike churches seem to do…….. And church people wonder why Christianity is losing its influnce on our culture??

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  99. ishy: Especially when you have gems like this on major pastoral guide sites:

    ” Critics who say that preachers who use other people’s sermons lack integrity. Ignore these people. They have no idea what they’re talking about.”
    http://seniorpastorcentral.com/316/6-reasons-you-should-preach-other-pastors-sermons/

    I know he makes a very brief mention of “not trying to conceal the sources of tools we’ve borrowed”, but that was it. Most do conceal the fact that they bought or stole their sermons. And if he really meant it, wouldn’t he have made it a clearer point? You know, I don’t mind if a pastor cites stuff, but that’s not what happens at all, and I know many of them were hired, and offered pay, on the basis of writing their own sermon every week.

    I’m a bit mystified as to what useful function the preaching staff of large churches actually serves. There are good expositions of the biblical text available online. Many seminaries offer online classes if you want in-depth study. There is a vast literature of skilled exposition and commentary in print form, a lot available on-line at no cost (older, public domain material) or in paper form at low cost in terms of books still under copyright. I’d much rather read or hear exposition and application from a scholar of the text than from a paid professional speaker, especially if he is recycling other people’s work.

    And does the “lead preaching pastor” of a large group have any idea of what most of the people in that group actually need to hear? It seems more likely to me that the agenda isn’t “what these people need” but rather “what do I want them to do (to advance my agenda/’vision’).”

    It seems cult-like.

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  100. SiteSeer: Maybe it’s wrong to say this – forgive me – but I’ve never been able to stand Greg Laurie and his sneery voice. All of these guys who love the stage because they are so full of themselves.

    The FIC (fundagelical industrial complex) could not exist without alpha male strongmen like Laurie.

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  101. Headless Unicorn Guy: The BG Rule also originated among travelling evangelists in the Forties or Fifties, when cultural mores and expectations were different.

    And, BG developed the rule because there were so many evangelists, that had acted in such immoral ways that traveling evangelists and gospel artists did not have great moral reputations. For instance, in Loretta Lynn’s second autobiography she mentioned touring with a gospel group in the 1960’s that were more immoral than any country band, she had known. Also, I’d say that Aimee Simple McPherson’s immorality is what set back women preachers in the Evangelical world more than anything, even though most of the “new ways” of doing church can be traced back to her innovations in the 1930’s, such as the illustrated sermon.

    The BGR was basically to protect his reputation and by extension that of his ministry. Because he knew that there were members of the press that would misconstrue a picture of an innocent encounter to bring him down. It wasn’t meant to be a rule for every person or even every preacher. For instance, BG was an evangelist, not a pastor. While an evangelist does not have to be alone with a woman to do his job, though there are instances of him breaking his rule, such as meetings with Hillary Clinton and Queen Elizabeth, there is no way for a pastor to pastor if he refuses to be alone with half of his flock.

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  102. Samuel Conner:
    And does the “lead preaching pastor” of a large group have any idea of what most of the people in that group actually need to hear? It seems more likely to me that the agenda isn’t “what these people need” but rather “what do I want them to do (to advance my agenda/’vision’).”

    It seems cult-like.

    At the “nondenominational” megas, there’s a good bit of “Fluffy stuff that entertains and makes everybody feel good so they come back and pay more tithe.” No meat. No depth. Half the time, if they mention a verse at the beginning, they barely relate the rest to that verse and mention no other Scripture.

    New Calvinist churches are quite different, spending an hour on a single verse in the Law, but you better believe you are getting lots of their interpretation and propaganda. And lots of John Piper quotes. Since they don’t read outside their own circle, even if they do write their own sermons, much of their stuff sounds the same.

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  103. Bridget:
    “Thom Rainer Seems to Believe That the Billy Graham Rule Would Cause #metoo Incidents to Decline.”

    Thom Rainer and many others believe this to be true. WHICH is exactly why churches have predators roaming the halls and will continue to have them until they wake up and join the world. The world that has much to offer in the ways to keep people safe in work environments. They also need to stop teaching men/young men that they can’t control themselves.

    The “world” at work, for example, has law after law, rule upon rule, policy upon policy which are added to yearly and it still goes on. The lowly nobodies there don’t have recourse. The well heeled who lawyers see as a payout, do. It’s not what people think. The authorities, leaders and HR can keep adding more rules,policies, etc but it won’t help and the innocent person who forgot to open their door once will be pounced on because someone doesn’t like them. Thats how such things end up working. Laws, rules and policies don’t keep people safe unless everyone obeys them. They don’t.

    There isn’t enough bubble wrap out there to keep everyone “safe” from all the things that are now a part of #metoo. And that list is long as it encompasses everything from child molestation, child abuse, sex trafficking, child pornography rape, abuse, sexual harrasment, gender discrimination, manipulation, language offenses to being asked out at work and more.

    There is great danger to real victims in putting all these things in one pot. It not only dumbs down heinous crimes but many fall through the cracks.

    Just recently one of the big names of #metoo was accused of raping an underage boy (17) in a hotel room where his family took him and then paying him off. And not only that but many end up thinking they are compassionate by insisting children be United with their sex trafficker or “rent a kid” coyotes immediately in the name of PC or because they hate certain people more. Grooming gangs of sex traffickers can operate for years because it’s not PC for the authorities to go after the traffickers as they are PC. Now we are hearing about child slaves smuggled into Britian to work pot farms. The examples of looking the other way are many. By the people tasked with enforcement of laws, rules and policies.

    This is what happens when we don’t take everything on a case by case basis and, instead, lump it all together. We lose not only proportion but end up hurting poor vulnerable victims worse. No, the world is not safer. It certainly has more laws, rules, policies and regulations one can try to enforce with Justice after the fact. The church just caught up with the world, perhaps.

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  104. Lydia: No, the world is not safer.

    Preach it, sister.

    The world even at its best is not safer. In my former line of work, the health care industry, there are many well intentioned and even sometimes noble people, but that world is not safer. The meds that may save your life may be taken off the market tomorrow because; oops! Old Doc so and so, good hearted though he may be, may be developing early dementia or may be using drugs (a significant problem sometimes) and nobody has noticed. The research information sometimes is shown to be biased or even almost bogus. People suffer and die because of economic inability to purchase what they need. Drug companies are not outskirts of heaven ethically, but we have to have them. Note that I have not even mentioned personnel issue-just patient issues. You participate in this as a patient at your own risk. I participate as a patient at my own risk with knowledge of what I am doing and knowing that it is risky. It is the best we have to offer no matter how hard we try.

    When I was in practice a quick way to make some money was sue the doctor, ask for an amount equal to or less than a pre-set amount that the insurance company would pay rather than go to court and whappo. Findings against the doctor, be he having done something wrong or not, and away we go. Back when the amount was $20,000; no doubt it is more now. The lawyers knew this, of course. Was that ‘safe’ for the docs? Good grief no. It goes on one’s record at the medical board of licensure-guilty or not the doc is guilty. Let’s hear it for safe on the job.

    And is there hanky and panky among the personnel at the good ole hospital? We caught one male doc and one female tech in action in one of the x-rays rooms, and then we caught two female employees kissing in one of the dressing rooms. On the job. And we were just a small operation. Let’s hear it for how great the job is compared to the church.

    The world is not okay and it is not going to be okay and yes I can find that in the bible. The organization in which one finds the people who are the body of Christ as well as the wolves which prey on the sheep is not okay, and IMO it is this corruption in the church which is consistent with the idea of the whore of babylon-doomed for destruction just like the world is judged and doomed. We have to be and act like we are part of a different kingdom and look for a new heavens and a new earth, because the ‘world’ is destined to be destroyed and replaced and as for the ‘church’ that is where judgment begins.

    Just want to get everybody starting the day on a happy thought!!!

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  105. ishy: I think it’s to get a big pastor paycheck.

    There is a lot of pastoral care that can be done, visiting hospitals and delivering communion to people outside the home, weddings and funerals, etc. Whether they actually *do* any of it in some of these enormous churches I cannot say. I know what we do at mine, but I’m not in the non-denom set.

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  106. I don’t understand why the Billy Graham rule is so quickly dismissed. If it had been enforced, Jules Woodson would not be a victim. If it had been enforced, the Bill Hybels disaster would not have occurred. If it had been enforced, many of the tragic situations would not have occurred.

    I agree that it needs to be used for both male and female, especially in youth situations. The comment section of Rainer’s article points this out.

    Certainly don’t want to cut women or men out of the conversation or meetings, so that needs to be worked on so that all can be included in the conversation. There are ways to make that happen though it might take a little more work. It doesn’t need to mean nor should it, that women get turned down for jobs.

    The Billy Graham rule does not assume that all women are Jezebels or that all men are easily tempted. It helps to provide boundaries and to prevent false accusations. “Bearing False Witness” (#9 of the commandments) is in the same group of 10 as is “committing adultery” (#6). However, even eating in public with a member of the opposite sex can be an issue. “I saw so and so out at the restaurant with …. I think they were on a date! And as you know, in today’s culture in sexual issues (or many others) one is guilty until even if proven innocent!

    Certainly many sexual sins are as a result of power plays (Weinstein and others in his company). But others of them are also because of the weakness of the flesh and not because they are “serial abusers.” The individuals involved just got “too close” emotionally and physically.

    Who is the BG rule protecting? Often ourselves from ourselves — the world, the flesh and the Devil. It is not assuming that all women are Jezebels and all men are easily tempted. It is acknowledging our own weakness. “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love….” Anyone who feels that they have mastered this area of their lives should consider “let the one who thinks they stand, take heed (pay attention) lest you fall!”

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  107. Lydia: No, the world is not safer.

    That is not what I said, Lydia.

    By far, the institutions outside of the church are ahead of the game in trying to to protect children and people in general with policies and laws. That is what I said. And I am for that. I never said any of it was perfect or that we should lump it all together, and of course people have to obey laws for them to work. That is a no brainer.

    From what I have seen, women and children in the church have seen less justice (where they should see more) than women, children, and men seeking justice in the secular world. Maybe you have seen something different?

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  108. Don Jones: The Billy Graham rule does not assume that all women are Jezebels or that all men are easily tempted. It helps to provide boundaries and to prevent false accusations.

    1. Do you hear yourself? You’re worried about temptation and women lying, basically. I think you misunderstand how affairs happen, and you definitely misunderstand how and why abuse happens.

    2. Boundaries can be mental. Stop thinking every interaction with the opposite sex is ‘sexual’.

    Don Jones: However, even eating in public with a member of the opposite sex can be an issue.

    Now you’ve switched topics to indulging gossips. Honey, people will gossip about anything. People have asked me if I am dating my brother. I’m not living my life based on what uninformed malicious idiots might think is going on.

    What is left here? You can’t meet in public or private, basically. Adults don’t need constant chaperoning unless they are abusers who cannot be trusted.

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  109. Bridget: From what I have seen, women and children in the church have seen less justice (where they should see more) than women, children, and men seeking justice in the secular world.

    I do think this is true, however there is a long way to go in getting justice in the secular world as well. There are a ton of horror stories out there, but the answer is not throwing up our hands and saying we’ll never be perfect. The answer, imo, is educating people on risks from predators and changing the views of society. Maybe it is because I just listened to some podcasts with true horror stories about judges dismissing women’s fear of stalkers, most of whom went on to commit violent assault, rape, or worse, but we have a LONG way to go on this in general.

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  110. Now this is downright amusing. The website that uncritically presupposes and defends the complete innocence of every woman and complete guilt of every man in every allegation of sexual misconduct it covers is indignant with the BGR. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at your opposition; BGR is bad for business.

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  111. The more conversations and discussions I read around this “BGR” (being a nerd I think ‘Boy Genius Report’) makes me think the people that need this have a couple of issues – 1.) they think most everyone in the world is out to trap them in some compromising situation and 2.) they think most everyone else in the world can’t help being controlled by their base instincts.
    I think the former is driven by something they’ve publicly denounce but are guilty of, aka they’re hypocrites. And the latter is probably projection of themselves.
    I’ve worked with men, women, hetro and homo sexuals for a few decades now and my experience has been if something really happened or not people know regardless if the “BGR” was followed or not. And the reason being is that there is history of the person doing it and they leave a trail behind them that makes most reasonable people go ‘hmmm, what is that about?’. The rest of us tend to be able to control our more base instincts and just want to do our job and get on with our lives with minimal drama.
    Off my soap box now. Have a great day everyone!
    PS. this was driven by some comments I saw by a ‘respected’ christian who i’ve heard speak at WCCC a few times. The more you know…

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  112. Lydia: This is what happens when we don’t take everything on a case by case basis and, instead, lump it all together. We lose not only proportion but end up hurting poor vulnerable victims worse. No, the world is not safer. It certainly has more laws, rules, policies and regulations one can try to enforce with Justice after the fact. The church just caught up with the world, perhaps.

    And to think they had the message that ‘the law cannot save’ all along. It is only genuine love for others that will lead to doing the right thing. That is what God was trying to tell us all along, and The Church went right back to selling ‘the law’, in various, bright-colored packaging. Because where there is ‘law’ there are rulers, and where there are rulers, there is profit, control and the ability to do whatever you want.

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  113. Don Jones: I don’t understand why the Billy Graham rule is so quickly dismissed. If it had been enforced, Jules Woodson would not be a victim. If it had been enforced, the Bill Hybels disaster would not have occurred.

    I respectfully disagree with this, it wouldn’t have happened the same way but it would still have happened. And you have no way to prove it wouldn’t have happened, only conjecture.

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  114. Lea: Adults don’t need constant chaperoning unless they are abusers who cannot be trusted.

    Or unless they are fundagelicals, bound to obey every new ‘law’ their ruling Pharisees make up to make them more holy.

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  115. Lea: Now you’ve switched topics to indulging gossips.

    When I was in practice I had a professional and personal reputation to maintain so I did something quite similar to the BG rule in my personal life. The issue never came up professionally. And it was all about malicious gossips. I would like to have been able to say that I thought that every man was out to grab me, but alas it was just sooo not true, so that was not it. And the idea of taking on the problems that go with it had I been messing around was not remotely attractive to me. But gossips. Good grief. I was the first woman to practice medicine in that county, and I was reminded of that regularly. I had my share of detractors for that reason alone. I dang sure was not going to give the gossips any leeway for their nasty mouths to chomp down on. What they did they did on their own; I did not have to blame myself for carelessly feeding the gossip machine.

    What I absolutely do not understand is why anybody remotely should resent me for that. How remotely is it anybody’s business if I live my own life under freely and individually chosen somewhat more cautious guidelines.

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  116. Tandt,

    That’s because we are all just gossips, conspiracists and set on taking down the True Church. It certainly couldn’t be because the Good Ol Boys have been running the show for so long and silencing the wimminfolk.

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  117. okrapod: What I absolutely do not understand is why anybody remotely should resent me for that. How remotely is it anybody’s business if I live my own life under freely and individually chosen somewhat more cautious guidelines.

    I do not think I would condemn anyone for taking what they viewed as necessary precautions. It can, however, cross the line into good old political CYA.

    I recall many years ago when I was a young buck just starting out. I was in a small branch of a major corporation that had been set up in the wild west, and the guy in charge had apparently served his time and was finally going back to New York. He very kindly tried to explain to me that if I wanted to ‘make it in this world’ I had to ‘play by the rules’ (of CYA). Don’t trust anyone, use every person and situation to your personal advantage, kiss up to everyone, etc. I went home, shaking my head, knowing that I was not meant for the corporate world. I’m no saint, but I refused to spend my entire life winking at abuse and injustice so that I could ‘get ahead’. Ahead of what?

    My spouse and I decided we both wanted out, and started our own business. And, believe me, once you start growing, you have to resist the temptation to walk on your employees as you watch out for your own interests.

    Somewhere along the line we have to make sense of what the world really is all about, and if it is about our personal success and comfort, or, in some tiny way, making it a better place for at least one other person.

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  118. DD: I respectfully disagree with this, it wouldn’t have happened the same way but it would still have happened. And you have no way to prove it wouldn’t have happened, only conjecture.

    I respectfully disagree with your response: Nor do you have any way of proving it wouldn’t have happened. Just conjecture on your part.

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  119. okrapod: What I absolutely do not understand is why anybody remotely should resent me for that.

    I don’t resent you, of course. I do think you were operating in a different time with a different set of cultural assumptions, as was Billy Graham. I also suspect you had enough sense not to enforce boundaries in a way that truly hurt others (ala the ‘lets leave this woman on the side of the road in the dark, lest anybody get the wrong idea). And lastly, I think many people who try to enforce such rules today are fighting imaginary gossips, not real ones. Reasonable people today are not shocked by coworkers having lunch in public.

    I fully believe in setting boundaries in personal and professional relationships. Most people do this to some extent. I just see the BGR as far too broad to be workable for most. The making of this as a ‘rule’ rather than a personal choice of boundaries at different churchy organizations means that people are not free to evaluate situations with reason for their own situations. I think they are taking a shortcut by using this rule, instead of reasoning things out in a sensible way. I could say more but I think it’s probably been said.

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  120. Bridget,

    Yes I have seen different but I don’t count the church because it’s voluntary. you are more than welcome to leave and shout it to the rooftops the evils that you have seen there.

    It’s just this idea that the world is safer that is so naive. Criminals, cons, predators and such ignore the laws, policies, regulations, etc. They will ignore them at church, too.

    It’s like the sign that says ‘no weapons allowed being an advertisement’ for criminals. 🙂

    The only answer is to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves and protect ourselves. And hopefully teach our children the same.

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  121. DD: Don Jones: I don’t understand why the Billy Graham rule is so quickly dismissed. If it had been enforced, Jules Woodson would not be a victim. If it had been enforced, the Bill Hybels disaster would not have occurred.

    I respectfully disagree with this, it wouldn’t have happened the same way but it would still have happened. And you have no way to prove it wouldn’t have happened, only conjecture.

    There are a lot of issues here. The behavior of Andy S was inappropriate for his role because he was working with children. He should have been removed when he was initially caught overstepping. But who guards the girls and boys? There WERE rules in place here that were not enforced! It is silly to say adding another rule that would not be enforced would have worked.

    As for Hybels, again, he was at the head of the organization. I don’t know what their rules were, but it seems reasonable that affairs, molestation and hitting on married staff were not acceptable. The problem is when *his* behavior was pointed out, the elders, who were the only ones who could address this, believed hybels and wrote off the women. This is not because of a lack of BGR. These issues are deeper ones.

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  122. Lea: The making of this as a ‘rule’ rather than a personal choice of boundaries at different churchy organizations means that people are not free to evaluate situations with reason for their own situations. I think they are taking a shortcut by using this rule, instead of reasoning things out in a sensible way.

    Isn’t this what Jesus said? Didn’t he ‘break all the rules’ – at least according to the ‘rulers’ – because he was the maker of all, and rules are supposed to serve people, not vice versa?

    All my life I have fought against those who tried to tell me I must do _______ because that is the ‘law’. Too bad if it hurts the people I love and am claiming to serve. Too bad if it goes against everything inside of me. Dems da rules. When I began to see that it was just the same in The Church, I was devastated.

    Sometimes we just have to say ‘People matter more’, and face the consequences.

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  123. Okrapod–I sure as heck don’t fault you! Many corporations have instituted a revised version of the BGR. Revised as in no one on one behind closed doors for any duo, regardless of gender. Trips can always include a third person. Often the offer is made to “take your spouse at our expense if they can get away.”

    None of is aimed at implying either men or women cannot keep their hormones in check. None of it assumes women are temptresses and men randy goats.

    All of it is just aimed at preventing false accusations. Corporately it is just easier and cheaper to give no room for false accusations.

    It doesn’t have to hold either gender back, allows proper ways to prevent abuse(there are glass walls, etc when confidentiality is an issue) and while no, it doesn’t prevent predation is DOES cut down. Folks do realize something is awry when a person resents those rules. If your ceo wants to “bend the rules” and take you to Bermuda alone, you might have clue he or she is up to no good. Should not need the rule to tell you that, but some folks are just clueless.

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  124. TS00,

    What about war crimes, torture, Nuremberg? Can we really let ourselves off the hook by claiming we ‘were just following the rules’?

    Same goes in The Church. That beloved and trusted pastor encourages you to do what may be ‘legal’ but your gut tells you is immoral; what do you do? If you’ve been brainwashed into reflexively rusting and obeying ‘authority’ you will likely do as you are told.

    How is it that people who claim to read and know scripture do not see how often this is rejected therein? Evil will always claim to be ‘Good’. The Lie will always claim to be The Truth. The wolf will always show up dressed as a shepherd, or at least a sheep. How is it that we don’t get that?

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  125. Lea,

    “The answer, imo, is educating people on risks from predators and changing the views of society.”

    Bingo. Back when I used to do sexual harassment training -before it became big business- and the insurance companies took over– it was stunning how few people had any training on basic manners at work. Now that is a benign example but also a starting point. But that was also true for women not having any tools in their toolbox for how to handle such things.

    When I was younger my mother told me about her first job out of college and what she experienced there from the boss. It was the 1940s but she was definitely being sexually harassed as we legally Define it today. She wrote her mother about it and received a reply with some money saying quit immediately. But her mom also gave her some strategies on dealing with such cads for the future. We don’t train our daughters well. and we don’t tell our kids that no matter what you do or where you go life isn’t always Fair and you don’t always win. When they understand that they can move on to productivity while protecting themselves.

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  126. okrapod,

    I spent some time the other day with a young Millennial social worker, very liberal. I was a bit shocked to hear her say she wished a certain colleague would stop texting her. Since I use text for work all the time I just didn’t understand it. She said she didn’t want to receive a lot of texts from men out of respect for her husband. Huh? She is not a right-wing Christian. at. all. The exact opposite. Is she wise or discriminating against male colleagues because she receives texts from female colleagues all the time?

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  127. TS00,

    The problem is we can’t force people to love one another even if we agree on the definition of that word and what it entails. Not even at church. Lol

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  128. Lea,

    “I fully believe in setting boundaries in personal and professional relationships. ”

    Another great point. one of the problems I saw starting back in the 90s is that companies started becoming very involved in people’s personal lives or a culture that really promoted groupthink. It all sounded really good but as far as being more fun and we really care about you but there’s usually not a good result. During that time I came across a very interesting book called “Corporate Cults”. Lots of government agencies have the same problem.

    https://www.amazon.com/Corporate-Cults-Insidious-All-Consuming-Organization/dp/0814404936

    Churches tend to have the same issue. they can quickly become bastien’s of groupthink and people don’t even realize it. the very things that attracted us might be the very things that become a problem.

    I see boundaries as very important because we need to think about what they are for us before we get involved. I look back and amazed at what I rationalized away in certain situations.

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  129. TS00,

    “And, believe me, once you start growing, you have to resist the temptation to walk on your employees as you watch out for your own interests”

    You are speaking for yourself here. not me or others I know who took absolutely not one penny and suffered a lot so they could pay their employees first.

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  130. Don Jones,

    The proof isn’t required on my behalf. You posted a theory without any proof. The best that can be said about the rule working is that not everyone using it has been been caught in the act. I could do an internet search as easily as you could to determine the number of people following that rule that have been caught.
    And to proof it anyway, the fact that it occurred proves it would have happened regardless of the ‘rules’ place. Hybels was going to do what he did no matter what. There’s a speed limit but it doesn’t stop people from going over the limit.

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  131. Lydia: I spent some time the other day with a young Millennial social worker, very liberal. I was a bit shocked to hear her say she wished a certain colleague would stop texting her. …. She said she didn’t want to receive a lot of texts from men out of respect for her husband. Is she wise or discriminating against male colleagues because she receives texts from female colleagues all the time?

    What she is saying is not consistent. Is it ‘a certain colleague’ or is it ‘lots of texts from men (plural)’? If one guy is out of line then she needs to put a stop to it. Now.

    If it is ‘men’ in general, and if they are no more texting her than the women are, then my guess is trouble at home with hubbie who may be checking her phone and who knows what perhaps else.

    If somehow her phone is a men magnet for the whole workforce, then there is a problem and she is probably it.

    I would bet that she knows what the problem is, has not solved it for whatever reason, and is talking about it instead of solving it because that is how people sometimes do.

    Or not.

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  132. Lea,

    Exactly. And it create a scenario were, even if he used the BGR, the predatory behavior was going to happen. An ennoblement environment was created, he was a protected man at WCCC and knew it. Comments like ‘flavor of the month’ informs us that people knew and did nothing until forced to.

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  133. okrapod,

    You can imagine I didn’t ask for those details. Lol. She presents as a very sharp professional young lady so it just surprised me. But you never know. If it were a government-issued phone for her job it might be a problem but it was her personal phone.

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  134. okrapod: What she is saying is not consistent. Is it ‘a certain colleague’ or is it ‘lots of texts from men (plural)’? If one guy is out of line then she needs to put a stop to it. Now.

    I was wondering about that myself. Maybe that guy is tipping over a line and she senses it? If so, it is wise of her to backoff. If it’s her husband being jealous, that might be a separate problem.

    I receive texts from coworkers here and there, sometimes about work sometimes about other things. But none of them text incessantly.

    Lydia: But her mom also gave her some strategies on dealing with such cads for the future.

    I’m sure it was very helpful, and I think I would have had the same advice. Sometimes the easiest and least damaging way to deal with that stuff is to leave. The problem is not really usually dealing with ‘cads’, it’s dealing with them in a situation where you have to see them every day and they may have some sort of power over you. That require deftness and even the best advice will not work with some people.

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  135. Don Jones: Certainly don’t want to cut women or men out of the conversation or meetings, so that needs to be worked on so that all can be included in the conversation. There are ways to make that happen though it might take a little more work. It doesn’t need to mean nor should it, that women get turned down for jobs.

    If you’re talking strictly about churches or religious organizations then I suppose they can do what they want.

    If you’re expecting me to follow the “BGR” in the secular world, then that’s not going to happen.

    I work in an workplace where there’s a majority of women. Many of them I consider friends as well as co-workers. This includes single, as well as married women.

    I need to interact with my co-workers in order to get my job done. In our 24 hour lab, the night shift consists of 2 people, possibly male and female. If someone tried to invoke the BGR, it would impact our operations significantly.

    I would not be able to meet with our medical director to release blood products, I would not be able to meet with my boss, I would be forbidden from inspecting our warehouse, conduct regulatory audits and on and on.

    Yes, I sometimes go for lunch with these women, in the same hospital complex as my wife. She must think I’m quite the lothario being *seen* with all these different women.

    Just waiting for the clown show to start when some fool (male or female) tries to invoke the BGR as a “religious” practice in the workplace.

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  136. So. A predator is going to prey and an abuser is going to abuse, rules or no rules. Therefore there should not be any rules, because the only no-no sexual behavior is bound to be predation and/or abuse since nobody yields to temptation and nobody is put into a difficult spot by anybody else and, yes, gossips don’t gossip. So, no rules.

    That sounds like letting the bad guys win without even putting up a respectable struggle.

    Why not let individuals decide what rules or lack of rules work best for them.

    We have recently seen the Italy changing the words of ‘lead us not into temptation’ into something less suggestive that God might actually lead somebody into temptation, but the proposed changes in the terminology still maintain the idea of temptation-just not blaming any ‘leading’ in that direction on God.

    My point is, what can be wrong with trying to avoid the near proximity of temptation, said temptation being either for oneself or for the other person. How is that not consistent with the prayer? And if one is subject to unwanted temptations, like an alcoholic hanging out in a bar but not drinking might be, why would it not be better to stay away from the bar (brown bag a lunch even) than to dee double dare oneself in some situation which would be tempting.

    IMO, it is true that middle aged men live with wives who do not understand them, or more likely understand them all too well. They don’t need to be tempted to get an ‘office wife’ to soothe the problem. Even skip lunch if necessary.

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  137. Lea,

    Oh they almost always start out as “cads”. I must have read hundreds of cases of sexual harrasment and it always started out that way 🙂 But now we have laws protecting us, right? So it shouldn’t happen?

    The point is it does happen and we need tools in our tool box for how to handle it. And we can start with teaching people how to document events (including the direct but firm “no”) without using workplace resources that can be monitored.

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  138. Way late to this. I agree with a lot of the deeper roots/questions mentioned here, questions and roots that if asked and addressed would ultimately get at the heart of preventing objectifying and devaluing people… But also, I think if a ministry culture priortizes these questions from the start it will naturally weed out sociopaths, NPD, heavy narcissism that isn’t quite personality disordered, cluster B personalities in general, any anti-social behaviors, etc. that enables abuse and mistreatment to happen.

    Some deeper questions and thoughts I think about in regard to these topics:

    Is this a culture of projecting onto reality, or discerning and receiving it? Is this a person who constantly projects themselves onto others? Premptively asserting and dominating the self and one’s own needs and opinions over others or working *with* what’s going on, being thoughtful, practicing self and others awareness?

    Is this a culture (and person) of empathy and a culture (and person) that can process shame and change?

    Centering persons and learning how to figure out people as individuals, one by one, without stereotypying and without speaking for them and forming narratives around and with them all without their permission or voice being included. This is as opposed to two common errors that happen in place of it: assuming and centering “sin” as your lens for everyone and everything…and the other extreme, centering a naivety that everyone is respectful and has pure and good intentions toward you and those around them. Assuming the best is not wise, and only a person who has never been abused or oppressed would live by that kind of mantra. (Or someone who is seriously repressing or suppressing their former or perhaps current abuse and trauma, I suppose.)*

    Along the lines of projection: Viewing people as extensions of one’s self vs viewing them as separate people with complex, individual lives who exist in time and space outside the very limited times you interact with them.

    A question to always be asked: Is how I am treating this person hindering or prohibiting their potential for actualizing good in some way for me and the community we are operating in?

    Lots more. Just throwing more onto the discussion and mirroring back a lot of what has been said.

    *When I was in New Cal circles, they operated in practice and theology by using sin as the lens and center of their anthropology, but they also kept saying the phrase “Assume the best!” It would take awhile (lol) for me to write out all the ways that contradiction played out negatively and cancelled out any or most opportunity for discernment and nuance in understanding and approaching relationships.

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  139. Lea,

    (The reverse is probably true too, I just can’t speak to it)

    The vast majority of people working together are going to have no interest in each other. I think most of this is either solving problems that don’t exist or creating problems where there were none before. If I text my boss that I’m running late he puts his wife on the chain that’s just making it awkward for no reason, for instance.

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  140. okrapod: Why not let individuals decide what rules or lack of rules work best for them.

    But adapting somebody else’s rule (from 50 years ago and totally different circumstances) because a third person decided it was necessary is the opposite of that.

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  141. Lea: I do think this is true, however there is a long way to go in getting justice in the secular world as well. There are a ton of horror stories out there,

    Yes. I know there are horror stories. But at least issues can be reported and noted. Not so much in churches, where it is most often handled in house on the down low and perps are not reported and education and training are behind the times.

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  142. I’m also a retired government worker. I often went out to lunch with male colleagues. We were both married. My husband and I worked for the same place. He had no problems when I was going out to lunch with people of either sex. He was often out in the field with women. It didn’t bother me at all. I trusted him and he trusted me. I don’t think that I’m an overly attractive woman. Just your average woman, but one who has a good personality. This has been true all my married and single life. I’ve met with many male counselors over the yrs. Never gave it a second thought as to if my safety was a concern. Seems like the people who are the most concerned about this are the ones who have the most to hide. I was always told by my mom that if you point a finger at me, you have 3 pointing back at you.

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  143. okrapod: Why not let individuals decide what rules or lack of rules work best for them.

    Hear Hear! I agree! And while we’re at it let’s treat each other as decent human beings cohabiting on this place we call Earth. It’s not difficult to be nice to each other and doesn’t cost you anything.

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  144. Thanks everyone for the good conversation, very interesting to me. I apologize for some of my grammar mistakes, they do make for a bit more fun reading I imagine. Carry over from my professional career, fail fast, get to market first, etc etc etc

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  145. Don Jones: I don’t understand why the Billy Graham rule is so quickly dismissed. If it had been enforced, Jules Woodson would not be a victim.

    If I recall correctly, Andy Savage had already been told not to be alone with any of the girls before that eventful drive to the secluded area. He chose to disregard it. I don’t know what kind of enforcement you think should have happened.

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  146. Lydia: It’s just this idea that the world is safer that is so naive.

    That is naive. I certainly don’t believe the world is safer and didn’t say that it was.

    Lydia: Criminals, cons, predators and such ignore the laws, policies, regulations, etc. They will ignore them at church, too.

    But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have them. When you have them there can at least be consequences when they are breached, in any realm. Otherwise, we have the wild west.

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  147. Lea: But who guards the girls and boys? There WERE rules in place here that were not enforced!

    We see this in all realms as well. Not enforcing the guidelines/laws already in place. That’s why we need the rules and training, yet it still won’t stop “all” abuses I’m sure.

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  148. Lydia: Is she wise or discriminating against male colleagues because she receives texts from female colleagues all the time?

    It depends on what the male colleague was texting her about. If work, then maybe she is discriminating. If he is texting her regarding nonwork issues, then maybe he’s a cad? If she has been clear with him about what is not appropriate and he continues, then she needs to go to HR and get help. Hopefully, guidelines are in place.

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  149. Robert M: If I recall correctly, Andy Savage had already been told not to be alone with any of the girls before that eventful drive to the secluded area.He chose to disregard it.I don’t know what kind of enforcement you think should have happened.

    Well, after the incident, it should have been reported to law enforcement, not to church leaders. This is where education needs to take place in churches.

    Many Church leaders can’t be trusted to report.

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  150. Lydia: It’s just this idea that the world is safer that is so naive.

    “SAFE? THERE’S NOWHERE THAT’S ‘SAFE’!”
    — Sandor “The Hound” Clegayne, to Brienne of Tarth, Game of Thrones

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  151. Jack: Just waiting for the clown show to start when some fool (male or female) tries to invoke the BGR as a “religious” practice in the workplace.

    So what would you do? Let us say that you are at minimum the supervisor and at most the owner of the place. You ask SusieMae to go to lunch with you, one on one at a public restaurant, and she declines. About the third time she does that you demand to know why. She says she practices BGR as a religious practice. Is she in trouble with you; does her religious practice cause a problem regarding lunch-specifically lunch, not job assignment?

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  152. Geva Roberts,

    “Seems like the people who are the most concerned about this are the ones who have the most to hide.”
    ++++++++++++

    or “think” they have something to hide.

    christian culture breeds people who are terrified of every impulse they have, and overanalyze everything about themselves and others.

    those in christian culture are especially terrified of sexuality. noticing and appreciating what is attractive about a person is escalated into the sexual sin zone. it either means they have already sinned somehow or else are on the edge of that ‘extremely dangerous slippery slope’.

    being a sinful being alive in a sinful world, wracked with sinful impulses and motives all day long… yes, such a person will assume they have things to hide they’re not even aware of.

    yeah, that sure sounds like ‘life in all its fulness’. /s

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  153. okrapod: She says she practices BGR as a religious practice.

    I’m not sure how the BGR is a true religious practice unless we are worshiping Billy Graham now. Jesus certainly met alone with women. Perhaps one of the lawyers could weigh in…

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  154. okrapod: So what would you do?Let us say that you are at minimum the supervisor and at most the owner of the place.You ask SusieMae to go to lunch with you, one on one at a public restaurant,and she declines.About the third time she does that you demand to know why.She says she practices BGR as a religious practice.Is she in trouble with you; does her religious practice cause a problem regarding lunch-specifically lunch, not job assignment?

    Isn’t saying, on a personal level, you practice the rule versus invoking the rule in a workplace, two different things?

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  155. okrapod: Let us say that you are at minimum the supervisor and at most the owner of the place. You ask SusieMae to go to lunch with you, one on one at a public restaurant, and she declines. About the third time she does that you demand to know why.

    If it’s not actually work related I don’t see that as an issue. I also think we should respect people’s boundaries, even if I do think the BGR is a stupid one.

    Sidenote, I was at a conference and before we headed the airport my old boss wanted me to have lunch with him and my other coworker. I said I’d rather not, I’ll just grab something at the airport. He asked me like three times and finally offered to pay! So I sat and let him buy me lunch because he was being weird about it. All I wanted to do was sit in the lobby, jeez.

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  156. Lea: I’m not sure how the BGR is a true religious practice unless we are worshiping Billy Graham now.

    Look up the theological concept of ‘occasion of sin’ specifically what is called the ‘proximate occasion of sin’. That is the terminology used by catholicism and I am not sure who else. In conservative protestantism the idea is more apt to be heard in the idea that if something might be a place of temptation then stay away from it. It is very much a theological concept. The vocabulary words differ but the ideas are the same. Billy just lived it one way for his own reasons, and now some people are saying that what he did might be a good idea now. Under this religious concept, however, sex is by no means the only issue. Sex just happens to be one potential aspect of proximate occasion of sin, and just happens to be what this post is about.

    I think that it is necessary to deal with this issue and that what the theologians say about it, that this differs from person to person and not just from situation to situation, is correct. Wiki has a nice little short and concise piece on this under the heading of ‘occasion of sin’.

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  157. Bridget: And to be clear, the woman doesn’t need to give a reason. She is free to refuse as often as she wants as far as I’m concerned.

    Exactly. And I’m not running around trying to make somebody have lunch with me who doesn’t want to either.

    But it shouldn’t be a workplace rule and it shouldn’t be widely practiced in a way that is discriminatory in the workplace. It shouldn’t result in pastors keeping the door wide open on private counseling session where other people can hear, because that’s just bad practice. If there is an *individual* with whom you need an extra boundary because they are unstable? Or have legitimately shown interest in you? Sure. I just disagree with its being promoted as an answer to all the questions and the only thing accepted as ‘respectful to my wife’ or whatever, because I think it’s both wrong, harmful to the ability of people to relate platonically in a natural way without bringing sex into everything, and sometimes actively harmful.

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  158. okrapod: So what would you do? Let us say that you are at minimum the supervisor and at most the owner of the place. You ask SusieMae to go to lunch with you, one on one at a public restaurant, and she declines. About the third time she does that you demand to know why. She says she practices BGR as a religious practice. Is she in trouble with you; does her religious practice cause a problem regarding lunch-specifically lunch, not job assignment?

    Great thought experiment!
    If it was a non-business related activity. I’d respect it and leave it there. No hard feelings.
    However, this afternoon I had a meeting with one of our managers, in her office, her and I, to discuss lab renovations. The meeting was about an hour long and I have to review this as part of my responsibility to ensure regulatory compliance. If that person started invoking the BGR using religion as their reason. I would respect it and then report to my director the reason why I was unable to ensure the task was done. Let the chips fall where they may after that.
    However this manager would be precluded from doing any meaningful at all as her director and half her team are males. BGR is a useless rule as far as I’m concerned and one more reason why the influence of religion is being steadily eroded. How can anyone take this seriously?

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  159. Lydia: You are speaking for yourself here. not me or others I know who took absolutely not one penny and suffered a lot so they could pay their employees first.

    Actually I am speaking of things not financial in nature. And, I will confess, of things over which my spouse and I do not necessarily see eye to eye. I believe that it is easy to justify asking things of your employees that you would not want done to you, even if it is simply requesting a last minute task that you may not even be aware may require an employee to, say, miss their kid’s soccer game or something. I am just trying to point out that one must be ever cautious as a small business owner to view employees as valuable people with lives outside of your business, and make sure they know they can speak up and say, ‘I’m sorry, I cannot really do what you are asking in the timeframe you have given me.’ One might not even be aware of a potential problem, because no one complains. I sort of discovered this ‘issue’ in a roundabout way. Often it is ‘easy’ to pay people well, even generously, but take unthinking advantage of their desire to be a good worker. Just sayin.

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  160. TS00,

    Ok. then I disagree with you concerning things that are not of a financial nature, too. Employees are adults that contract with us for certain work and should be treated as professionals and such until they give you reason not to. if they offer or decide to go above and beyond it should always be reciprocated in some way. Using people or taking them for granted is one of my biggest pet peeves– ever.

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  161. Lydia,

    Agreed. That is my point, but guess I am not making it well. You might say it’s a battle I face, because not all on my team recognize how they manipulate others. Or maybe they do.

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  162. The BGR practice was about well known Christian leaders and honey traps. The question today is how deep pocketed secular or Christian “innocent” leaders can protect themselves from accusations in this day and time. Insurance almost always demands a settlement to stay out of court. So we have that which can be unfair to either side.

    I personally don’t think any form of BGR is feasible. I traveled with male colleagues for years, who mostly became friends, and dealt with the problem a bit but I also had firm boundaries in this respect going in. My worst experience happened in the 80’s by a lesbian. I had to lose money on a business deal to get away from that situation. So I did.

    Again, the problem with #metoo is we talk in generalities instead of specific incidents, ages, circumstances, etc, so no matter what is said, someone else has a different perspective based on how severe the situation was they are thinking about. Not all tools fit every situation. But just about every large group will have some jerks, cons, predators, etc. The bottom line is we have legal protection on the books for sexual harassment.. Every organization, except church, has to abide by EEOC. Most have additional policies galore. So how is that working out? If this is happening at work with a big cheese, the last place I advise people to go is HR. HR is there to protect the company. Church is voluntary. Paying your mortgage, isn’t. And we are free to share our experiences with the world.

    Everyone has a right to protect themselves. And take my late step father’s advice: Never work in a church for a paycheck.

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  163. TS00,

    It’s a big problem everywhere and something I have seen get progressively worse over the last 25 years in my org development career. The problem is the manipulators stay and the good ones leave. You can lose some great people that way.

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  164. Bridget,

    The only thing I have seen come from sexual harassment laws that were put into effect in such good faith is a two tiered justice system. It all depends on who you are. And insurance companies took it over. And adding policy after policy and regulation after regulation in corporate America has had an opposite effect. I think it was Netflix that instituted the 5 second eye contact rule. One could not look at another more than five seconds without looking away or it could be considered hostile workplace behavior. Look it up. I have seen much progressive stupidity surrounding this issue since the 80’s. Grown ups need to get back to core mission.

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  165. Bridget,

    He is a work colleague that works in a completely different organization but they collaborate on projects. I know him which is why I found it even more interesting. He is a straight arrow and overly professional. I text him! I just found her position fascinating in light of this discussion, her age and position. Ya never know.

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  166. Lydia,

    This sounds like stupidity.

    At the same time, there has to be policies and rules or there is no way to accuse someone of a wrong if there are no wrongs stipulated at a firm, or anywhere else.

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  167. Bridget,

    That’s a bit drastic. It’s not “either/or”. Laws or no laws. It’s not “no law OR regulate us to death with 5 second eye contact rules. Just because laws are in place doesn’t mean we are automatically “protected” from anything. People break laws, rules, regulations etc all the time and don’t even know it. In fact, there are millions of them we have never heard of because we did not read the millions of them. Ex, Catching and keeping a short lobster is a federal offense. 🙂

    People knowingly break laws/rules, too. We will never be protected from ALL of it but applying equal justice tends to sway a lot of it. We don’t do that much. I blame the lawyers. 🙂

    If the Christian or Muslim guy doesn’t want to deal with females equally in the workplace, good luck to them. It won’t be easy to get much done. Females are outpacing males in entrance to the professions like medicine, law, etc.

    I say we should be free to protect ourselves. And sometimes that means being wise as a serpent.

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  168. DD: Nah, it’s just bad. Provides additional cover for predators.

    Ha!

    Now once upon a time your dear Tandt had a well paying job. His supervisor was a very beautiful and attractive young woman who was married. Now she flirted with your Tandt quite often, and her feminine charms were considerable. And your Tandt was indeed Joseph-esque; well built, and some might say rather handsome. Now one day this supervisor requested that Tandt meet her in her office. She closed and locked the door, and made it known in no uncertain terms that she was available to Tandt. But your Tandt politely smiled and declined. Needless to say, not long afterwards your faithful Tandt was no longer working there. Now Tandt does not complain because he knows for a certainty that Yahweh has a plan and purpose in all things that come about, that those who mean it for evil Yahweh means it for good, but he would most certainly practice BGR had he the opportunity to do things over.

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  169. Lydia: Females are outpacing males in entrance to the professions like medicine, law, etc.

    True. My niece graduated from veterinary school just this spring. My brother had to read her brother (my nephew) the riot act because all he wants to to do is work fast food and be a hard-core basement gamer in his own cyber-world.

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  170. Lydia: Ex, Catching and keeping a short lobster is a federal offense.

    Actually, I have heard of this law. I’m sure every lobster fisherman has as well. And it was instituted because lobsters were being over fished, taken too small, etc.

    The problem is that many people don’t police themselves or self govern. Thus, the need for laws and policies. Yes, we can do without frivolous ones, but we can’t do without all of them. (I think I’m repeating a previous comment here.)

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  171. Wondering how Rainer’s Rule #3 would really work. That’s the rule that says two people, a male and a female, must never be alone in the church building. Small churches will hire a virtual assistant. Now how does that work in a small church? A church office does not do only the same things a small business does.

    I work two and a half days a week at my church, mostly in the office. Much of the time, the pastor and I are the only ones there. I guess a virtual assistant could answer the phone and type stuff and keep social media going, but that’s only a small part of what I do.

    I don’t see how a virtual assistant can do the filing, or put away supplies that have been purchased, or distribute the Sunday bulletins on Friday afternoon. A virtual assistant can’t create the Sunday morning sermon slides for the big screen and coordinate what graphics the pastor wants with how it actually appears on the big screen, and make needed adjustments at the Friday morning run-through. A virtual assistant can’t spruce up the sanctuary on Friday because the usual volunteer didn’t make it–again. A virtual assistant can’t clear up the kitchen and get the coffee station in order for Sunday services, because the building is regularly used during the week, but not always left in perfect order.

    A virtual assistant can’t take registration forms and money for youth camp or the retirees’ outing and answer questions. A virtual assistant can’t personally greet a distraught member who has received devastating news and drops by to talk to the pastor, but the pastor is out–so the secretary listens, comforts, and prays with them.

    A virtual assistant can’t offer some canned/boxed food to a mother in need who has just walked in off the street, and also find her a jacket because it’s winter and she’s without one. A virtual assistant can’t listen to a stranger who needs gas money, and ask him to follow her in her car across the street, where she puts gas in the needy stranger’s car–using money from her own pocket because there is never enough “church” money to go around.

    Now that I think about it, I don’t even want to go to a church that has only a virtual assistant instead of a real human who can be present to serve and to listen and to pray. And also to adjust the chain on the toilet down the hall because no one in the Bible Study group noticed it kept running.

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  172. Tandt,

    In my world the bgr is impractical. I don’t think it prevents anything from happening. The problem is the line of Christian thinking that automatically assumes I have evil intent in everything I do. That automatically assumes that every woman I meet is also evil.
    I’ve been working since I was 13 years old. Seen lots of different behavior in folks and dealt with lots of personalities. And I’ve never had a workplace fling or flirt.
    I like being married. The people in my sphere know I like being married. I don’t drink at office parties. I don’t flirt and I have a reputation for speaking plainly.
    If I was faced with Tandts situation I’d get up & walk out of the room. I have no time for that crud. And if it came to an accusation, my wife would believe me 100% and that’s the opinion that matters to me.
    Jack looks more George Costanza-esqe than Joseph-esqe.

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  173. Jack: If I was faced with Tandts situation I’d get up & walk out of the room

    Indeed. That situation is illegal as well which Is not to say it doesn’t happen. I had a (girl) friend who had to leave two jobs because of a male who wouldn’t leave her alone. It’s ridiculous.

    Making this stuff culturally wrong is as important as the legal stuff but terrible people are terrible people. What we do with them as a society is another question.

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  174. Bridget,

    More and more added laws, rules, regulations will not cause people who break them to self-govern. if people are self-governing less and less so we need to constantly be adding new rules regulations and laws there is a reason why. And it’s not good. The constantly added laws, rules, regulations, policies might bring some “justice” after the fact to people they’ve been broken against but they don’t protect. And rarely are they applied that way. there is a lot of selective Justice out there depending on who you are. I am continually surprised that so many people trust bureaucrats to know best for them. And that includes lobsters. 🙂 I think it would be great if we reexamined such rules, regulations, policies based on outcomes but government doesn’t work that way. Thomas Sowell wrote about this problem for several decades. The sexual harrasment laws Were Meant to help protect the lowly nobody’s but instead became huge payouts for many of the well-heeled out there with lawyers who know the system. A lowly nobody can file an EEOC claim and wait 5 years. The bigger the government the smaller the citizen.

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  175. Jack: If I was faced with Tandts situation I’d get up & walk out of the room. I have no time for that crud.

    Um, yes, well, getting up and walking out of the room is physical avoidance just like BGR is physical avoidance. You sound very much like a high dominance male, of the good kind. I much admire that especially in males. But you also sound like you may think that everybody is willing and able to do like you do, the basically very aggressive act of actually getting up and walking out of the room. They are not, and frankly there are those who think that it is better to stay out of trouble in the first place than to deal with it once it happens.

    It may well be that people just don’t mess with you because they know how you would react. I am female, and people don’t mess with me-at least usually not twice they don’t-mostly because I am half past give a rip as to what people think. None the less I think it is better on several levels to just try to keep away from situations in the first place.

    I all sounds much like what the masters taught the kids in TKD to first of all avoid the possibly dangerous situation (stay out of that part of town alone and at night) and if that does not work then flee (literally run away) while there is still time. Only if fleeing does not work do you stand your ground (chain motion shows intent) and only if that does not work and only then do you take them down and kick them in the head/face/neck as a last resort.

    So, BGR says avoid the trouble whenever possible. You are saying that you would flee, another good idea, very wise and very biblical actually. Some here are saying go to HR and complain (stand your ground). And some say call the cops/ lawyers/ media if everything else fails.

    Same ideas, different terminologies. Which tells me that we are all basically in agreement except for the details.

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  176. Jack,

    Gosh I can’t think of any organization that still has alcohol at “in the office” parties. The liability became too great. As far back as 20 years ago when were delivering training in a resort or hotel venue over the course of days, the company would have attendees sign liability waivers for such. Even the olden days of hospitality rooms with open bars disappeared at conferences. Everything is about liability. I get it. We all have a right to protect ourselves.

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  177. Tandt,

    Glad to hear you think it would have worked for you. Question, does your version of the BGR allow you to meet with men one on one behind closed doors? What if your supervisor was a good looking gay guy? Does that meet the BGR criteria or not? Someone above mentioned a situation with a lesbian, same concept.
    Also, I’ve been supervised by several women in my career (and continue to be at this time) and it’s never been a problem. Maybe I’m not well-built and handsome enough… sigh.

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  178. People have been bringing up the issue of boundaries. I don’t know how it is in YRR organizations, but the religious organization I was involved with did not respect boundaries at all. I heard a number of times some variation on “God wants us to be totally transparent with each other” whenever I balked at answering a too-personal question. Conversely, artificial boundaries were erected when it came to the male and female members. We’d hear things like men and women should only hug on the side to avoid contact with a woman’s bosom.

    With the invocations of a “Billy Graham rule” to restrict male-female interactions that are completely normal elsewhere as an obvious example of an artificial boundary, I wonder whether the YRR movement tries to tear down natural boundaries between members.

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  179. Robert M,

    I am especially leery of prayer time in groups. It’s kind of amusing in a way. The same people that claim God knows everything want details on prayer requests. Some people are quite okay with sharing all details and some aren’t. That’s great if it’s about helping to solve a problem. I haven’t found that is typically the case.

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  180. Lydia: There is great danger to real victims in putting all these things in one pot. It not only dumbs down heinous crimes but many fall through the cracks.

    Just recently one of the big names of #metoo was accused of raping an underage boy (17) in a hotel room where his family took him and then paying him off.

    Lydia: This is what happens when we don’t take everything on a case by case basis and, instead, lump it all together. We lose not only proportion but end up hurting poor vulnerable victims worse.

    Great comment!, especially the case by case basis part; one of the best on this thread.

    To say that said #metoo showbiz person should be prosecuted based solely on the kid’s chronological age at the time of the alleged rape, strains credulity.

    Any hand wringing about how the kid is ‘scarred for life’ enters into the patently absurd (my opinion).

    Charles Dickens put it this way in his novel Oliver Twist:

    “If the law supposes that,” said Mr. Bumble, squeezing his hat emphatically in both hands, “the law is a ass — a idiot. If that’s the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is, that his eye may be opened by experience — by experience.”

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  181. Lydia: Bridget,
    More and more added laws, rules, regulations will not cause people who break them to self-govern.

    Instead, it teaches them to Look for Loopholes.

    “But Everything We Did Was LEGAL!”
    — local Law firm who got disbarred en masse for running an OSHA Extortion racket under cover of (lawsuit) athority

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  182. Robert M: Conversely, artificial boundaries were erected when it came to the male and female members. We’d hear things like men and women should only hug on the side to avoid contact with a woman’s bosom.

    i.e. “Gimme that Christian Side Hug!”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZnmTiqEikg

    (Shortly after this, an online dictionary of slang claimed “Christian Side Hug” had entered the mainstream as a term for “non-genital sex, done to preserve Technical Virginity”.)

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  183. Muff Potter,

    That is what I was thinking about age. Its tricky. She was 36. He was 17 but his parents drove him there! Ah, stage parents. I know quite a few. Did Weinstein go underage…. if we are going to be “technical”? Still, it’s all quite sorted/creepy but watch out for #metoo putting everything in the same pot until everything is the same bad….. then nothing is bad.

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  184. Lydia: Gosh I can’t think of any organization that still has alcohol at “in the office” parties.

    I’ve gone to training and conferences where people get together after the sessions for dinner. It’s personal time so drinking isn’t forbidden. I maintain the boundaries even at these informal events. Great for networking but still, it’s work-ish.

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  185. okrapod: Um, yes, well, getting up and walking out of the room is physical avoidance just like BGR is physical avoidance

    I agree with most of your comment except that with BGR, I am to assume that all women are a pitfall and that I am incapable of maintaining professionalism.

    Now to unpack Tandt’s situation a bit more, if I knew that there would be an issue, then yes I would avoid the situation.

    Back when I was single and working in manufacturing, my co-workers liked to go to strip clubs during the lunch hour. I politely declined, not my scene. These guys were all married…it was just trouble brewing and I wanted no part of it.

    One guy’s wife called the plant one evening wondering where hubby was. I just said “not here, sorry, don’t know when he’ll be back”. By this point, they’d stopped telling me where they were going. I wasn’t one of the “boyz”.

    We have to assess each situation we are in but I will not act like every woman is a pitfall because I know I am not one either….a pitfall that is, not a woman.

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  186. Jack: I agree with most of your comment except that with BGR, I am to assume that all women are a pitfall and that I am incapable of maintaining professionalism.

    Now to unpack Tandt’s situation a bit more, if I knew that there would be an issue, then yes I would avoid the situation.

    This is where the BGR misses most for me. It makes broad assumptions, rather than dealing with individuals as they actually are. There is a difference between people you know and don’t know, situations, etc. BGR accounts for nothing but a persons sex, and makes wide unfounded assumptions about their character.

    Set professional boundaries, like therapists not dating their clients or making physical moves. Set personal boundaries, and don’t be physically inappropriate with married people or single people if you’re married. But they should be reasonable boundaries based on real people and you should have enough sense to know, as Jesus did, when to bounce the rules in favor of doing kindness and treating others well.

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  187. Lydia: That is what I was thinking about age. Its tricky. She was 36. He was 17 but his parents drove him there!

    I think you’re right, it is tricky, hence my agreement with your previous comment having to do with a case by case basis.
    Case by case, that is key.

    But I do stand on my previous comment; to let the merits of each case be decided solely by chronological age differences is asinine.

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  188. And now for Something Completely Different:

    In several YouTube commentary videos, #metoo is pronounced “Pound Me, Too”.

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  189. Lydia: The BGR practice was about well known Christian leaders and honey traps.

    And makes a lot of sense in that specific application.

    Apply it across-the-board and you’re setting course for MGTOW/Manosphere Country.

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  190. Lydia: The BGR practice was about well known Christian leaders and honey traps.

    Funny thing is, in those days, men like Colson and Graham could openly discuss ‘well-known honey traps’. The rooms with two-way mirrors and cameras used to blackmail political and religious leaders were once ‘well-known’. Today, one is scoffed at if they suggest such a thing. For, in order for there to be honey traps, there has to be someone setting such traps. We are not allowed to speak of such things anymore, or to pursue the possibility that much of the systemic sexual abuse and trafficking that occurs is feeding the ‘honey trap’ system. Are we to believe that the Catholic (and Protestant) church just happens to be teeming with out of control perverts? Or might one, eventually, begin to suspect a deliberate, systemic use of abuse to blackmail and gain control of people? Just as Colson and Graham believed.

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  191. Robert M: I wonder whether the YRR movement tries to tear down natural boundaries between members.

    It’s a big part of the “biblical manhood” programs. Inadvisable, if you ask me.

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  192. I worked for Moody Bible Institute in the 1980s. I remember being told we were supposed to follow the Billy Graham Rule. My understanding was the rule was to keep from giving the appearance of wrongdoing not to prevent it from happening (when there is a will there is a way). Now it wasn’t really practical at times and it cost them extra money. For example, my boss (multiple men during my time there) and I might have to travel. We could not be on same flight unless a 3rd person was with us. At times it was a higher level person and a few times it was my boss’s wife. I can think of one time my boss and I couldn’t fly together (no 3rd person) but we were going to a convention where others would be. So we took separate flights and then he rents a car and picks me up at my gate…very complicated because this was 1980s pre-cell phone era. To me that looked worse than us being on the same flight. It was a major headache we were in different terminals. Unfortunately, there is no perfect answer. Since that time I have worked in Corporate American and now work as an HR Professional (I did marketing at MBI). I can tell you that there are all kinds of things that happen in secular workplaces. Bottom line is that harassment is about power not romance. So Billy Graham rule won’t deter harassment. However, I will say that I have observed numerous emotional and sexual affairs in workplaces. We as believers need to have appropriate boundaries and accountability in place to protect marriage relationships. I am a never married single but I know what I have observed….outside of harassment there are still consensual relationships that are not appropriate happening in work relationships. The allegations about Bill Hybels highlight why traveling together and going into hotel rooms alone. However, it appears Bill crossed boundaries with church members too. vc

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  193. In the article cited below, the 2017 alumna rejected the offer to drive back with her alone (she applied the Billy Graham rule – whether or not she would call it that) to her situation and I’m pretty sure prevented a bad situation from occurring given previous history of Mr. Hensley. It also sounds like some other women refused to be alone with him and also prevented further abusive situations to develop.

    https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2018/07/17/former-taylor-university-professor-sexually-harassed-women-decades-survivors-allege

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