Karen Porter, Self-Styled International Christian Speaker, Defended Andy Savage and Raises Questions About Her Judgement

“They like to use those fancy words. They don’t like to say “raped,’” he said. “They say “misdeed,’ “inappropriate touching,’ “mistake.’ That’s insulting. I’m not a mistake.” ― Charles L. Bailey Jr.

https://pixabay.com/en/woman-girl-portrait-beauty-model-2359634/
Woman crying

I think this post will serve as warning to anyone who posts on social media. Karen Porter positions herself as an international Christian speaker. That is important to me since it means she is listened to by many people, presumably all over the world. What she says may lead to consequences that can cause pain in those who have been molested in the church.

I’m a national and international speaker and the author of six books including Speak Like Jesus and I’ll Bring the Chocolate and my new book, If You Give a Girl A Giant…Fighting for you Life

I am the founder of kae Creative Solutions, communications consulting firm and the co-owner of Bold Vision Books, a traditional publishing company. I coach aspiring writers and speakers and teach on the national staff of CLASSeminars. I serve on the Board of Directors for several non-profit organizations such as CLASSeminars, First Place 4 Health, and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.

Jules Woodson called my attention to the following comment by Karen Porter on The Premeaux Show Facebook page. The Premeaux Show made a strong and appropriate stance against the actions of Andy Savage and Highpoint Church.

Now, the Premeaux Show was having none of her comment and responded.

The following are quotes from Porter’s comment. Jules Woodson responds and reveals some *behind the scenes info” since she is in an even better position to challenge Porter’s thoughts.

Savage lived with Karen Porter and it was in her house that Savage played *tickle* with Woodson in his bedroom.

Porter said:

Some of you judge what you know nothing about.

Jules responds:

She was not in the truck that awful night and she never talked to me after everything happened, though I knew her well, Therefore she knows nothing more than anyone else. The only thing I can guarantee she knows more than anyone is that she was the one with whom Andy lived. She was the one who came up to his bedroom when he had had me alone up there, tickling me, and told us we needed to go back downstairs and join everyone else.

She knew Andy was not to be alone with any of the girls in the youth group. However, with this statement, she tries to come across like she does know more and therefore her OPINION of my abuse and aftermath carries more weight/validity.

Dee adds:

Had the happened in my house, I would have immediately reported this to all of the pastors (and announced it to anyone who would listen to me.) It would have raised red flags about Savage’s intentions towards Jules as well as other students in the ministry. Porter, an adult, should have realized the implications of such behavior. What actions did she take besides treating Savage like a little boy?

Savage lived an honest and godly life for 20 years? Nope.

Porter said:

The congregation’s show of support for Andy was because this congregation has seen 20 years of a man who has lived godly, honestly, repentantly, and without any kind of scandal.

Jules responds:

This statement can’t possibly be true as the congregation had not known Andy for 20 years. They did not know what happened in TX until that day he *confessed* and received a standing ovation. They did not know that Andy lied to my Mom after my assault.

They also did not know that another woman would soon come forward accusing Andy of acting inappropriately with her at GBC, which happened after he abused me in TX, and to which she reported to another pastor. Yet nothing was done. Is that living Godly or honestly? Does that demonstrate true repentance? Just because someone has not been publicly caught in a scandal does not mean that they have not acted inappropriately.

Dee adds:

Porter does not know what goes on behind closed doors and in the heart. She is making an assumption that he has lived in a godly and honest manner. To fracture quote The Princess Bride:

You keep using those words. I do not think they mean what you think they mean.

A godly and honest manner would have been to admit that this happened so that many in the church knew. A godly and honest response would have been to seek forgiveness. A godly and honest response would have included seeking reconciliation and offering restitution. A godly and honest response would have been for him to answer this lonely and painful email. No-godly and honest are not words that I would use.

This molestation was just something to feel sorry about…

Porter said:

Didn’t you ever do something you were sorry for when you were 20?

Jules responds:

Seriously?! First, lets stick to the facts…he was 22 at the time, and an ordained minister who was serving as my Youth Pastor. And NO, we haven’t all sexually assaulted someone when we were 20, or 22 for that matter. Let’s not forget he lied about what happened afterwards while apologizing. Does that show a truly repentant heart?

Dee adds:

This was not a simple *something to feel sorry for.* This action was most likely a crime which should have been reported. I would like to reemphasize something Jules said. Most 22 year old people (and 18 year old people for that matter) do not assault people in the contect of their job. Health professionals, law enforcement, teachers, etc. serve with dignity and professionalism. If some 22 year old teacher did this to a student under their care, they would be arrested forthwith, receive a prison sentence and lose their credentials. I wonder if Porter would defend a 22 year old nurse who made the *mistake* of molesting her during an exam? I began my nursing career at 21 and I can assure everyone that I didn’t make the *mistake* of molesting anyone.

Porter claimed that Savage admitted his assault *back then.*

Porter said:

He did admit it back then; he has always been desperately sorry and repentant.

Jules responds:

In his Ben Ferguson interview, Savage admitted to lying about what happened! Again, does that seem like the heart of someone who is desperately sorry and repentant? Also, if he was so sorry and repentant, why didn’t he ever make sure I was ok? This could have been done by making sure I got appropriate care from others (the church) afterwards. Why did he not respond to my email in December?

Dee adds:

Porter claims to be a writer. She claims Savage was *desperately* repentant? Um, really? I’m no trained writer but I know words. Desperate does not describe the lack of intensity of his response in my book. He got out of Dodge, started life all over again by getting a new church job after only a few months of helping out in a real world job which was supposed to be some form of discipline… Most of us call that a regular job. No, the word “repentance” doesn’t jump out to me until he finally got caught.

Cognitive dissonance means that he couldn’t have done something bad because Porter would have know, it.

Porter said:

I knew him then and I’ve watched his life closely from the 90s til now.

Jules responds:

He lived with Karen Porter and her husband, George, in their home while at my former church.  Of course she had a close relationship with him and trusted him.

This does not mean that she could possibly know all he has thought about and done, be it in public or private, back then and for the past 20 years. The only thing this does show is that so often, when an abuser is someone others are close to and trust, admire and respect, people are more willing to dismiss and/or excuse their behavior.

Dee adds:

Porter sounds like the neighbors of serial murderers. You know the interviews of which I’m thinking. News reporter asks little old lady who lives down the street from the guy found to have killed 10 people. She acts shocked and says something like: “He was so nice to me. He shoveled my driveway. He did cookouts for the neighbors. I can’t believe it. I knew him.”

When I became a Visiting Nurse in my hometown in which I grew up, I was shocked to learn what goes on behind closed doors. Porter cannot speak to his heart in this matter. Only God knows our heart and intentions.

This mistake should not ruin his life.

Porter said:

This mistake should not ruin his life — but it already has–thanks to those who jump on the band wagon of hate.

Jules responds:

Clergy sexual abuse IS NOT A MISTAKE! It is a CRIME! Speaking the truth is also not hateful. I did not ruin Andy’s life by telling the truth. Andy ruined Andy’s life by sexually abusing a minor in his youth group and lying about it. He took another job as a pastor shortly thereafter and mishandled the situation when the truth came to light this January.

Dee adds:

Karen Porter needs to brush up on her theology. Sexual molestation is not a mistake. It is a deliberate act which is considered a sin (why doesn’t she use the word) and is also considered a crime by most reasonable people in our society. It is shocking to me that Porter thinks that molestation is just a simple mistake. I wonder if she would feel the same way if it happened to her or one of her friends?

I am shocked that any Christian leader would downplay this act as a *mistake* while calling those of us who speak truth about sexual molestation as a “bandwagon of hate.” I wonder. Is it hateful to speak out against out against child sex abuse? What about human trafficking? What about molestation of high school students in churches? Or is it only hate when it involves someone she knows?

She says she is sorry for Jules.

Porter said:

I’m sorry for Jules and I’m sorry she has been in pain over this all these years. I wish she had peace instead. I hope she can find relief for her pain. The only relief and rescue from this is Jesus. For Andy, For Jules, for all of us.

Dee responds to this:

Karen, you claim to be an international Christian speaker. Yet it seems to me that you have much to learn about sex abuse in the church. Sex abuse is NOT a mistake. Sex abuse is a crime. Sex abuse causes pain for a lifetime for many who have experienced such trauma.

You claim to be sorry for Jules. Yet, you blew your dime on defending Savage. Jules is now an internationally renowned personage. She is sought out by media throughout the world and is considered the face of the #churchtoo movement. Her story has been covered by most of the major media sources in the world.

Why is that? Why are they seeking her out instead of you “who really knows Andy?” The answer is clear to me. Jules opens a window into the darkness in the soul of the church. That darkness extends to our own individual souls which prefer to live in darkness by calling sexual assault a simple *mistake.*

I believe that you played a part in this story. You could have stopped things when you found Savage in a room with a student. You could have marched into the offices of the pastors and demanded that Savage be removed from his position. You didn’t and you continue to defend him to this very day. I don’t understand your actions and thoughts but you are on the wrong side of history.

I beg you to reconsider your position and your thoughts. That’s how you will truly demonstrate that you care for Jules.


Comments

Karen Porter, Self-Styled International Christian Speaker, Defended Andy Savage and Raises Questions About Her Judgement — 64 Comments

  1. Regarding this comment by Karen Porter:

    Didn’t you ever do something you were sorry for when you were 20?

    If you mean like driving 55 in a 45 mph zone, yes. But molesting anyone, coercing them into a sex act? – NO. Nope, I’ve never done that.

    Stop minimizing sexual assault, Karen Porter. That is disgusting.

    Some sins are far worse than others.

    Savage only came forward after Julie made all this public, not before.

    The concepts of grace, mercy, repenting, and forgiveness does not mean things like, one should not be held accountable for one’s actions, or that one (if one is a sexual predator) should be left alone with teens / kids / women.

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  2. The extent to which “sacred” and “secular” leaders circle the wagons to protect themselves, and “their” “organizations” isreally breath taking…

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  3. I’m a bit stunned that Karen Porter would choose to make such assertions after months to think about the situation. Women trusting men who have been proven to be predators just blows my mind. Well, we can see the thinking that led to the failure to protect Jules in her own youth group. Savage Andy, have you spoken personally with Jules privately to express your deep regret and what actions show that your repentance is self-initiated, costly to you and sustained over time?

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  4. The whole, “I’m sorry for your pain,” is the classic non-apology that adds insult to injury. It’s a variation on the whole, “I’m sorry you were upset,” routine.

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  5. So Karen Porter is a writer. Does she specialize in fiction?

    What Savage did was obviously premeditated. But, it was just a “mistake”????
    Would Porter consider robbing a bank or a mistake, too???
    Maybe the young men who set off the bomb at the Boston Marathon a while back just made a mistake. Let’s ask the injured survivors and see what they think.

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  6. Andy was sorry that he was caught. If he had been truly repentant,he would have confessed at the outset, taken whatever consequences were meted out,done some kind of restitution for Jules and her family,and would have stepped away from any ministry duties for a long time (I personally believe that 1 Timothy and Titus teach that sexual sin by pastoral staff brings with it a life-long ban from pastoral ministry). However, Andy just made sure to hide it as long as possible and carry on as if nothing ever happened. I personally consider that a very high level of deceit. The “get over it,Jules” attitude doesn’t help his cause,either.

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  7. Jeffrey J Chalmers: The extent to which “sacred” and “secular” leaders circle the wagons to protect themselves, and “their” “organizations” is really breathtaking…

    It’s disturbing to think that in all probability there are abusers still in the ministry because folks are protecting them. They protect them because they and/or their ministries are too big to fail.

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  8. In Minnesota, ministers are held to the same standards as psychologists as it comes to sexual ethics. This means we have to assure employers we have not sexually abused anyone under our care.

    It wasn’t a “mistake.” It was clergy sexual abuse. And in MN, it is not tolerated by law (as far as I can tell as a non-lawyer speaking–& NOT giving legal advice).

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  9. I went to Karen’s website; it is either under construction or just poorly done. Anyway, she looks about the same age as John Piper, so I say we should cut her some slack. She has clearly lost her mind, just like Pastor Emeritus Piper.

    It’s the only explanation I can come up with for her defense of Savage!

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  10. I once spoke at a church home-group meeting in Germany. (I even did it in German, though most people in the room spoke better English than I did German* .)

    This makes me an international ex-christian speaker. That in turn means you should all pay attention to me. Or something.

    * Ich bereue nichts, though, because I think you should at least make an effort when you’re in another country.

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  11. Max,

    There’s also the whole psychological paradigm where people subconsciously say, “Well, if I admit that my priest/pastor/rabbi etc. really is an abuser, I’ve been mislead all this time. And THAT can’t be,”

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  12. Linn,

    Yup, one thing I love about abusive clergy of every ilk is the whole, “Well, I said I’m sorry,” routine, said with the expectation that this should mean they’re off the hook, then and there, nothing else required.

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  13. Eric Bonetti: There’s also the whole psychological paradigm where people subconsciously say, “Well, if I admit that my priest/pastor/rabbi etc. really is an abuser, I’ve been mislead all this time. And THAT can’t be,”

    Oh yeah. We see this time and time again. Initially, denial sets in and congregations rally around a pastor accused of immoral acts, holding on for information that would clear him while ignoring the cries of victims. Some even give the fallen pastor a standing ovation! When truth settles in, the pew-sitters/giving units are left confused and disillusioned. “How could I have been deceived all these years?! Why didn’t I see this coming?! I’ll never trust church again!”

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  14. She was the one who came up to his bedroom when he had had me alone up there, tickling me, and told us we needed to go back downstairs and join everyone else.

    That information seems quite pertinent! Sheesh!

    I don’t know why there is this pervasive idea that because a man GOT AWAY WITH SOMETHING 20 years ago, he should not be bothered with it now. NO.

    Justice delayed is justice denied, true, but that doesn’t mean we can’t address it 20 years later. The Golden State Killer was just caught, 40 years later, and we’re not going to just say ‘bygones’. No.

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  15. He did admit it back then; he has always been desperately sorry and repentant.

    I would love to see a job application (do they do those at churches?) where he answers, honestly, ‘why did you leave your last job’.

    I would love to hear what was said during his reference checks.

    Either the church that hired him was desperately negligent in these things, or everybody lied along the way.

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  16. Lea: Either the church that hired him was desperately negligent in these things, or everybody lied along the way.

    I choose your second option. It would be routine and expected to be asked why you left your former position. In the case of hiring a pastor, I would also expect the hiring church to contact the applicants former church.

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  17. Deborah: I’m a bit stunned that Karen Porter would choose to make such assertions after months to think about the situation.

    Actually, from what I can tell, Karen made that comment shortly after the video was posted on Facebook about 10 months ago. That wasn’t too long after Jules’ story broke.

    Not that it makes Karen’s comment any better informed, or worth listening to.

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  18. Lea: would love to see a job application (do they do those at churches?) where he answers, honestly, ‘why did you leave your last job’.

    I would love to hear what was said during his reference checks.

    Either the church that hired him was desperately negligent in these things, or everybody lied along the way.

    “Conlee said Highpoint leadership knew about the Texas case when they hired Savage … We’re seeing the fallout from years of failure to admit and address the truth at Highpoint, beginning with Conlee’s partnering with Andy Savage to lead the church when he knew about Andy’s sexual assault of Jules Woodson”

    https://www.commercialappeal.com/story/news/2018/08/01/pastor-chris-conlees-abrupt-departure-highpoint-church-wake-andy-savage-scandal-raises-questions/826605002/

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  19. Max: “Conlee said Highpoint leadership knew about the Texas case when they hired Savage

    IIRC, there was another church he went to before HighPoint.

    However, I would bet money Conlee got the sanitized version of this story that both softened it, and excluded quite a bit of lying and minimizing directly after the event. Also, Conlee’s background probably contributed to him giving Savage a pass.

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  20. Eric Bonetti: There’s also the whole psychological paradigm where people subconsciously say, “Well, if I admit that my priest/pastor/rabbi etc. really is an abuser, I’ve been mislead all this time. And THAT can’t be,”

    To add to comments here it is a lot easier to just deny something than have to face the true facts. I imagine this even harder the more the leader is a “celebrity” and you are in some type of (though you won’t admit it) church “celebrity cult.”

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  21. This woman seems completely out of touch with reality. It’s just like the people who said that Tullian has “suffered” enough. You don’t get to talk about “suffering” when you are the perpetrator. That isn’t a thing.

    I have been wondering, would there ever be a situation when it would be appropriate for a pastor to date a church member? Let me make sure I’m clear that I’m not talking about the Andy Savage situation. Just in general, is it appropriate for a 27 year-old assistant pastor at a church to date/marry a 25 year old, single church member. It seems like it might be a good idea to draw a hard line between any romantic involvement between clergy and members, but I know that this happens all the time. Is it possible that this situation I outlined above could happen without an abuse of power? Just something I have been thinking about. Would appreciate some opinions.

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  22. I think this post will serve as warning to anyone who posts on social media. Karen Porter positions herself as an international Christian speaker.

    And that’s supposed to be impressive?

    You can “position yourself” and “build your brand” in anything. I know a guy who’s in his mid-Fifties, still lives in his mother’s basement, hasn’t held a job in over ten years, and positions himself on Social Media as a Major Playa in Hollywood and a Master of Mighty Magick on a level with Merlin Ambrosius. With 5000 Facebook friends who adore him.

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  23. Eric Bonetti:
    Max,

    There’s also the whole psychological paradigm where people subconsciously say, “Well, if I admit that my priest/pastor/rabbi etc. really is an abuser, I’ve been mislead all this time. And THAT can’t be,”

    This is called “Sunk Cost Fallacy”, and is the con man’s greatest friend.

    Get the mark so financially and emotionally involved in the con and he won’t back out, even when he KNOWS he’s being taken to the cleaners. Because if he does back out, he’ll have to admit to himself that he got taken. Sometimes the mark will even defend the con man against all comers.

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  24. Eric Bonetti: Yup, one thing I love about abusive clergy of every ilk is the whole, “Well, I said I’m sorry,” routine…

    No different than a recorded voicemail message’s “Aw Shucks” attempt at a folksy “We’re Sorry…”

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  25. Daisy:
    Off topic for the particular post, but I know Dee sometimes blogs about this here:
    Church Discipline Is ‘Meant to Produce Joy’ Not Oppression, Theology Professor Says
    https://www.christianpost.com/news/church-discipline-is-meant-to-produce-joy-not-oppression-theology-professor-says-228528/

    The same joy as North Korean population units, Joyfully Dancing with Great Enthusiasm before Comrade Dear Leader.

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  26. Daisy: Regarding this comment by Karen Porter:
    Didn’t you ever do something you were sorry for when you were 20?

    If you mean like driving 55 in a 45 mph zone, yes. But molesting anyone, coercing them into a sex act? – NO. Nope, I’ve never done that.

    Stop minimizing sexual assault, Karen Porter. That is disgusting.

    It’s called “Sin-Levelling”, and has been seen so many times on these pages it’s a Christianese conditioned reflex — no neurons above the brainstem required.

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  27. Lea: there was another church he went to before HighPoint

    Yes, as I understand it, Savage went from the church in Texas to Germantown Baptist Church in Memphis … HighPoint was a church plant of Germantown. So there is a history here of church leaders passing Savage along. He was a charming and talented young man who attracted youth and young adults to their churches. You just hate to lose a guy like that and Texas was such a long way away – surely no one would find out.

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  28. Daisy: Off topic for the particular post, but I know Dee sometimes blogs about this here:
    Church Discipline Is ‘Meant to Produce Joy’ Not Oppression, Theology Professor Says
    https://www.christianpost.com/news/church-discipline-is-meant-to-produce-joy-not-oppression-theology-professor-says-228528/

    “In July, the Kentucky-based Cave City Baptist Church garnered controversy for a news story focused on how the congregation removed several people from their membership roles for various offenses, including low attendance and giving.”

    It would be interesting to find out if any of the churches Savage worked at would discipline a member for things like low attendance or giving, while failing to discipline Andy for his predation on vulnerable girls. Having experienced the mistakes pastors and elders can make, I do not accept submission to them as an absolute. On the other hand, discipline that included a lifetime ban on ministry would have been appropriate for AS. Contra people like Porter, getting his name into the media for the CRIMES he has committed may just prevent him from pulling up stakes yet again, and moving on to other churches.

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  29. Headless Unicorn Guy: I know a guy who’s in his mid-Fifties, still lives in his mother’s basement, hasn’t held a job in over ten years, and positions himself on Social Media as a Major Playa in Hollywood and a Master of Mighty Magick on a level with Merlin Ambrosius. With 5000 Facebook friends who adore him.

    Uh-oh. Sounds like HUG is onto me…

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  30. Steve240: To add to comments here it is a lot easier to just deny something than have to face the true facts. I imagine this even harder the more the leader is a “celebrity” and you are in some type of (though you won’t admit it) church “celebrity cult.”

    To build upon this (personal experience), add in the fact that your entire life is built around this cult. You have held and/or hold positions of leadership. All of your friends derive from this cult. Most of your family’s activities center around this cult. You have absorbed and personally adjusted your beliefs and behaviors based upon what has been proclaimed as ‘true’ within the walls of this cult. You have shared these ‘truths’ with others. If this cult falls, you lose the center of your world, affecting everything and everyone that matters to you.

    How hard do you think people are going to fight to avoid this catastrophic tsunami to destroy their world?

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  31. If Andy Savage had truly been repentant there would have been no standing ovation and “You are worthy” during the worship service, and if he did not know it was going to happen he would have stood up and put a stop to it when it started. I can understand him not wanting people to know about his shameful acts, but once it’s out in the open a repentant person needs to accept the consequences.

    It reminds me of Godfather III when Michael Corleone is confessing to the cardinal who will become Pope John-Paul I. After hearing Michael’s sins, the cardinal tells him quite matter-of-factly that it is just that he suffers.

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  32. Robert M: If Andy Savage had truly been repentant there would have been no standing ovation and “You are worthy” during the worship service, and if he did not know it was going to happen he would have stood up and put a stop to it when it started.

    Narcissists require the emotional support and admiration.

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  33. Headless Unicorn Guy: It’s called “Sin-Levelling”, and has been seen so many times on these pages it’s a Christianese conditioned reflex — no neurons above the brainstem required.

    It follows then how they arrive at the resultant dogma-vector:

    — In God’s economy, a jay-walker deserves and gets the same punishment as a mass murderer. —

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  34. Ricco: Just in general, is it appropriate for a 27 year-old assistant pastor at a church to date/marry a 25 year old, single church member.

    Why wouldn’t be?
    Unless said church has a misguided sense of ‘gospelly-glitter’ and aspirations of being ‘holier’ than Heinz Ketchup.

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  35. Ricco,
    “I have been wondering, would there ever be a situation when it would be appropriate for a pastor to date a church member?”

    The 27 yr old pastor or the couple would just respond to any prohibition with the catch all phrase: “The Holy Spirit told me…” (fill in the blank) And who is anyone to doubt the Holy Spirit?

    I don’t think it would ever be appropriate it’s a situation fraught with pitfalls.

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  36. Ricco: is it appropriate for a 27 year-old assistant pastor at a church to date/marry a 25 year old, single church member

    Which begs the question … should a pastor be married ‘before’ he holds that office? IMO, when Scripture speaks of the qualifications for pastor/elder, it speaks of a person who is expected to be married.

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  37. Muff Potter: It follows then how they arrive at the resultant dogma-vector:

    — In God’s economy, a jay-walker deserves and gets the same punishment as a mass murderer. —

    “ALL SIN IS SIN!!! AND GOD HATES ALL SIN WITH SUCH A PERFECT HATRED…!!!”
    — Christian Tract that messed up my head during my time in-country
    (Possibly that masterpiece of Angry God Worm Theology, The Calvary Road)

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  38. Max: Which begs the question … should a pastor be married ‘before’ he holds that office?IMO, when Scripture speaks of the qualifications for pastor/elder, it speaks of a person who is expected to be married.

    And the Epistle of Paul cited, “husband of one wife” could also be “not polygamous” or an idiom for “one-woman man”.

    Problem is, during the Reformation Wars having married or single clergy was a declaration of “Which Side Are You On?” And it locked in to this day; blog after blog has recorded that in the Evangelical Bubble ALL pastors MUST be married. Singles are rejected out-of-hand; after all, Enemy Christians have single clergy, so we must do the opposite. Let entropy set in for a couple generations and it becomes first “The Way We’ve Always Done Things”, then “GOD HATH SAID!”

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  39. Ricco,

    Way back in the mid-1960s, my father was a junior staffer at a smallish SBC church, and my mother was a new attender, a young school teacher.
    One Sunday as my dad was sitting on the platform during announcement time, a note was handed down from the choir loft; There’s the young lady I was telling you about, she’s over on the left about six rows back! Dad’s office assistant was trying to set him up.
    Being no slouch, Dad made sure he was at the proper door after the Benediction and shook Mom’s hand as she left the service. The rest is history, as they say. I’m so grateful!
    I guarantee their relationship was closely observed by the senior staff, the church members, the school administration, and anyone who cared to watch. They were young but both were adults. I don’t see a problem when relationships like this are carried on in public view and between peers.
    Both of my folks have spent their lives in ministry, but they are the kind of people who believe that leadership is mostly demonstrated in how you live and love, and not so much in how many people you have under your thumb.

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  40. Ricco,

    What about a 28 yr old youth pastor marrying a girl from the youth group when she turned 18. 42 years ago. He has abused congregants badly spiritually and sexually harassed female members over the last 12 yrs. Surely that is only in his 60’s and 70’s and he has treated female students well while a Christian University prof.

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  41. Deborah: I’m a bit stunned that Karen Porter would choose to make such assertions after months to think about the situation. Women trusting men who have been proven to be predators just blows my mind.

    Well, by downplaying what happened to Jules and making Andi look respectable, she downplays and minimizes her own responsibility for what happened – if she had done more than just send Andy and Jules back to the group when she surprised them in a bedroom together, in her own house, if she had made sure that he knew that was not acceptable behaviour by alerting the church leaders, then the whole incident on the dirt road in the middle of nowhere might never have happened.

    I see her statement as self-exculpatory.

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  42. Eric Bonetti,

    “There’s also the whole psychological paradigm where people subconsciously say, “Well, if I admit that my priest/pastor/rabbi etc. really is an abuser, I’ve been mislead all this time. And THAT can’t be,””
    +++++++++++++++++++++++

    as i see it, that explains, in part, The Gospel Coalition / Together 4 The Gospel and CJ Mahaney / Sovereign Grace.

    aside from all the empires of money, power, reputation, and legacy they stand to lose if they stop lying and actually tell the truth.

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  43. __

    Marketplace Justice Is Being Served?

    hmmm…

    Could b.

    “It’s being called “The Reckoning.” The #metoo movement of women (and men) sharing their stories of men sexually assaulting them has given more and more victims the courage to speak up. It’s been followed by #churchtoo, focusing on sexual abuse and coverups in the church. As more survivors of spiritual and sexual abuse have spoken about their experiences in churches, it’s given others not just courage but also hope. Hope that people will listen, hope that people will believe, hope that abusers will actually face justice.” – Scot McNight

    https://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2018/01/12/jules-woodson-story-churchtoo/

    ;~)

    – –

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  44. ION: Cricket

    I’m a day behind here, so I’ll have to fill you all in on the fact that Sri Lanka had a strong day at the wicket yesterday, building a first-innings lead of 46 thanks in no small part to three sizeable tail-end partnerships. England closed today on 324-9, with Root scoring his 15th test century; he was eventually lbw to Akila Dananjaya for 124. Ben Woakes continued an excellent debut tour with an unbeaten 51. Dananjaya was, incidentally, the pick of the Sri Lankan bowlers with 6-106 (and he may yet get a seventh).

    So, England currently lead by 278 with a single wicket remaining. A result, which could go either way, is likely tomorrow. The pitch is looking increasingly bowler-friendly, and the near-300 lead narrowly favours England; but Sri Lanka have shown that they can bat at this ground and the match remains finely poised.

    IHTIH

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  45. TS00: To build upon this (personal experience), add in the fact that your entire life is built around this cult. You have held and/or hold positions of leadership. All of your friends derive from this cult. Most of your family’s activities center around this cult. You have absorbed and personally adjusted your beliefs and behaviors based upon what has been proclaimed as ‘true’ within the walls of this cult. You have shared these ‘truths’ with others. If this cult falls, you lose the center of your world, affecting everything and everyone that matters to you.

    How hard do you think people are going to fight to avoid this catastrophic tsunami to destroy their world?

    Good additional points. That is the problem when so much of your life centers around a church.

    My suggestion has been to people contemplating leaving a church like this is to try and start building a life outside of your church even before you leave. Then leaving won’t be so hard and probably more likely to stay away.

    Then again one has to admit they are part of a cult.

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  46. meet Tom Chantry’s new lawyer, Ryan Stevens:

    https://azdailysun.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/license-to-wed/article_7fd44d54-a439-59f4-a52c-522eff945e0c.html

    [from 2014]

    “Love was in the air Friday evening as same-sex couples rushed to get married at the Coconino County Superior Courthouse. In Flagstaff Justice Court, Erika Alvarez and Abby Ortiz laughed and wept as they became the first same-sex couple to legally marry in Coconino County.”

    “Flagstaff residents Meagan and Natalie Metz were also celebrating Sedwick’s decision Friday…The Metzes joined the same-sex marriage lawsuit largely because Flagstaff attorney Ryan Stevens said he would fight for them. And that’s just what he did. For the past nine months, Stevens has been working with the other attorneys in the case to prove that Arizona’s same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional. On Friday morning, that work finally paid off…The judge’s decision ended up being a victory for Stevens not just professionally, but personally. After more than six years together, Stevens is scheduled to marry his fiancé, Chris Gomez, today.”

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  47. TS00: If this cult falls, you lose the center of your world, affecting everything and everyone that matters to you … How hard do you think people are going to fight to avoid this catastrophic tsunami to destroy their world?

    Cult leaders (e.g., New Calvinist icons) know how to play on this vulnerability. It is a psychology they depend on to gain the upper hand by indoctrinating followers with “This alone is truth.” They set up “we vs. they” (we have truth, they don’t) to keep you in the fold. The deeper one slips into the dark abyss of aberrant faith, the harder it is to think critically. When doubt begins to rise, cult converts look around them and see that their friends and family who are also ensnared in the cult have no problem with it, so they fall back under the spell.

    When we think of cults, we think of the extremes (Jim Jones, etc.), but aberrant faith (e.g., New Calvinism) can kill you spiritually. Sadly, many who continue to believe the lie do so out of a sincere quest for religious connection. They find a church family, while their leaders find their pocketbooks.

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  48. Nick Bulbeck: Uh-oh. Sounds like HUG is onto me…

    Except the guy I described (a local “professional fanboy”) is No Joke. He’s for real.

    He actually has a lot of creative talent which he never gets around to using (too much like work). My continuing comment on him is “What a Waste”.

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  49. Jerome: meet Tom Chantry’s new lawyer, Ryan Stevens:

    So Chantry’s new lawyer is Gay.
    What is the purpose of this other than invoking the Fred Phelps reaction reflex?

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  50. Eric Bonetti:
    The whole, “I’m sorry for your pain,” is the classic non-apology that adds insult to injury. It’s a variation on the whole, “I’m sorry you were upset,” routine.

    Yep. Gaslighting.

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  51. Headless Unicorn Guy: So Chantry’s new lawyer is Gay.
    What is the purpose of this other than invoking the Fred Phelps reaction reflex?

    I don’t get
    Jerome’d point either.

    Everyone deserves due process, but defending Chantry is not something I would sign up for. Being gay has no bearing on it.

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  52. No point other than it’s a bit ironic, given Chantry’s prior pronouncements and posts on such issues.

    I’m sure Mr. Stevens as professional can put such differences aside. But hiring a prominent advocate for SSM is not what I’d expect from Chantry and those supporting/bankrolling him, but I guess they do want the best attorney they can get…

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  53. Bridget: Everyone deserves due process, but defending Chantry is not something I would sign up for. Being gay has no bearing on it.

    One of the things I learned in law school is that everyone should have representation, even if they’re truly vile. The things that would stop representation are (a) conflict of interest (and yes, that’s a biggie), (b) client asking the attorney to participate in or cover up evidence of crimes (and yes, that happens) or c) client is unable to pay. However, I have seen situations where attorneys were told to continue their representation of a client even if the client could no longer pay.

    What I’m curious about is whether Chantry negotiated a flat fee or if this attorney is being paid by the hour. This is not your average public intoxication case.

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  54. Will Ms. Woodson be giving the blog an update to her distressing situation due to profound recent events? Has justice been satisfied?

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