Updated: The Village Church Attorney’s Formal Response to Abuse Lawsuit: They Did Nothing Wrong

Hanging Sand Dunes within Coprates ChasmaHanging Sand Dunes within Coprates Chasma- Mars

“The stamp of the Saint is that he can waive his own rights and obey the Lord Jesus.”― C.S. Lewis


 

As many of you know, The Village Church has been sued for $1 million dollars due to sexual molestation of a young student at one of their church camps.

The Village Church sued for more than $1 million over alleged abuse at church camp was written by Emily MacFarlan Miller of Religion News Service.

A young woman who was allegedly sexually assaulted by a youth minister at a church camp is suing the Village Church for more than $1 million for gross negligence and the emotional distress the alleged abuse has caused her.

According to the lawsuit obtained by Religion News Service, the Village Church’s former associate children’s minister, Matthew Tonne, allegedly sexually violated the woman, identified only as Jane Doe One, when she was an 11-year-old girl at a 2012 program run by the Dallas-area megachurch at the Mount Lebanon Kids Camp in Texas.

An Evangelical Megachurch Is Sued for More Than $1 Million in Child Sexual Abuse Case was posted by Elizabeth Dias of the New York Times.

Chandler told his fellow Southern Baptists that Tonne, who was a family friend, was fired from the church last October because he had been repeatedly drunk in violation of church rules.

The church was unaware at the time that Tonne was accused of abuse, he said.

The victims’ parents claim they had identified Tonne as the alleged abuser before he was fired, according to the lawsuit.

The suit also details the after-effects of the alleged abuse.

“Jane Doe One’s parents saw their energetic, funny, caring child slowly become withdrawn and angry,” it says.

The woman developed an eating disorder and began to suffer from depression, nightmares, chronic insomnia and enduring suicidal ideations, according to the suit.

She told her parents about the alleged abuse last year, it says. Her parents reached out to the church and police in February 2018 and identified Tonne in May of that year.

“To this day, (church elder Josh) Patterson and Chandler have never personally reached out to Jane Doe One or her family,” the lawsuit claims.

The Village Church lawyer responds

This is a synopsis as written by me.

  • TVC/Chandler denies all allegations made by the plaintiff.
  • Defendant objects to Plaintiff’s invocation of Discovery Control Plan 3 unless and until all parties can agree upon the specific details of a Level 3 control plan or the specifics can be determined by motion to the Court pursuant to Rule 190 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. Here is a link to explain this in Texas Level 3 discovery -generally expedites trial date.
  • Defendant denies that it is liable to Plaintiff for the amount of damages claimed.
  • They wish to limit Plaintiff’s right to recover exemplary damages.
  • On the off chance that it is proven the *incident* (what the rest of us would call a rape) occurred, “defendant asserts that it is not liable for the intentional criminal acts of its employee as these acts would be outside of the course and scope of the employment.
  • So, if things don’t go well and the Plaintiff gets damages, TVC alleges that any award of exemplary or punitive damages in this action would amount to a deprivation of property without due process.
  • And, so what if a kid gets raped and experiences emotional pain? Awarding punitive or exemplary damages “is based on impermissibly vague, imprecise, and inconsistent; and therefore, that an award of exemplary or punitive damages in this civil action, and in particular any award not bearing a single digit multiplier ratio to the amount of compensatory damages, would violate the due process provisions.”
  • Oh yeah! Dismiss this case and make the plaintiff pay back the money spent by TVC on this lawsuit. “Defendant respectfully asks this Court to dismiss this suit or render judgment that Plaintiff takes nothing, assess costs against Plaintiff, and award all other relief to which Defendant is justly entitled.”

Who is their lawyer, Dustin Gaines?

Well, apparently he is a teaching pastor. Here is his bio. Apparently, he’s a lawyer who defends pastors, not victims.

Dustin is an experienced attorney that handles cases from intake to evaluation and discovery, including expert and fact witness depositions, motion and briefing practice, and eventually all the way through resolution, whether it be through trial, arbitration, settlement, and dismissal, including appeals.

Dustin also brings years of ministry experience to the firm. He has served for many years in church ministry and Christian school administration. Currently, Dustin serves as a teaching pastor at his church in Texas—and as an attorney and pastor—Dustin relates with pastors and will guide you to a resolution of your legal challenge from a pastor/attorney’s perspective.

 

 


Comments

Updated: The Village Church Attorney’s Formal Response to Abuse Lawsuit: They Did Nothing Wrong — 190 Comments

  1. Dustin likes checkered shirts.

    He’s a pastor at Temple (Texas) Baptist Church.
    https://www.templebc.org/explore/about-our-church

    To be perfectly blunt, I think TVC messed up here. They should have hired someone experienced in tort law, someone who has previous trial experience with sexual abuse cases. I don’t see that Dustin Gaines has that. Plus, Gaines is located out of Temple, which 150+ miles to DFW. I just don’t see this as a winning combination and I can’t imagine why TVC went with this guy. His Church Lawyers page doesn’t list any cases this guy has won. Maybe he thinks he can armwrestle plaintiffs into a settlement.

    Not. Impressed.

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  2. Past experiences in schools/school districts where i have worked- the defending organization will often settle when they realize the damage that a court trial will cause both their reputation (which has probably already been sent to the dogs) and cause the congregation to literally begin to leak out of the walls. Settling means paying less damages, and usually causes less economic and reputational damage to the church or school. It’s why they, wisely, usually carry a pretty hefty insurance policy.

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  3. Liberty U and Pensacola Christian…
    Given the reputations of those two institutions, I’d say this guy’s main qualification is either True Believer, Holy Weapon, or both.

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  4. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes: To be perfectly blunt, I think TVC messed up here. They should have hired someone experienced in tort law, someone who has previous trial experience with sexual abuse cases. I don’t see that Dustin Gaines has that. Plus, Gaines is located out of Temple, which 150+ miles to DFW. I just don’t see this as a winning combination and I can’t imagine why TVC went with this guy. His Church Lawyers page doesn’t list any cases this guy has won.

    All evidence to date indicates I think to anyone who regularly reads this blog that this bunch are simply fools in every way. They got into this mess by being purely stupid in the first place. Now they are compounding it by hiring Barney Five to handle things. It is no wonder that so many Proverbs compares the ways of fools with the wise. The wise do not get themselves into this kind of place to start with. Those Solomon calls fools just keep making things worse until they self-destruct. I hope the other sides attorneys are much more experienced and professional. The longer this takes the worse the publicity, so trying to draw things out will work against TVC. The response that they are not responsible at all for what happened is ludicrous. No doubt that you are already thinking that…

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  5. You go to a 501c3 church in good faith because the scripture encourage you to do so and your child get abused. Not a wholesome or pretty picture.

    There is apparently absolutely no one today to protect your children from an authority abusive 501c3 pastor, or an 501c3 church official on church property, or scheduled 501c3 church function, who choses to go scripturally rogue.

    How does one process, proceed, prepare for, or extricate oneself, or their children from these type of unbiblical situations?

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  6. I wonder how Mr Gaines reconciles this with what he has said at the beginning of the year.
    “Dustin: 04:37 But no Steven’s right. Nine out of the last 10 years, child abuse lawsuits against churches was the number one reason that churches were sued. So a super important area to make sure that you’re not cutting any corners and just conceptually as well. It’s important to understand, you know, churches themselves are entities, they don’t abuse kids, but they have volunteers and they have employees. So when a church is brought into court in a lawsuit on child abuse, which again, nine out of 10 of the last years they’re brought in, how did you select that volunteer? How did you screen that volunteer? Did you interview them? Did you ask them the questions? Did you do a background check? How comprehensive of a background check was it? Like Steven mentioned, did you call the references would have taken you two minutes to pick up the phone and call a reference. That would have revealed that this was a child abuser that you were putting in there with your kids. How did you train them? Did you have any warning signs? Were they retained as a volunteer after those warning signs were there? So those are all the things that churches should be thinking through and should be following as best as they can.”

    https://tonymorganlive.com/2019/02/06/church-legal-risks/

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  7. “Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.“

    1 Peter 2:12

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  8. I suspect the church had a hard time finding an attorney that did not advise a rapid negotiation with the plaintiffs rather than fighting. So they have a newby from out of town that suggested fighting rather than negotiating. Legal fees and expenses in a case like this could easily reach a significant portion of what the plaintiff asked for at the outset, especially with depositions, etc. And a good judge will award the plaintiff the expenses the plaintiff incurs plus attorney fees, in addition to damages.

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  9. They want the plaintiff to pay them for pursuing a case against the abuse their staff member did to her…? That goes just so far into evil villain territory, I can’t believe they even thought to say that. If the goal of all the denials was to save their reputation, they could at least have left that bit off. But if they really were men of Christ, they’d be devastated something like this could have happened at their Church and they’d have done everything possible to make amends with the family.

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  10. The thought occurs that the plaintiffs may be more interested in the discovery process than in money damages, in a “bring every deed into the light” sense. I hope that they are able to get well into the discovery phase.

    Am I alone in noticing hints of parallels (evidence of sensitivity to discovery, odd choice of counsel) with the HBC vs TED case?

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  11. A Texas attorney: I suspect the church had a hard time finding an attorney that did not advise a rapid negotiation with the plaintiffs rather than fighting. So they have a newby from out of town that suggested fighting rather than negotiating.

    I agree. Many people (and churches) seem to think that settling is a form of capitulation or admission of guilt. Neither is true. It is merely a means to save a lot of time, money and negative exposure that goes along with a trial. It appears that Chandler & Co. is attempting to employ the same “Go Big or Go Home” methodology that James MacDonald and Harvest Bible Chapel tried. It won’t end well for them, either!

    TVC had the perfect opportunity to be gracious and compassionate to those hurting within its flock, but instead went with the “scorched earth” policy! How terribly painful it must be for this family–the church allowed for one of their children to be hurt under their watch, then TVC grits their teeth and digs in their heels against them. How very ugly and un-Christlike.

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  12. Samuel Conner: Am I alone in noticing hints of parallels (evidence of sensitivity to discovery, odd choice of counsel) with the HBC vs TED case?

    No…you are not alone, it’s totally the same thing. The only difference is that TVC is a Defendant instead of a Plaintiff. But the whole “we’ll shut them up by bogging this thing down in litigation” routine is identical.

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  13. Root 66: How very ugly and un-Christlike.

    I suspect that there are “selective pressures” in the process by which mega-churches grow and develop leaders that select against traits such as compassion and patience in the top leaders. One might be able to make the case that there are dis-economies of scale in the church growth process that have the effect of driving groups away from biblical ideals.

    The trouble that follows is garden-variety Romans 1 “wrath of God.”

    They didn’t teach anything like that in the seminary church growth curriculum.

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  14. Samuel Conner: They didn’t teach anything like that in the seminary church growth curriculum.

    Yes, and a lot of it also begins with viewing people merely as “giving units” instead of seeing them as being fearfully and wonderfully made in the “image of God”!

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  15. Wow they want to get court costs back from the family who was abused by their pastor? That’s low.

    “defendant asserts that it is not liable for the intentional criminal acts of its employee as these acts would be outside of the course and scope of the employment.”

    Um…I don’t know about legally but village church seems to be grossly negligent in this area and we’ve seen at least a couple examples. What would it actually take for them to re-evaluate their behavior and what would it take for people to decide this church is not healthy and leave???

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  16. Lowlandseer: did you call the references would have taken you two minutes to pick up the phone and call a reference

    This is a question I ask *every time* i see these stories. So many ‘pastors’ hired by churches after they’ve already done stuff that should be disqualifying.

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  17. Lea: So many ‘pastors’ hired by churches after they’ve already done stuff that should be disqualifying.

    From my 70 year snapshot of SBC life, the search committee approach to recruiting pastors is a problem – particularly in small churches (the vast majority of SBC churches have less than 200 members). Too many pastor search committees blindly approach this task, trusting church leaders to be “righteous.” While they may check a reference or two on the pastor’s resume (references always provide a positive spin), they need to do more due diligence and dig deeper into the candidate’s background. This may require traveling to communities where the pastor previously served and asking church members what they know about him. Any missing date gaps on his resume should definitely be explored. Volunteers almost always receive no such checks. It’s just not a good system. The American church has become an easy place for a pedophile to hide in plain sight.

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  18. Lea: what would it take for people to decide this church is not healthy and leave???

    Many people struggle with cognitive dissonance. They believer they are smart and that they would not make the mistake of choosing poorly when it comes to a church. So when a church chronically screws up, they pretend it’s an attack of Satan.

    I, on the other hand, am smart enough to know that I am dumb enough to get fooled. That helps me to accept poor behavior on the part of some churches and I get the heck out of there,

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  19. Lea: He went to liberty for law school?

    The law school is probably still the only department at Liberty where faculty are eligible for tenure. This is a requirement for accreditation. (The LU website mentions something about preparing their medical faculty for tenure, but I don’t know the status.)

    For me the real problem is this guy’s whole pedigree: Pensacola Christian College plus LU Law plus work as a pastor. He cites his “pastor/attorney’s perspective.” I would not retain a lawyer who considered legal knowledge insufficient to address legal problems.

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  20. dee: I, on the other hand, am smart enough to know that I am dumb enough to get fooled.

    sometimes this comes from experience in getting fooled, or at least it has for me.

    I get cognitive dissonance but…i’d just be curious to see what membership numbers are doing in light of this.

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  21. This smells to me like they are playing tough guy because they anticipate a flood of similar lawsuits. They are trying to head them off by trying raise fear and doubts in the minds of potential litigants. Otherwise it doesn’t make sense not to settle this with a non-disclosure.

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  22. Mega Moose:
    They want the plaintiff to pay them for pursuing a case against the abuse their staff member did to her…? That goes just so far into evil villain territory, I can’t believe they even thought to say that. If the goal of all the denials was to save their reputation, they could at least have left that bit off. But if they really were men of Christ, they’d be devastated something like this could have happened at their Church and they’d have done everything possible to make amends with the family.

    I am a paralegal and this language is inserted into the body of every Answer, Notice, etc., that I prepare, and the pleadings that other attorney’s file. In this circumstance such a request is deplorable, but it is normal procedure.

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  23. Stan: Pensacola Christian College is Bob Jones-style fundamentalist, right?

    Maybe a bit beyond. There are persistent stories about the mistreatment of students, particularly women. I found a review posted by someone identifying as a former student, who wrote about room searches, and even about the dean forcing young women to take pregnancy tests if they were denounced (anonymously reported, Soviet style—my lingo but I don’t know what else to call it) for having boyfriends.

    I have not found a lot of high-quality news reporting or legal documents about PCC. Here is a link to an archive of a student-run site that PCC shut down after taking the author to court. It shows an image of a memo to campus chaperones in 2003, about “spring fever” and the risk that women might wearing tank tops:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20120113131514/http://www.pensacolachristiancollege.com/

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  24. A Texas attorney: I suspect the church had a hard time finding an attorney that did not advise a rapid negotiation with the plaintiffs rather than fighting. So they have a newby from out of town that suggested fighting rather than negotiating.

    I believe that TVC counsel is posturing to try to scare the plaintiff. When reality sets in, TVC will change their tune. TVC has a large insurance policy and I feel sure that this case will be settled out of court, with TVC admitting no wrongdoing, of course.

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  25. Friend: even about the dean forcing young women to take pregnancy tests if they were denounced (anonymously reported, Soviet style—my lingo but I don’t know what else to call it) for having boyfriends.

    Wow. I dont have enough words for how wrong that is.

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  26. A Texas attorney: I suspect the church had a hard time finding an attorney that did not advise a rapid negotiation with the plaintiffs rather than fighting. So they have a newby from out of town that suggested fighting rather than negotiating.

    And whose Christianese Credentials (Liberty U, Pensacola CHRISTIAN, Pastor of one of their franchise churches) were impeccable.

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  27. Loren Haas:
    This smells to me like they are playing tough guy because they anticipate a flood of similar lawsuits. They are trying to head them off by trying raise fear and doubts in the minds of potential litigants. Otherwise it doesn’t make sense not to settle this with a non-disclosure.

    Make an Example of one, and a hundred will fall bleating into line.

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  28. Max: Too many pastor search committees blindly approach this task, trusting church leaders to be “righteous.”

    i.e. EASY MARKS.

    “Four-one-nine just a game;
    You be the Mugu,
    I be the Masta!”
    — “I Go Chop You Dolla”, Nigerian pop song about a con man

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  29. A Texas attorney: I suspect the church had a hard time finding an attorney that did not advise a rapid negotiation with the plaintiffs rather than fighting.

    “I don’t pay a lawyer to tell me what I want to do is illegal — I pay a lawyer to tell me how to get away with what I want to do!”
    — some 19th Century Captain of Industry

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  30. Mega Moose:
    They want the plaintiff to pay them for pursuing a case against the abuse their staff member did to her…? That goes just so far into evil villain territory, I can’t believe they even thought to say that. If the goal of all the denials was to save their reputation, they could at least have left that bit off. But if they really were men of Christ, they’d be devastated something like this could have happened at their Church and they’d have done everything possible to make amends with the family.

    That flabbergasted me, too. Say what??

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  31. I’m actually kinda relieved to read the credentials of their lawyer. He’s a pretty bad choice for a million dollar lawsuit. This kind of lawsuit isn’t even his specialty, and as an alumnus, I can’t honestly say Liberty isn’t a very good school. I don’t think this is going to go well for them, and it shouldn’t.

    Best of luck to the victim and family.

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  32. Pingback: Linkathon! - Phoenix Preacher

  33. Friend: Maybe a bit beyond. There are persistent stories about the mistreatment of students, particularly women. I found a review posted by someone identifying as a former student, who wrote about room searches, and even about the dean forcing young women to take pregnancy tests if they were denounced (anonymously reported, Soviet style—my lingo but I don’t know what else to call it) for having boyfriends.

    I have not found a lot of high-quality news reporting or legal documents about PCC. Here is a link to an archive of a student-run site that PCC shut down after taking the author to court. It shows an image of a memo to campus chaperones in 2003, about “spring fever” and the risk that women might wearing tank tops:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20120113131514/http://www.pensacolachristiancollege.com/

    StudentsReview.com has *tons* of reviews of Pensacola Christian. Many are quite, um, interesting.

    If I’m not mistaken, the guy who used to run the now dormant site StuffFundiesLike.com was a Pensacola graduate.

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  34. Hmm, that lawyer’s credentials. Isn’t Pensacola Christian College unaccredited? Aren’t they also responsible for the revisionist/dominionist A-Beka curriculum I grew up with in my homeschooling adventures?

    If I were in charge of The Village People Church, I’d be finding another lawyer. But maybe that’s the best they can afford?

    Also, a status update for myself for those of you who have been praying for me. So, I’ve been struggling for the past 11 months with severe depression, anxiety, and insomnia, all from the beginnings of perimenopause (originally thought to be my thyroid, but that was a red herring). Good news! My doctor prescribed me Trazodone, and now I can sleep! The depression and the anxious, dark, hamster-wheel thoughts are gone! Praise God! I guess all I needed was for my brain to shut off. I pray I don’t develop a tolerance to it. But even if I do, I’ve hopefully bought myself more time to find a better hormone replacement therapy that actually works. It’s so nice to finally have my sanity back! No wonder evil people use sleep deprivation to torture their victims! Argh!

    Thank you Dee, again, for taking time with me on the phone last December. Thank you, all of you, for your prayers and support. Please pray that I don’t develop any side effects or tolerance to the Trazodone. I’m so tired of trying different hormone replacement junk that doesn’t help, and I’d just be happy taking this for however long I end up needing it for. Especially since I don’t wake up all groggy and out of it.

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  35. Friend: Maybe a bit beyond. There are persistent stories about the mistreatment of students, particularly women. I found a review posted by someone identifying as a former student, who wrote about room searches, and even about the dean forcing young women to take pregnancy tests if they were denounced (anonymously reported, Soviet style—my lingo but I don’t know what else to call it) for having boyfriends.

    I have not found a lot of high-quality news reporting or legal documents about PCC. Here is a link to an archive of a student-run site that PCC shut down after taking the author to court. It shows an image of a memo to campus chaperones in 2003, about “spring fever” and the risk that women might wearing tank tops:

    Whoa! I remember in high school (having been home schooled with their A-Beka curriculum) getting brochures in the mail for their Pensacola Christian College summer camp for high schoolers. Well, my parents would never have been able to afford it, but even if they could have, I wouldn’t have wanted to go. I remember reading their dress code requirements for girls in the brochure. All skirts/dresses down to your ankles stuff, even if you went ice skating. (I am not joking about the ice skating. They expected girls to wear a long skirt to their ankles while SKATING.) They did allow those all in one skirt-short things for tennis. That’s it. I was always a pants kind of girl, so I was like, what the heck? Never in a hundred million years. I’d rather go to summer camp in Siberia. It would probably be more dignified anyway.

    That was a major shock to me that there were still Christians on the planet who didn’t let their daughters wear pants or shorts. Vineyard and Calvary Chapel never policed us girls like that. Some mild complaining from some parents at their homes if girls were running around in tank tops and mini skirts at Sunday school, but nobody actually did anything about it. I had never been exposed to something so bizarre before. But, perhaps my Vineyard and Calvary Chapel experience is what’s “bizarre”, and this is the “normal” for churches?

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  36. ishy: I’m actually kinda relieved to read the credentials of their lawyer. He’s a pretty bad choice for a million dollar lawsuit.

    Worse than Mancow’s DUI lawyer?
    If he’s not fronting for some real big-gun lawyers, he’s going to be the one who ends up riding a tricycle with a midget balancing on his shoulders.

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  37. ishy: I’m actually kinda relieved to read the credentials of their lawyer. He’s a pretty bad choice for a million dollar lawsuit.

    Better than, equal to, or worse than Mancow’s DUI lawyer?

    If he isn’t fronting for some real legal big guns, he’s going to be the one who ends up riding a tricycle in a circle with a midget balanced on his shoulders.

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  38. Clockwork Angel: But, perhaps my Vineyard and Calvary Chapel experience is what’s “bizarre”, and this is the “normal” for churches?

    No, Clock, Penscacola is what’s BIZARRE.
    As BIZARRE as Jonestown or Mo David’s COGs.

    Even though Vineyard/Calvary Chapel itself has a rep for being extreme and cultic, Pensacola is beyond the reality barrier. CULT-level and then some.

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  39. Clockwork Angel: I remember reading their dress code requirements for girls in the brochure. All skirts/dresses down to your ankles stuff, even if you went ice skating. (I am not joking about the ice skating.

    My classmate at SEBTS went to PCC and told me all sorts of horror stories. For one thing, it’s non-accredited. Liberty is one of the few schools you can transfer to and get an accredited degree, and that’s what a lot of students end up doing.

    Also, along with the skirts, you had to wear pantyhose if you left your dorm room. This includes going from your dorm room to the bathroom to shower in an all-girls dorm. Men and women can’t use the same stairwells. You can’t go on dates without an adult chaperone. And worst of all, everyone is on work study in addition to paying for school, and they often hold students back or fail them to keep them paying for longer. Many students take 5-7 years to graduate with their unaccredited degree if they don’t transfer first.

    Hence why Mr. Gaines, Esq. went to Liberty for his law degree. Nobody else would take him.

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  40. clockwork Angel: “I am not joking about the ice skating. They expected girls to wear a long skirt to their ankles while SKATING”

    I was going to say they did it in that Cary Grant movie the bishops wife, but even her skirt, in 1947, was not that long lol.

    (Link in case anyone doesn’t watch this every year.)
    https://youtu.be/AXI7XIYnM2Q

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  41. clockwork angel: “and this is the “normal” for churches?”

    Not any i’ve ever attended!

    I did have a dress code like that (all skirts, to the knee at least), briefly at a christian school before I moved to public school with no dress code…based on those two experiences I am a big fan of no dress code.

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  42. Lea: I am a big fan of no dress code.

    I used to have fun with the dress code at Liberty. I always followed it to the letter, but definitely not the spirit. I especially liked to wear really frilly 80’s style Easter dresses with combat boots. I used to really annoy the New Cal theology prof, who was a stickler for dress code, but there was nothing he could do about it. I also shaved my head the year before I went, so I had a buzz cut the first year. I was not particularly their idea of a “winsome Christian young woman”.

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  43. The synopsis sounds a lot like what I am currently going through with my ex in court – deny everything, limit my rights while demanding his full rights, ignore the impact on the children, and though he wants costs I don’t have a right to any, in spite of the fact that he started this very long, costly, intensely stressful litigation process (and he is complaining about the cost?). Whether an individual or a church, it is mind-blowing how incredibly entitled they are, and how they have absolutely no ability to see things from the victim’s perspective. Not christian at all, and like Ishy, I can see it not going well for them and hope and pray it doesn’t. In my case, the issues of the first round of court were dismissed, much to the shock of the ex and his lawyer, but within days he had scheduled another court date for other issues. Things don’t look good for him, but the court system is sadly so unpredictable.

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  44. ishy,

    He does like to ask for costs, however
    “Very effective and easy to work with

    Posted by anonymous
    January 26, 2015
    Dustin handled a custody matter for me and he was very effective. I used to live in Texas and am now out of state and my other lawyer decided to not take the case. With very late notice, Dustin spent the entire weekend preparing the motions to file. After they were filed, the case was dropped by my ex. Dustin then went back to court and we even had the judge order that my legal fees be paid. I highly recommend Dustin as an attorney. He was very responsive to all of my questions and very effective.”
    https://www.avvo.com/attorneys/75270-tx-dustin-gaines-4588872.html#client_reviews

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  45. This choice of attorney does seem odd. Maybe Dustin is a front for a bigger name, maybe they figure if he is well-known and liked in FloMo that it will sound less aggressive to the congregation than if they hired a big firm out of Dallas, or maybe the other attorneys were bright enough to tell them to avoid the disclosures and expense that would come with depositions as others have suggested.
    Another distinct possibility, they made a poor choice because of poor administration. TVC is big because Matt Chandler is talented. MC hired his friends to run the show. They aren’t there because they are the best possible talent. Many decisions made suggest incompetence or truly not caring about the congregations’ well-being. I suspect the latter but will give the benefit of the doubt that it is the former.

    In case anyone at TVC is reading this, remember, Matt Chandler associated with and talked about his friendships with Mark Driscoll and James MacDonald for years. He isn’t hanging out with you, he is hanging out with them and they have brought pain and destruction.

    To Lea, we left TVC a few years back. What we discovered attending other churches is that we were being actively brainwashed every week while at TVC. We didn’t know it was happening until we left and heard others pastors speak. At TVC, we heard how awesome they were and how much God was at work there – in a way that was superior to how God was working elsewhere. They really pushed the idea that if you buy in and commit, then you get to be part of that awesomeness.

    TVC seems to have a lot of people clinging on to be awesome and to be entertained and not necessarily to serve or be in community. They were ALWAYS a million volunteers short in anything they did. Again, we had just become accustomed to it until we went other places and realized none of the churches we visited had any of these issues. Cognitive dissonance takes a lot to overcome.

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  46. Ken P.: Maybe TVC can afford these guys, but I don’t know their legal qualifications.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0ImdPdbqmw

    They might be kind of iffy…I didn’t see one of them dressed up like a lawyer!

    I could be totally wrong, but my theory is that TVPC (The Village People Church–LOL) went with a lawyer that was aligned better within their belief system (or was related to someone there) rather than an attorney with legal prowess and experience in that particular field. Frankly, he looks more like the kid that brings the lawyers their coffee! 🙂

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  47. Clockwork Angel,

    Oh, Clockwork Angel, I hear you! “Hamster-wheel thoughts”! I used to call them “fear-thoughts,” but “hamster wheel” is a much more vivid, accurate, spot-on descriptor. That’s exactly what they are like. It is utter torment. There were times I almost wanted to die. In my case, SSRIs were the godsend — first Anafranil and then, once it became available in the US, Luvox. I say it all the time, because it’s true: Luvox saved my life.

    God bless you, my fellow hamster! 😉 So glad you have found relief. Thank God for modern medicine!

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  48. Lance: “At TVC, we heard how awesome they were and how much God was at work there – in a way that was superior to how God was working elsewhere.”

    Oooh, this rung some back bells for me. I think I’ve visited churches like that. Just makes me realize how much mine has NEVER done that. Whew.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  49. Lance (the other one): … Matt Chandler associated with and talked about his friendships with Mark Driscoll and James MacDonald for years …

    Same DNA.

    Lance (the other one): … we were being actively brainwashed every week while at TVC … we heard how awesome they were and how much God was at work there … They really pushed the idea that if you buy in and commit, then you get to be part of that awesomeness.

    Modus operandi of the Acts 29 Network / New Calvinism. They have to tell you that God is at work because you don’t sense it in your spirit. Driscoll, MacDonald and other reformed icons had to market their “awesomeness” with gimmicks, but found out that God didn’t think they were so awesome after all. Chandler’s glitter is starting to wear off; he’ll be selling beef full-time soon.

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  50. Friend: He cites his “pastor/attorney’s perspective.” I would not retain a lawyer who considered legal knowledge insufficient to address legal problems.

    Coming to a law school near you (and housed in the same building as nouthetic counseling): Biblical Litigation

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  51. ishy: I used to have fun with the dress code at Liberty.

    I pretty much wanted my kids to pursue their dreams but told my daughter recently that I had been concerned that I would have to run interference if she had chosen Liberty or SWBTS.

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  52. clockwork Angel: glad u feel better! From personal experience during peri: doctors will very very very seldom consider any hrt that has no estrogen. But with insomnia odds are good the trouble is tooooo muuuuccchhh of the stuff, at least at night. Estrogen surges. Do talk to your doc about lowering estrogen dominance. Simple stuff like psyllium seed and melatonin (wee doses only!), exercise, no caffeine not even chocolate, cutting sugar, etc can quickly help balance it. If your doc oks it, (check first!!!) even a short course of otc progesterone crème will help. Mine had me not use it regularly, but a tiny dab as occasional sleeping pill, especially late in the cycle.

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  53. Lance (the other one): In case anyone at TVC is reading this, remember, Matt Chandler associated with and talked about his friendships with Mark Driscoll and James MacDonald for years. He isn’t hanging out with you, he is hanging out with them and they have brought pain and destruction.

    To Lea, we left TVC a few years back. What we discovered attending other churches is that we were being actively brainwashed every week while at TVC. We didn’t know it was happening until we left and heard others pastors speak. At TVC, we heard how awesome they were and how much God was at work there – in a way that was superior to how God was working elsewhere. They really pushed the idea that if you buy in and commit, then you get to be part of that awesomeness.

    YES. We experienced this at both an A29 and an HBC plant. It becomes a pride issue for both leaders and congregants, because members buy in to the whole “we’re better than everyone else” mentality for having discovered “the one true Gospel church” in the area.

    To anyone from TVC, listen to what TVC’s own Jen Wilkin has to say: “We also grant power to those with charismatic personalities. Gifted with persuasive speech, humor, or the ability to cast a vision, they draw us in with their communication skills… They form networks of relationships they use to forward their causes. They may be those who seek political glory or those who seek pulpits… If you have the gift of a magnetic personality, you know how easily you can shift from motivation to manipulation… crosses the line from communicating truth to crowd-pleasing or crowd control… The rest of us must guard against following the cult of personality. Wanting to be in the entourage of someone we perceive as influential indicates a desire for collateral power. But we must do more than be wary of worshiping those with a compelling voice. We must also remember to listen for and give voice to the needs of the voiceless as we’re able…”

    (https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/4-portraits-of-power-from-magazine-rack-near-you/)

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  54. WildHoney: “It becomes a pride issue for both leaders and congregants, because members buy in to the whole “we’re better than everyone else” mentality”

    I think it was dee the other day (IIRC) who was talking about the confessional portion of traditional liturgies… I feel like this is one place where it does help because it tends to be (at least in my church) ‘we confess that we have not’ been perfect always, or taken care of everyone, or been kind, or what have you. Some days it is really is helpful for me to think about ways I can be better.

    At the very least, it might keep an edge off the impulse to think your church and the people in it are so much better than everyone else.

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  55. FW Rez: I pretty much wanted my kids to pursue their dreams but told my daughter recently that I had been concerned that I would have to run interference if she had chosen Liberty or SWBTS.

    I have people who ask me about Christian schools and I tell them to go for the respected secular schools and get the practical degrees, even if they are planning to go into ministry. I doubt most churches would count a computer science degree against you after seminary when looking for a pastorate, but let me tell you from personal experience, employers will hold a Christian college degree against you even if you have 10 years in the business already.

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  56. Jessica: In this circumstance such a request is deplorable, but it is normal procedure.

    It’s worse than deplorable when it is okayed by pastors to save themselves and their institutions from allegedly abused children. These institutions are not churches and the men leading them are not pastors!

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  57. Dustin’s the newest associate in the firm ‘Middlebrook & Goodspeed, The Church Lawyers’?

    well, Mr. Goodspeed just happens to be an “active member of The Village Church”: (scroll to the end)

    https://thechurchlawyers.com/our-team/steven-d-goodspeed/

    Also…

    “Mr. Goodspeed served as in-house General Counsel and Director of Human Resources for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth”

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  58. I like to read the blog, but this is my first time commenting. Having spent quite a few years in the legal system, let me make a few comments as to what I see when I read about the lawsuit. I see a lot of comments and anger about the legal pleadings, but what I read about them (I have not seen the actual pleadings) sounds typical and normal in a lawsuit. In other words, you may have real issues with the church’s actions, inactions, lack of care and sympathy, etc., but the pleadings seem very normal for a Texas lawsuit. You would see the same type of arguments in almost any Texas lawsuit. One example – in Texas there are what are referred to as taxable costs when a case is filed. These costs – normally relatively minor — are assigned against the losing party. This is generally what is referred to as recovering costs. In certain circumstances, a party can recover their actual expenses such as attorney fees, but normally only where allowed by statute. As to why this particular attorney was hired, I don’t know, but if you check the website one of the senior partners is a member of The Village. Just because an attorney is young, a member of a small firm, or a part-time minister doesn’t mean that they are not qualified as an attorney. It is probably unfair to him to make that assumption – though it is common for anger at a party to be transferred to the attorney representing the party. I have had people be made at me in the legal system – after all, the nature of the system is adversarial.
    Litigation should be the last resort and it would have been better for all if it had been settled before this was necessary. But I have been involved in a bunch of lawsuits over the years where that was true. With personalities, injuries, affronts, and money involved litigation is all too common – even among Christians. I once spoke to a small Christian group being sued by another small Christian group over a relatively small amount of money. When I suggested that we could probably get some folks together and just pay the amount and resolve this issue, it was shot down over a matter of “principle.” In summary, the pleadings are the legal arguments of attorneys and once a case is filed the attorney has the duty to zealously represent the client. Is it always fair – no, it is not. But I have never seen any organization or individual just say, “okay, you win” in a pleading. The case will probably settle and, if that is so, no one will ever find out about the details of the settlement due to the confidentiality which will probably be in the settlement. Hope this helps explain what is going on. Dee, I would be happy to try to explain as best I can any part of the Texas legal system, how lawyers work, or pleadings if I can help.

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  59. Wild Honey: We experienced this at both an A29 and an HBC plant. It becomes a pride issue for both leaders and congregants, because members buy in to the whole “we’re better than everyone else” mentality for having discovered “the one true Gospel church” in the area.

    New Calvinism promotes “the one true Gospel church” big time! These young reformers sincerely believe that they have come into the world for such a time as this to restore the “gospel” that the rest of Christendom has lost (gospel = Calvinism, of course). The new reformation is arrogance in motion and a form of indoctrination which is hard to break free from … as Al Mohler says “Where else are they gonna go? I mean, what options are there?” Well, Al, 90+% of Christendom worldwide has opted out of your theology for the last 500 years! There are Gospel churches throughout America reaching lost people for Christ and equipping them to do the work of the ministry. This movement will fade into obscurity like so many more, leaving a great multitude of deceived followers in despair and disillusionment. Pride always comes before a fall.

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  60. We put our 17 year old daughter in PCC for their 4 year accredited nursing program that at the time, 2013 was rated number 6 in the nation for nursing excellence. We had done ALOT of research and because we were paying cash and did not want her to have debt we chose PCC. There was a lot of emotional prep work first and we explained to her that you can be gracious and work hard for the privilege of getting a 4 year degree with no debt. I think she is a better person for that choice. We used what they had to offer to her advantage and she was hired months before graduation at Tacoma General a very liberal hospital in Washington state because they recognized the educational excellence. Yes, the policies are crazy but she was not in danger, is a strong woman and watched out for others. In saying all of that I know there are girls that don’t far so well but I am glad for the fact she doesn’t have a 150 k school loan around her neck and glad that she could show strength with grace. I’m not sticking up for their policies I just wanted to share my experience.
    Thankyou for this web site

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  61. Max,

    The other aspect to Max’s summary is that many “flavors” of Christianity claim they have “the true gospel/way/etc”… heck, my GARBC fundy high school church claimed the same thing, and they were definitely NOT Calvinist! One of my HS teachers prided himself on being a 3.5 point calvanist, and he would argue it …
    . it would be fun to see him and these NeoCals go at it!!

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  62. ishy: you had to wear pantyhose if you left your dorm room. This includes going from your dorm room to the bathroom to shower in an all-girls dorm. Men and women can’t use the same stairwells

    Huh. Did the men have to wear pantyhose too? How very “Rocky Horror Picture Show”.
    “Just a jump to left…dadadadada….and then a step to the riiiight…”

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  63. Jack,

    Well, they were talking about women wearing skirts in the previous posts, but I think it would be quite fitting for their entire male administration to have to wear pantyhose every day at work. Though pantyhose would probably get banned quickly if they had to wear it instead of female students.

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  64. Donna: Yes, the policies are crazy but she was not in danger

    It is good to know your daughter got a degree she could use. If you don’t mind, what do you mean about her watching out for others, and other girls not faring well?

    I went to a college without crazy policies, and I was not in danger. No one in my family has ever graduated with college debt (combination of savings, work, merit, and favorable circumstances). I am grateful to doctors and others who do take on debt to earn degrees that enable them to help people.

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  65. Retired Lawyer: Litigation should be the last resort and it would have been better for all if it had been settled before this was necessary.

    But they stuck to their ridiculous church covenant and appeared to say that since the parents signed the covenant, the now 18 yo child was a signatory wince she was a minor when it was signed. Then the lovely pastors said she had to undergo legal arbitration which led to the lawsuit. The boys weren’t dealing…

    Retired Lawyer: These costs – normally relatively minor — are assigned against the losing party. This is generally what is referred to as recovering costs. In certain circumstances, a party can recover their actual expenses such as attorney fees, but normally only where allowed by statute.

    Does the law cause lawyers to not understand how their lingo sounds to decent people? Please stop calling the 18 year old molested victim *the losing party.* There appears to be a loss of decency in this entire process. You mentioned two Christian groups who shot down an attempt to get them to settle over a small amount of money. That is not the case here. A child was raped and ended up having understandable psychiatric problems. The church admitted she was harmed prior to the lawsuit. Not one of those blowhards got off their fat rumps from eating steak from the clean steak company and called the family.

    Retired Lawyer: Hope this helps explain what is going on. Dee,

    Sadly, it causes me to believe what I thought prior to your explanation. This is a church which has a serious leadership problem. You can be sure if it miffs off the commenters here, it isn’t going well. Then, if you mosey on over to Twitter, people are infuriated. Lawyers are supposed to be adept at optics. The church leadership comes out looking like scumbags. Advice to TVC lawyers-go aheads. Tryvto collect money from this family. It will be the worst mistake they have made to date.This blog, and a number of others, will make sure Christians know what is going on.

    So, I’ve got this bet that Ministry Safe may be involved with this mess. I have no proof so I can’t say that it is true. But something smells in this whole thing.

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  66. Jack: Huh. Did the men have to wear pantyhose too? How very “Rocky Horror Picture Show”.
    “Just a jump to left…dadadadada….and then a step to the riiiight…”

    HUG had it right awhile back.
    It’s as funny and as absurd as a circus clown riding a tricycle with a midget on his back.

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  67. Wild Honey: YES.We experienced this at both an A29 and an HBC plant.It becomes a pride issue for both leaders and congregants, because members buy in to the whole “we’re better than everyone else” mentality for having discovered “the one true Gospel church” in the area.

    To anyone from TVC, listen to what TVC’s own Jen Wilkin has to say: “We also grant power to those with charismatic personalities. Gifted with persuasive speech, humor, or the ability to cast a vision, they draw us in with their communication skills…

    (https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/4-portraits-of-power-from-magazine-rack-near-you/)

    Great quote, Wild Honey.

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  68. Clockwork Angel,

    “Good news! My doctor prescribed me Trazodone, and now I can sleep! The depression and the anxious, dark, hamster-wheel thoughts are gone! Praise God! I guess all I needed was for my brain to shut off.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++

    I’m very happy for you, Angel! wonderful news. every moment of happiness is like a power vitamin.

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  69. ishy,

    “really frilly 80’s style Easter dresses with combat boots. …but there was nothing he could do about it. I also shaved my head the year before I went, so I had a buzz cut…

    I was not particularly their idea of a “winsome Christian young woman”.”
    +++++++++++++++

    what FUN!!!!!

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  70. Lance (the other one),

    The really ironic thing? Read it as part of a women’s small group at the HBC plant right around the time we left. It is heartbreaking to see people we genuinely care about just not connecting the dots and either running themselves ragged or submitting to abusive leadership.

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  71. Friend: It is good to know your daughter got a degree she could use. If you don’t mind, what do you mean about her watching out for others, and other girls not faring well?

    I went to a college without crazy policies, and I was not in danger.

    Actually, if you don’t mind, I’m curious, too.

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  72. MinistrySafe promoting and working with the other partner (Middleton) several years ago:

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

    https://christianindex.org/od-ministrysafe/

    “at First Baptist Atlanta, October 22 of this year Gregory Love and Kimberlee Norris will be with us for ‘Sexual Abuse Summit 2015’ along with Matt Anthony and David Middlebrook, who are founding shareholders of Anthony & Middlebrook”

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  73. Lance (the other one),

    “TVC is big because Matt Chandler is talented.”
    ++++++++++++++

    talented in what? manipulation? scheister-dom?
    ———–

    “we left TVC a few years back. …we were being actively brainwashed every week while at TVC. …At TVC, we heard how awesome they were and how much God was at work there – in a way that was superior to how God was working elsewhere. They really pushed the idea that if you buy in and commit, then you get to be part of that awesomeness.”
    +++++++++++++++

    awesome at what? superior how?

    i’ve gotten acquainted with how Matt and Lauren Chandler, Jen Wilkin, Lore Ferguson, & other TVC pseudo luminaries present themselves.

    my impression is something like… ‘we’re awesome because we’re awesome. even our farts are awesome — we just can’t help but be awesome.’ it’s really weird — intoxicated-like.

    like they truly, wholeheartedly believe it. no substance required.

    in fact, no substance to back it up. kind of like counterfeit money, or monopoly money. they seem entirely oblivious to this. like they’re brainwashed themselves.

    i remember watching Matt Chandler address that SBC convention about the child sexual abuse perpetrated by their staff member. he seemed sort of stunned and shocked — like, ice water was just thrown in his face. like, this isn’t supposed to be happening to someone as awesome as himself.

    maybe he was awakening out of his i’m-so-awesome stupor.

    it’s a satisfying thought, at least.

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  74. Retired Lawyer:
    I like to read the blog, but this is my first time commenting. Having spent quite a few years in the legal system, let me make a few comments as to what I see……you may have real issues with the church’s actions, inactions, lack of care and sympathy, etc., but the pleadings seem very normal for a Texas lawsuit. You would see the same type of arguments in almost any Texas lawsuit…..the nature of the system is adversarial. Litigation should be the last resort and it would have been better for all if it had been settled before this was necessary….. But I have never seen any organization or individual just say, “okay, you win” in a pleading. The case will probably settle and, if that is so, no one will ever find out about the details of the settlement due to the confidentiality which will probably be in the settlement. Hope this helps explain what is going on. Dee, I would be happy to try to explain as best I can any part of the Texas legal system, how lawyers work, or pleadings if I can help.

    THANK YOU for this insight! Of course TVC will not just roll over and from what I’m reading & have read here from you sounds like what they filed is standard procedure. It does not, however, take away from the fact that the negotiations broke down between the victim, her family & TVC, which resulted in the suit. It was really simple to begin with – care for the victim. That’s it. If TVC had practiced what they continually preach, none of us would be commenting on Dee’s blog today. Dee & have spoken about the attorney, Dustin, and wondered about TVC’s choice to go with a somewhat inexperienced attorney (in lieu of Middlebrook or Goodspeed) and any possible connections he might have to Minstry Safe. I touched on this in a blog post yesterday, along with some other disturbing ways TVC ‘cares’ for it’s members.

    http://noedenelsewhere.com/how-the-village-church-cares-for-its-covenant-members/

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  75. Clockwork Angel: I guess all I needed was for my brain to shut off.

    I’m so glad you found something that worked for you! I’ve definitely had times when i needed to do just this, shut my brain off.

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  76. Donna: is a strong woman and watched out for others.

    In saying all of that I know there are girls that don’t far so well

    Interesting comment. Girls don’t fare well there, you mean?

    And most women watch out for each other, I’m curious if there was anything specific here.

    ishy, I love the idea of you bald and rocking 80’s dresses! I would never have done that at that age (doubtful now, honestly). I am just glad I didnt’ have a dress code. I had friends at other types of schools that had ‘boy checks’ at night and other dumb rules and I remember being shocked hearing about them.

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  77. ishy,

    Even though you stayed within the guidelines of the dress code and still dressed in an outrageous manner, there is a serious side to this. Some of the people God wants us to reach out to don’t respond well to conservative dress. Just some of my observations.

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  78. Friend,

    Edited to add: The greatest hazard to me at college was the campus Christian fellowship, which spun out of control. The second greatest came from a student who was thinking about ending his life; that situation was handled ably by the campus counseling service.

    And I never had to wear panty hose to walk to the shower.

    When we talk about keeping women safe, we also have to think about amping up the fear and piling on so many restrictions that a woman can’t ever just have a normal day. Women often pay a high emotional price for this, in the form of anxiety and depression and other ills.

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  79. Friend: The greatest hazard to me at college was the campus Christian fellowship

    I stopped going to church much later in college, partly because I never went to the little christian group on campus that a lot of the people I was going with attended and it got annoyingly cliquish?

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  80. Friend: And I never had to wear panty hose to walk to the shower.

    The idea that this was 1. A Rule and 2. An *enforced* rule in an area where men would never know, is mindboggling to me. If there is any room for “we all just pretend this rule doesn’t exist because it’s stupid” it’s here. Please tell me nobody really followed this?

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  81. dee,

    Hi Dee, I would never ever call a molested person “the losing party” and I’m sorry you read it that way and apologize if it sounded like that. I have defended folks and I have sued folks and I was simply talking about how the legal system in general works. To those outside the system it can be frustrating and heartless – to those inside as well, at times. My comments were to try to explain the legalese in the pleadings and how things happen in the legal system.

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  82. Brian: Some of the people God wants us to reach out to don’t respond well to conservative dress. Just some of my observations.

    I’m kinda failing to see your point. There are people who don’t respond well to almost anything on earth. There’s no way to ever appeal to everyone by what you do, no matter how hard you try. I believe God can choose to overcome those things sometimes, but culture is variable, and the rules at LU at the time were a product of Christian culture, not faith.

    I didn’t choose to go to Liberty; my father chose that. For reasons other than faith, as my father is agnostic and LU gave me a full scholarship when I hadn’t even applied to go there. It’s not like I had any control over their rules, only my expression of them.

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  83. This group of 501c3 churches, Acts29, which TVC is apart, is known to promote a corrupted form of divine sovereignty, and a flagrantly abusive doctrine of limited atonement ‘for’ what they call the ‘elect’ few. This they say is the ‘true’ gospel. This may account for the way they encounter and treat biblical sin, found in its various forms. Caution is therefore advised. Please avoid their subtle theological bag of indoctrination tricks, these can be quite spiritually and in a general sense, harmful. It might be enough for you to know there is something very wrong in what they teach and the questionable mindset, and actions this questionable teaching produces. Beware!

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  84. Belonging to a church that covers up child abuse and takes part in suing victims, is a very caustic thing. You can not possibly hope to think that you cannot be harmed in some way as well.

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  85. Lea: If there is any room for “we all just pretend this rule doesn’t exist because it’s stupid” it’s here. Please tell me nobody really followed this?

    But it was THE WORD OF GAWD!

    “If you question what I’m teaching you
    YOU REBEL AGAINST THE FATHER TOO!”
    — Steve Taylor, “I Manipulate”

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  86. At the bottom of The Church Lawyers webpage, you find this

    © Copyright 2018, Middlebrook | Goodspeed, PLLC. All Rights Reserved. The Church Lawyers is a motto/slogan representing a practice area of Middlebrook | Goodspeed, PLLC principal offices in Grapevine, Texas. All legal services are provided by Middlebrook | Goodspeed, PLLC. Site by Presley Design Studio.
    https://thechurchlawyers.com/

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  87. ishy: I especially liked to wear really frilly 80’s style Easter dresses with combat boots.

    Sounds like “Dixie Chicks Chic”.

    I also shaved my head the year before I went, so I had a buzz cut…

    With a little Sinead O’Conner mixed in.

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  88. Lea: If there is any room for “we all just pretend this rule doesn’t exist because it’s stupid” it’s here. Please tell me nobody really followed this?

    My first semester at LU, I had a really uptight RA who not only enforced rules to the second (1 second late to hall mtg–points/demerits taken), but she also made up some of her own rules. For example, she refused to let me go to the medical clinic after I got a burn, because it was during a required meeting. I spent the meeting in pain, and when I went later, the doctor fussed at me for waiting. When I explained why, he said RAs couldn’t do that. The RA was a very unhappy woman with a very controlling fiance who her parents picked for her to marry.

    I suspect it may be the same at PCC. They have rules which may or may not be entirely clear, and some RAs enforce them to the letter or overenforce them.

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  89. Jack: Huh. Did the men have to wear pantyhose too? How very “Rocky Horror Picture Show”.
    “Just a jump to left…dadadadada….and then a step to the riiiight…”

    “THEN A PELVIC THRUUUUUUST
    IT’LL DRIVE YOU INSA-A-A-ANE!
    LETS! DO! THE! TIME! WARP! AGAIN!”

    In my early days in fandom (roughly during the 1980s) Rocky Horror Picture Show fandom crossed over with a lot of the others. Some SF cons got so many Rockies in the masquerade/costume show (four or five Time Warps and Sweet Transvestites) that they had to start a special category for them). Also con film and video rooms were know for word-of-mouth “Surprise Cult Classic” at midnight. 30 years ago I could have sung both arias from memory, I’d heard them so often.

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  90. drstevej: When we asked about the Dallas Seminary dress code (Coat and tie) the answer was that the Bible says “adorn the gospel” and that means dress it up.

    Did they make you wear a suit and tie to the bathroom in a dorm?? I kind of doubt it.

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  91. drstevej: When we asked about the Dallas Seminary dress code (Coat and tie) the answer was that the Bible says “adorn the gospel” and that means dress it up.

    LU had a very similar philosophy at the time. Dr. Falwell, Sr. also said students just behaved more like adults when they were dressed like adults. I think he was thinking in a business world sort of dress code. He may have had a point, because the few days we were allowed to dress down, people did all sorts of weird and dumb things. Though, I think novelty had something to do with that.

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  92. ishy: For example, she refused to let me go to the medical clinic after I got a burn, because it was during a required meeting.

    that is appauling! And probably should have gotten her fired (or whatever you do to RA’s, iirc they got a stipend?)

    I’m so glad I went to a godless heathen college. I think we had a rule about visitors not staying in dorms over 4 days or something…

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  93. Lea: I had friends at other types of schools that had ‘boy checks’ at night and other dumb rules and I remember being shocked hearing about them.

    Cal Poly Pomona in the late Seventies had four co-ed dorms (co-ed by floor/wing due to the communal bathrooms), one all-girl dorm, and one all-guy dorm. There was a campus urban legend that someone pulled the fire alarm on the all-girl dorm around 3 Ayem and more guys boiled out of that building than girls.

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  94. ishy, it’s not liberty, but I was listening to a podcast about a different christian school (that people have heard of but I can’t remember the name) in the 70s or 80s that gave students weight requirements, and then when they sent them home over the summer with a weight loss goal and refused to let them come back to school if they didn’t hit it exactly! They interviewed a girl who wasn’t allowed to come back to school because she was a couple pounds off from her goal. Talk about control…

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  95. drstevej:
    When we asked about the Dallas Seminary dress code (Coat and tie) the answer was that the Bible says “adorn the gospel” and that means dress it up.

    And this is a seminary stating this. Because adorning the gospel is surely all about outward appearances?! Sorry, this is a complete fail from a theology perspective . . . from a seminary no less.

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  96. ishy: Dr. Falwell, Sr. also said students just behaved more like adults when they were dressed like adults. I think he was thinking in a business world sort of dress code.

    Though, I will note that business dress does not demand women wear skirts all the time. This was purely a Christian culture hold-out from the 50s.

    I feel like a lot of American Christian culture idealized the catalog image of the 50’s without thinking through why they were idealized and the drawbacks of it.

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  97. Bridget: And this is a seminary stating this. Because adorning the gospel is surely all about outward appearances?! Sorry, this is a complete fail from a theology perspective . . . from a seminary no less.

    I believe this was awhile back. Neither DTS or LU have these strict dress code rules anymore.

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  98. Lea: ishy, it’s not liberty, but I was listening to a podcast about a different christian school (that people have heard of but I can’t remember the name) in the 70s or 80s that gave students weight requirements, and then when they sent them home over the summer with a weight loss goal and refused to let them come back to school if they didn’t hit it exactly! They interviewed a girl who wasn’t allowed to come back to school because she was a couple pounds off from her goal. Talk about control…

    Oral Roberts. I Googled and found this: https://www.nytimes.com/1977/12/04/archives/college-criticized-for-getthin-policy-overweight-student-suspended.html

    It is pretty disgusting…

    I also found this article about LU’s rules, which is actually a pretty entertaining read. I particularly liked this section:

    “For example, this section from last year’s Liberty Way, which punished “immorality” and “involvement with witchcraft, séances or other satanic and demonic activity,” has been removed from this year’s edition. Go nuts with those spells, kids!”
    https://splinternews.com/liberty-university-changes-its-code-of-conduct-to-allow-1793850543

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  99. Lea: And probably should have gotten her fired (or whatever you do to RA’s, iirc they got a stipend?)

    No RA got fired for any reason, as far as I knew, and some were much worse. I think because RAs had to be such “bad guys” because the rules were so strict, that they had a hard time even finding the ones they had. But it also meant the ones they did find tended to be people who liked to be the bad guys.

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  100. The apparent difference between LibertyU, and say PCC or BJU, is that LibertyU attempts to [instill] ‘biblical and civic adult responsibility’, whereas the other two places of ‘Christian’ higher learning, IMHO invariably succumb largely to treating their students as children, and doing so by ‘force’, and frequent infractional punishment.

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  101. ishy: I think because RAs had to be such “bad guys” because the rules were so strict, that they had a hard time even finding the ones they had.

    Hmmm. Interesting.

    I feel like the RA’s when i was in school were motivated by the free tuition/stipend situation solely. They were only really enforcing rules if it meant something dangerous/illegal, although i can’t really remember any examples. they were mostly there for…idk, a resource maybe?

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  102. ishy: I feel like a lot of American Christian culture idealized the catalog image of the 50’s without thinking through why they were idealized and the drawbacks of it.

    Not even the REAL 1950s (I’m just old enough to remember the tail end of them, the First 1960s.)

    A MYTHOLOGIZED 1950s by way of Ozzie, Harriet, and Donna Reed that bore less resemblance to the REAL 1950s than JFK the myth does to John Kennedy the man.

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  103. Lea: I feel like the RA’s when i was in school were motivated by the free tuition/stipend situation solely. They were only really enforcing rules if it meant something dangerous/illegal, although i can’t really remember any examples

    Same here, but then I was in the dorms of a Godless Heathen Secular Gubmint College.
    They weren’t Specially Anointed and on-fire with “Doing The LOOOOOOORD’s Work” which I think is a major factor in the Christian College Dorm RA Horror Stories.

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  104. ishy,

    It comes down to an unhealthy, repressive power dynamic. It seems that in more repressive religious or any similar setting, there’s double down on dysfunctional deviant behavior.

    BTW I don’t consider a school uniform code deviant as long as it’s applied fairly. But as described here the obsession with what women wear in an all female dorm to go to the shower is high strangeness.

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  105. Lea: I feel like the RA’s when i was in school were motivated by the free tuition/stipend situation solely. They were only really enforcing rules if it meant something dangerous/illegal,

    I was a transfer from a giant public university, so I had perspective on some of these things that many others there who had grown up in sheltered Christian culture homes did not. But I will say that I was really grateful my roommates didn’t lock me out all night because they had a guy over or there wasn’t puke all over the halls and elevators every Friday morning. There were definite advantages to some rules being stricter.

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  106. Jack: BTW I don’t consider a school uniform code deviant as long as it’s applied fairly. But as described here the obsession with what women wear in an all female dorm to go to the shower is high strangeness.

    It totally is. Even LU’s dress code was disingenuous, because Dr. Falwell claimed it was to prepare us for the business world, but the business world didn’t require women to wear skirts anymore. And some of the rules were definitely to make parents feel better than the school was sheltering their kids for them, though this really did more harm than good since those young adults often went on to go totally crazy when they finally could.

    I know people whose parents sent them to PCC or LU purely so they would continue to be sheltered. Behind all these rules was a terrible fear of losing your faith, even though neither school’s theology backed that belief.

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  107. ishy: I was really grateful my roommates didn’t lock me out all night because they had a guy over

    Ha! I only had that issue with a roommate once and it was only the afternoon and I wouldn’t have cared if she’d given me a couple minutes to grab what I needed first lol. (Her bf did stay over for a few days, but I was also guilty of that with other roommates…)

    I’m sure perspective helped!

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  108. Lea: Ha! I only had that issue with a roommate once and it was only the afternoon and I wouldn’t have cared if she’d given me a couple minutes to grab what I needed first lol.

    I had a roommate who had the brilliant idea that her and her bf, who went to different schools, would take alternating weeks skipping their classes and staying with the other. And… she picked the all-womens dorm with the strictest rules on men in the dorms. They had majors where both could have transferred to the other’s school, or she could have picked a coed dorm or lived off campus. But missing half your classes and requiring their roommates to host their partner in their room every other week was not cool.

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  109. ishy: requiring their roommates to host their partner in their room every other week was not cool.

    Agree. Although if he was cool i might not have cared much. We let some dude sleep on our couch for a month after he and his gf broke up. (this was an apartment style dorm, though, so he wasn’t in our room).

    My freshman roommates bf lived across the country and they got a little excited when he got there, i would have just liked a ‘need anything before we take the room for an hour’ convo. Every other weekend would be.. a lot. Occasional hosting of long distance bf didn’t bother me.

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  110. Uh-oh:

    New for 2019…Males, Females to share Ballard Hall at Pensacola Christian College

    https://www.pcci.edu/pathway/23AndOlder.aspx

    [Men and women living in Ballard Hall may socialize in the Ballard lobby from 5:45 a.m. until the lobby closes at midnight. All students must return to their own wings once the lobby is closed: Ballard south wing is reserved for male students and Ballard north wing for women students. Students may not be in opposite-gender wings.]

    You can bet the matrons/monitors patrolling this residence hall and lobby have been put on high alert!

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  111. Jerome,

    Ya’ll, this will be my last comment on this but…

    “You may go off with a residence hall student under 23 of the opposite gender with their parent’s permission and with an approved pass. However, do not go in mixed groups to the beach, to the home or hotel of an unmarried person of the opposite gender, or to parks after dark.”

    What? They have to get adult permission slips for real?

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  112. ishy: “For example, this section from last year’s Liberty Way, which punished “immorality” and “involvement with witchcraft, séances or other satanic and demonic activity,” has been removed from this year’s edition.

    I’m amazed! I was just knocking around that other place and they said yoga’s banned and the citations they used were just about ‘following gods law’. It’s funny how they use bible verses like they are citations for rules when they have literally nothing to do with the restriction!

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  113. ishy: I believe this was awhile back. Neither DTS or LU have these strict dress code rules anymore.

    I get that. It’s just sad to see a seminary using scripture this way. And it’s still used this way today in many Christian environments.

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  114. I want to say that the Middlebrook name sounds familiar. IIRC I think he may have worked with Dennis Brewer in a law firm; Brewer is Ed “The Bed” Young Jr.’s running buddy over at Fellowship.

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  115. Mark R: I want to say that the Middlebrook name sounds familiar. IIRC I think he may have worked with Dennis Brewer in a law firm; Brewer is Ed “The Bed” Young Jr.’s running buddy over at Fellowship.

    The biggest problem with all of these guys is terrible nepotism. We’ve already known it was bad with Chandler, particularly with his last minute appearance at the SBC conference to claim his innocent victimhood when people like Jules weren’t even allowed in the doors. But that nepotism can be a huge problem when choosing an unqualified attorney, so I think they just have at the unqualified attorney dudebro buddies.

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  116. Catholic Gate-Crasher: Oh, Clockwork Angel, I hear you! “Hamster-wheel thoughts”! I used to call them “fear-thoughts,” but “hamster wheel” is a much more vivid, accurate, spot-on descriptor. That’s exactly what they are like. It is utter torment. There were times I almost wanted to die. In my case, SSRIs were the godsend — first Anafranil and then, once it became available in the US, Luvox. I say it all the time, because it’s true: Luvox saved my life.

    God bless you, my fellow hamster! So glad you have found relief. Thank God for modern medicine!

    Haha! God bless, you too, hamster! And Amen to thanking God for modern medicine. I couldn’t imagine going through all this in A.D. 346.

    So nice to snuggle in my blankies again and see my bed as a place of rest instead of tossing and turning.

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  117. ishy: The biggest problem with all of these guys is terrible nepotism.

    “All of these guys” could teach the Saudi Royal Family and the Kims of North Korea some things about nepotism.

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  118. Bridget: I get that. It’s just sad to see a seminary using scripture this way. And it’s still used this way today in many Christian environments.

    But how else can I Prove I’m More Godly Than Thou?

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  119. linda: clockwork Angel: glad u feel better! From personal experience during peri: doctors will very very very seldom consider any hrt that has no estrogen. But with insomnia odds are good the trouble is tooooo muuuuccchhh of the stuff, at least at night. Estrogen surges. Do talk to your doc about lowering estrogen dominance. Simple stuff like psyllium seed and melatonin (wee doses only!), exercise, no caffeine not even chocolate, cutting sugar, etc can quickly help balance it. If your doc oks it, (check first!!!) even a short course of otc progesterone crème will help. Mine had me not use it regularly, but a tiny dab as occasional sleeping pill, especially late in the cycle.

    Well, the OBGYN nurse practitioner started me on birth control, which takes over the ovaries completely, and she started me on low dose and only slowly raised things up. She wouldn’t go to 50 mcg of estradiol, for obvious reasons. But I’m thinking either I’m an oddball person who normally runs on high estrogen, or I really don’t like the synthetic progestins. She recently switched progestin types on me, and I ended up with even worse insomnia. Like, I couldn’t sleep at all! She’s already threatening me with getting me off birth control and just topping me off with patches. As such, I want to try biodentical next, especially for the progesterone. Will I fall asleep on Prometrium as the legends say? 🙂

    I did try melatonin (even as high as 10mg out of desperation!), valerian root, Emerita Progest, magnesium citrate, magnesium glycinate, L-Tryptophan, 5-HTP, etc. Nothing OTC made me sleepy. Weird!

    Thank God for modern medicine.

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  120. ishy: My classmate at SEBTS went to PCC and told me all sorts of horror stories. For one thing, it’s non-accredited. Liberty is one of the few schools you can transfer to and get an accredited degree, and that’s what a lot of students end up doing.

    Also, along with the skirts, you had to wear pantyhose if you left your dorm room. This includes going from your dorm room to the bathroom to shower in an all-girls dorm. Men and women can’t use the same stairwells. You can’t go on dates without an adult chaperone. And worst of all, everyone is on work study in addition to paying for school, and they often hold students back or fail them to keep them paying for longer. Many students take 5-7 years to graduate with their unaccredited degree if they don’t transfer first.

    Hence why Mr. Gaines, Esq. went to Liberty for his law degree. Nobody else would take him.

    Eesh! That’s sick! I’d sue if my school held me back to extract money from me!

    Glad I went to my heathen school. (Cal State Fullerton… GO TITANS!)

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  121. ishy: “For example, this section from last year’s Liberty Way, which punished “immorality” and “involvement with witchcraft, séances or other satanic and demonic activity,” has been removed from this year’s edition. Go nuts with those spells, kids!”

    So…they’re finally allowing them to read/watch Harry Potter?

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  122. Jack: I can still remember the words and actions, in the late 80s I saw Rocky Horror a lot. Rice, squirt bottle, newspaper, toilet paper…good times.

    1) When the closest thing I ever had to a girlfriend was in high school, she and a friend went to a Rocky Horror Midnight screening. She saw the Rockies asking anyone they didn’t recognize as a regular “Is this your first time here?” And someone a couple rows in front of them said “Yes”.

    “VIRGIN! VIRGIN!” Said Virgin got rushed down to the front row and pelted with rice and various other stuff. “VIRGIN! VIRGIN! (pelt! pelt!)”

    She and her friend looked at each other and said “Are we going to tell them it’s our first time? No. Way.”

    2) Around 1980, Fridays (a West Coast knockoff of Saturday Night Live) did a lot of “What If Ronald Reagan starred in…?” movie parodies. One of them was “The Ronny Horror Show” starring Ronald Reagan as Frank-N-Furter, George Bush as Riff Raff, Richard Nixon as Eddie/Meatloaf, and Malcolm X as The Creature. All songs filk-parodies from the originals. It should be somewhere on YouTube; try searching for it sometime.

    3) At my first real job, I shared an office with a guy who’d been a Rocky and used to tell me war stories about Midnight screenings at THE major Rocky Horror theater in the area. Including “blowing the volcano” (a fire-eating trick where you exhale a lungful of butane over a lighter flame, blasting a 20-foot/6-meter fireball into the air) during the “There’s a Light…” number. Lit up the whole theater and whited out the screen for two seconds. “The Rockies were impressed”, though he had to run for it afterwards.

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  123. clockwork angel–10 mg of melatonin would keep me awake for weeks lol. yep, prometrium gave me horrible insomnia and the symptoms of a bladder infection to boot. tried natural and synthetic hormones, bc pills, hrt, otc hormones (did get short term relief there but then it turned on me.) Today I know I actually do, even postM, run higher than most on estrogen. Fortunately I hit a different health problem which forced me off all hormones, not even able to tolerate the soy in a simple protein cereal bar. Made my own detergent for while when detoxing from exogenous estrogen. Sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, anti depressants all worsened the insomnia. What actually worked the best for me was combining that simple fiber supplement, exercise, detoxing from outside estrogen, and believe it or not plain ovaltine. Don’t laugh: the combo of warm milk and the sugars plus the vitamins would put me in la la land in about half an hour. I combined that with a totally dark room, cold room, and two fans running but not blowing on me to kill the outside street noise. Kind of my own sensory deprivation tank lol. That and adding an egg crate foam topper to the bed. I broke all the rules but decided to lie there and lie still whether I slept or not. Used contemplative prayer as a mind distracter and got older and the danged insomnia went away.

    Hang in there–there is sleep after the big M!

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  124. So, to use the pastoral analogy, a little lamb became wolf-fodder under the noses of shepherds who were paid the big bucks to “care” for her, and did nothing wrong. How did this happen? Let Shepherd Chandler give his definition of wolf hunting:
    ‘He (Paul) just said, “Because of the wolves, the name of God will be blasphemed among the secular.” He’s saying that you are caught up in a lie of the enemy to distract you away from God’s truths by idiots who claim to know Christ but don’t know Him and attend church regularly. The wolves are in the church. So when people say to me, “This happened. . .this happened. . .this happened,” I’ve got no argument. I just go, “It’s worse than that.” It’s played itself out here in several ways. There are young men in the city of Dallas who know that there are young, beautiful women at the Village Church, and so they come here to hunt. And I plead with our girls constantly that good behavior and godliness aren’t the same thing, and if you marry good and not godly, you’ve set yourself up for sorrow, especially if you want to raise children and serve God. If you marry a man who is not interested in those things, your children are going to take their cues from their daddy. And men, that should be an unbelievable weight on you. So when we find out that you’re hunting here, we’re going to shoot you.’
    https://www.tvcresources.net/resource-library/sermons/guiding-and-confronting-the-mess

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  125. Jeffrey Chalmers: many “flavors” of Christianity claim they have “the true gospel/way/etc”

    Exclusive Christian groups are cults, IMO. They use “the one true way” gimmick to attract and keep followers so they can get in their pocketbooks. It’s a manipulation by the pulpit designed to control and dominate the pew, which is not of God.

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  126. Dave A A: And I plead with our girls constantly that good behavior and godliness aren’t the same thing, and if you marry good and not godly, you’ve set yourself up for sorrow

    What? Did he give some detailed breakdown between what was ‘good’ and ‘godly’? Because if Chandler is godly I’d rather be with good.

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  127. elastigirl,

    Clockwork Angel, I’ve been on trazodone for about 25 yrs or so. Love it. Really helps me sleep better. You may get these weird dreams. but they don’t bother me. I sometimes think that’s my alter ego coming out in the dreams.

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  128. linda: sleep

    Since we’re on the topic of insomnia, here are a few things that help me:

    -No caffeine after 3 pm. I sometimes take melatonin before bed. Benadryl helps, but I can’t take it more than two nights in a row, or I get a “hangover.”

    -In evening, set devices to night light mode (less blue/white).

    -At bedtime, lock doors. Turn lights low while dressing for bed. Phone volume off. Alarm clock set. Earphones by the bed, set to play quiet music.

    -If I wake in the wee hours, I use relaxation techniques to reduce the anxiety that immediately starts. Deep, slow belly breaths. Note which areas are tensing up, and deliberately relax them.

    -Make myself more comfortable: add a blanket, shift to a more comfy position.

    -Think about the moment: right now I am safe, nothing bad has just happened.

    -Remind myself that 3 a.m. is not the time to solve a problem.

    -If I pray, it is for rest, comfort, and the ability to get through the night and following day. This is not a time for repentance or seeking deep new insight.

    -When my mind is too lively, I put on those earphones and listen to very quiet music.

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  129. Clockwork Angel: My doctor prescribed me Trazodone, and now I can sleep! The depression and the anxious, dark, hamster-wheel thoughts are gone! Praise God! I

    I’m glad Trazodone is working for you. It didn’t work for me. What ultimately made it easier for me to fall asleep and stay asleep was a gel-filled sleep eye mask. The gel surrounds the eyes, and I can actually open my eyes while wearing it, but it’s black as night. The mask itself is black. It has made a *huge* difference in my sleep.

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  130. ishy: Hence why Mr. Gaines, Esq. went to Liberty for his law degree. Nobody else would take him.

    I’d also point out that in the last couple of decades. law school capacity has expanded greatly. People who might have considered LU had more choices, and I suspect that a lot of spaces (more than average) were taken up by people who graduated from unaccredited schools. That said, the ABA can be really strict about the number of people admitted without an LSAT or a BA or from an unaccredited school.

    In any case, I don’t recommend law school for anyone unless you get accepted to Harvard, Yale or Stanford *OR* you get a full-ride scholarship to the top tier of schools *OR* someone else is paying for it and there’s a possibility you might move into the family firm. Going to any law school you’re guaranteed a $150K-$200K+ debt otherwise. And given the changes in the legal profession, it’s really not worth it.

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  131. Dave A A: So when we find out that you’re hunting here, we’re going to shoot you.

    or, perhaps simply “unhire”, as the case may be.

    It will be very interesting if it can be proved that TVC leaders knew of the allegations against Tonne prior to his dismissal.

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  132. dee: Everyone. Read Anna’s great post.

    The first thing that leapt out at me in Anna’s piece is that it seems that religious outfits want to be exempt from the laws and integrity based protocols non-religious organizations abide by (for the most part anyway).

    Anybody else notice a pattern of evasion when fundagelical outfits screw the pooch so to speak? And how they refuse to, and don’t wanna’ be held accountable?

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  133. Lea: I do this but with podcasts, with a sleep timer of 15-30 minutes.

    That’s smarter than my habit of listening to classical FM. More than once I’ve dozed off to a Chopin nocturne, and then an hour later they put on the 1812 Overture with live cannons.

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  134. Friend: More than once I’ve dozed off to a Chopin nocturne, and then an hour later they put on the 1812 Overture with live cannons.

    LOL! I can’t sleep with any sound if I dont know it’s on a timer.

    Podcasts work well for me particularly if you can find something you don’t mind dozing off to and aren’t *too* interested in and the host has a nice voice. Music doesn’t really shut off the thinking/anxious part of my brain like ‘the history of rome’.

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  135. Muff Potter: Anybody else notice a pattern of evasion when fundagelical outfits screw the pooch so to speak? And how they refuse to, and don’t wanna’ be held accountable?

    Theirs is a High and Lonely Destiny, Digory.

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  136. Muff Potter,

    “seems that religious outfits want to be exempt from the laws and integrity based protocols non-religious organizations abide by (for the most part anyway).

    Anybody else notice a pattern of evasion when fundagelical outfits screw the pooch so to speak? And how they refuse to, and don’t wanna’ be held accountable?”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++

    i’m sort of in sync with the conversation… this may be completely stating the obvious (although i’d like to think it’s adding something meaningful):

    some themes of the christian mindset:

    -not of this world
    -the world system
    -they are of the world; we are of God; the world does not understand us
    -come out from among them and be ye separate
    -a peculiar people
    -carnal vs spiritual
    -our citizenship is in heaven

    another set of themes:

    -christians are God’s representatives on earth
    -christians are elite human beings
    -christians are the ultimate in-group
    -christian leaders have spiritual authority from God that is more important than all other authority
    -touch not God’s anointed ones
    .
    .
    to some degree, it’s like the christian mindset considers it beneath them (an insult, a ridiculous notion, an unholy outrage, an affront to God) that they should have to be subject to any set of codes other than ‘biblical’.

    therefore, it’s not hard for the christian mindset to feel entitled to skirt the following things because they’re too ‘tainted’ and don’t necessarily apply to them:

    government, laws, the spirit of the law, city/county ordinances, contractual arrangements, the rules of other organizations, environmental concerns like recycling, science that doesn’t fit ‘biblical’.

    even things like kindness, common courtesy.

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  137. elastigirl: i’m sort of in sync with the conversation… this may be completely stating the obvious (although i’d like to think it’s adding something meaningful)

    Very insightful; I think you are on to something. This very much depicts the pastor and leadership at my former Calvi-church. They truly believed themselves above and beyond the law, and everything else.

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  138. TS00,

    Jeannette Altes,

    …i just think christianity (as wholly distinct from Jesus Christ who lived, died, and rose again and is alive aware and interacting up to this moment and the next) messes so many things up.

    dang, religion is dangerous.

    and no, “christianity” is not about relationship — it only is in theory. in practice, it is religion — a conglomeration of fear-based systems that suck joie-de-vivre out of people, making lives unnecessarily complicated when not destroying them.

    whose purposes are to consolidate power and wealth in the hands of a relative few.

    …and good morning. 🙂

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  139. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes: I’m glad Trazodone is working for you. It didn’t work for me. What ultimately made it easier for me to fall asleep and stay asleep was a gel-filled sleep eye mask. The gel surrounds the eyes, and I can actually open my eyes while wearing it, but it’s black as night. The mask itself is black. It has made a *huge* difference in my sleep.

    Yeah, I have a sleep mask, too! Been using it since my teens. Stupid car port light is right out my apartment window. Only way to block it out. Nice fan on med-high blocks out the noise.

    Harley: Clockwork Angel, I’ve been on trazodone for about 25 yrs or so. Love it. Really helps me sleep better. You may get these weird dreams. but they don’t bother me. I sometimes think that’s my alter ego coming out in the dreams.

    25 years? Wow! That sounds very promising. I worry that I could end up building up a tolerance to it, but it sounds like not everyone does. That’s good to hear!

    Come to think of it, I did have crazy dream the other night about painting my bedroom. I live in an apartment. Why would I even do that? And no, I didn’t protect any of the furniture. I just plopped the paint on the walls with my brush haphazardly. Good thing I’m not on Ambien, otherwise I might have woken up to a room full of paint being splattered everywhere. 😀

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