A Member of the Guidepost Solutions Team Investigating the SBC Executive Committee Has a ‘Blackface’ Problem

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“The internet is not for sissies.” Paul Vixie


When we last left Guideposts Solutions…

In June, I wrote the following post: Is Guidepost Solutions Really the Solution to Investigations in the SBC? Basically, I was unimpressed. For once I wasn’t the only one. In that post I noted:

Julie Roys wrote a post that may answer my question. Red Flags Surface About Firm Hired to Investigate SBC’s Handling of Abuse. As usual, Roys has facts and questions as does Wade Mullen.

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is taking bold new steps to address its alleged mishandling of abuse, and yesterday voted to set up a task force to deal with the issue. At the same time, a leading abuse advocate is raising serious concerns about the firm the SBC Executive Committee has hired to investigate abuse issues—Guidepost Solutions.

In a series of recent tweets, author and seminary professor, Wade Mullen revealed several instances where Guidepost Solutions has not represented the best interests of victims, but instead has protected powerful clients. And as Mullen warned, if an investigation isn’t conducted properly, the result can be worse than the initial situation.

Wade Mullens was not pleased and expressed his concern on Twitter.

In the post, you will see that Boz Tchividjian was concerned. More on that in a moment.

At that time I exclaimed:

this is who is investigating sex abuse allegations in the SBC? Is the SBC one of its wealthy clients? Was The Summit Church one of their wealthy clients? This is the group that investigated ARod’s indiscretions as well? Harvey Weinstein has been associated with them. them?

The surprising and controversial members on Guidepost’s team that will investigate the SBC.

I did not know that Church Leaders posted the following: Survivor Advocates Have Words of Warning About SBC’s Investigative Firm–‘Take Great Care’ Besides mentioning that Roys, Tchividjian, and myself were concerned, they posted the following comment:

Todd Benkert, the Indiana pastor who called for a system-wide audit of the SBC, tweeted today: “Southern Baptists, resist the urge to defend ourselves to survivors of SBC sexual abuse. Trust must be earned.” Last week, he wrote: “Guidepost will do whatever they are hired to do. That’s why it’s so important that @EdLitton choose the members of the task force carefully. I nominate @R_Denhollander who has both the knowledge of sexual abuse and legal expertise to help set the parameters of the investigation.”

Benkert said that the SBC’s Ed Litton needed to “carefully” appoint the members of this task force. So did he? The Alabama Baptist posted Litton names task force to review SBC Executive Committee’s handling of sexual abuse: Here are the members of the task force.


According to the article, Rachel Denhollander and Chris Moles will be advisors to this group. One of the roles of this group was to find a group to conduct an independent investigation of the SBC Executive Committee.

The review was initiated during this year’s annual meeting following allegations that Executive Committee members defamed sex abuse survivors, bullied advocates and resisted reform efforts.

The Biblical Recorder posted that information in Task force enlists Guidepost to conduct review of SBC Executive Committee.

 

Whiplash

The first thing TWW readers might notice is that Samantha Kilpatrick, who just left GRACE,  is now somehow a part of the Guidepost Solutions as a Subject Matter expert! The move from GRACE to Guidepost Solutions was so fast that I got whiplash. How curious is this? Boz Tchividjian was no fan of this group. I guess you could say that I’m not as well. Since she was hired by GRACE, one might assume that she might have concerns about Guidepost Solutions as well. I guess not. Take a look at her bio at Guidepost. (Scroll down.) Notice that she doesn’t mention her time at GRACE?

Perhaps this might become clearer by reading what attributes were being sought by the task force. The Biblical Recorder post said that:

After extensive reviews by the Task Force, the Guidepost Solutions team was selected based on the following criteria:

  • Extensive background in abuse, trauma, and abusive dynamics, with considerable background involving abuse in religious contexts.
  • Significant experience with corporate and legal dynamics which contribute to the mishandling of or proper responses to, sexual abuse, survivor care and abuse prevention.
  • Robust understanding of and focus on the impact of leadership, with significant skill assessing and reporting on cultural dynamics of an institution and their impact on abuse and abuse prevention.
  • Team members with strong background in SBC culture and polity.
  • A firm commitment to survivor care, trauma-informed practices, and importance of survivor trust.

Refer to the Biblical Recorder for more criteria. The only thing I can say is RZIM, Bryan Loritts, Strauss Kahn, Harvey Weinstein, and ARod… Seriously? Did they change the corporate culture to suddenly care for the victims of abuse?  Perhaps, especially if there is money involved but who knows. Does anyone think that the SBC will suddenly develop transparency and tell the good tithers of the SBC how much they paid Guidepost Solutions? I think you all know the answer to that one.

The disturbing instance of blackface and Julie Myers Wood.

Julie Myers Wood is listed as the CEO of Guidepost Solutions and appears to be involved directly in the investigation. Given what I wrote about a couple of months ago, I decided to see what sort of background she has. Her bio on Guidepost Solutions is incredible. I wonder if she left anything out? So I looked her up on Wikipedia and saw that there was a controversy in her past. Far be it for me to take a Wikipedia article as-is.

in 2007, the Chicago Tribune posted Who doesn’t pose with a white guy in blackface?

What else could explain Julie Myers, the Homeland Security Department assistant secretary who is in charge of ICE, giving an award for best costume to an employee who showed up at an agency get-together with his white skin darkened, wearing dreadlocks and prison stripes?

Myers posed for pictures with the presumably self-satisfied employee. But, alas, looks like we won’t get to see them.

After agency people realized what a tremendously impolitic thing it was that she, a top DHS official, should be involved in such an event, the photographic evidence was apparently destroyed.

Myers has apologized and that appears to be the end of it.

At this site, Pueblo Lands, the picture was recovered. Since I don’t know about copyright, I am hesitant to post it here given that we are dealing with lawyers on the investigative team. Here is the narrative with the photo.

Some might remember Julie Myers Wood for presiding over an infamous Halloween costume party at ICE’s Washington D.C. headquarters in 2007. Some ICE employees dressed up as immigrant fugitives. Wood awarded the best costume prize to an ICE employee who donned a dread lock wig and blackface paint, explaining to amused colleagues that he was a Jamaican detainee who had escaped from ICE’s Krome prison near Miami. Wood was accused by the House Committee on Homeland Security of exercising “poor judgement” when she rewarded the employee for the costume, and also of covering up the incident afterward when she ordered the deletion of pictures. The pictures included a photo of her smiling next to the make-believe Jamaican immigrant prisoner. (The pictures were later recovered.)

Why does this matter?

Given the SBC’s difficulty when it comes to race relations, such a photo cropping up again could be awkward. Perhaps it would be smarter to deal with it upfront. I think everyone should remember that the internet is forever.


Comments

A Member of the Guidepost Solutions Team Investigating the SBC Executive Committee Has a ‘Blackface’ Problem — 74 Comments

  1. I think we all do.

    Speaking of upcoming explosions, apparently the super-heavy Starship booster has all 29 raptor engines installed, each with around half a megapound of thrust and a LOT of vibration when up to full power. I really hope the static fire test goes according to plan, but it may not. The last super-heavy rocket with that many engines in a single ring (as distinct from the 3 blocks of 9 in the Falcon Heavy) was the Soviet N-1. And we all know what happened to that.

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  2. 2007? This is nuts. This group has a virtually open ended engagement letter. I can’t imagine undermining the outfit. The SBC will pay up to $580/hr plus expenses for an unspecified number of investigators for the next 9 months. But give the EC some reasons not to sign off. You do the SBC a favor.

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  3. Ken F (aka Tweed): “the Guidepost Solutions team was selected based on the following criteria:”

    Did anyone else notice that the criteria would be exactly the same if someone wanted to hire experienced abusers for the purpose of causing maximum harm?

    That. With the exception of the last criteria point, A firm commitment to survivor care, trauma-informed practices, and importance of survivor trust., unless the sentence was re-written A firm commitment to survivor “care”, trauma-informed practices, and importance of survivor trust.

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  4. researcher: Max: SBC….too little Gospel.

    That.

    To the new folks in charge of SBC, Calvinism = Gospel … “New” Calvinism is another gospel which is not the Gospel at all. SBC’s current mission is not the Great Commission, the mission is to plant reformed theology churches. This is not the message and method of the SBC I knew for over 70 years; the New Calvinists have made a mess of things … a once-great whosoever-will-may-come evangelistic denomination is no more. What we are seeing with this blog piece is simply a gasping, dying breath to keep things intact for the NeoCal elite as long as possible.

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  5. researcher: With the exception of the last criteria point, A firm commitment to survivor care, trauma-informed practices, and importance of survivor trust., unless the sentence was re-written A firm commitment to survivor “care”, trauma-informed practices, and importance of survivor trust.

    That was my first thought, but when I looked at it again I realized that even that statement has different potential meanings. For example, taking care of survivors could very well mean silencing, side-lining, and abusing them. The dutiful abuser can report up the chain that he took care of the victim, thus demonstrating his commitment to survivor care. And knowing how to care for survivors is the best way to know how to abuse them.

    I don’t believe they are actively seeking abusers, but it struck me how well the criteria would work if they purposefully wanted to hire the worst kinds of abusers.

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  6. Max: Old sins die hard … in some corners of [church] life, they ain’t dead yet.

    May be a feature not a bug … more than a corner. We’re talkin’ endemic, systemic, i.e. racism, misogyny, classism, patriarchy, hierarchy, etc., found right in the core “theology”. The good ole days were not golden. Moving forward to higher ground surpasses the myths of back-in-the-day. Not going back. Never.

    Yesterday a woman reporter in Afghanistan said a Taliban official would be interviewed only if her questions were voiced by her male assistant since the Taliban never answer to women.

    Fits right in with [some] Christian leaders and their colleagues, orgs, BFFs, followers, “theology”, teachings, sermons, politics, practices, evil culture.

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  7. Ken F (aka Tweed): when I looked at it again I realized that even that statement has different potential meanings.

    That. And my apologies for being unable to provide another example that I thought of after reading your reply to me (and there are probably even more examples)….and my inability to add the example I thought of has nothing to do with my own (or anyone else’s) safety and protection.

    Ken F (aka Tweed): I don’t believe they are actively seeking abusers….how well the criteria would work if they purposefully wanted to hire the worst kinds of abusers.

    That.

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  8. Isn’t interesting how “organizations” have to form “tasks forces” to investigate what is plainly simple:
    1. It is not not OK for “religious leaders” to behave inappropriately with kids and adult members
    2. It is definitely not OK to cover up such activity
    3. It is REALLY, REALLY, not OK to shame, not support, abuse victims for “blowing the whistle???

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  9. Max: “Business” is the key word.

    Exactly. Advocacy for those preyed upon in church is not on the agenda. Advocacy for men with money, is. PR & image control for naughty boyz. Doing church as a business.

    It really is the reason why victims of CSA are ignored into silence.

    Jesus’ disciples also didn’t want to be bothered with women and children. Back then as now, church is a business of men’s affairs. Or, an affair of men’s business.

    Taking care of business.

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  10. Ava Aaronson: Jesus’ disciples also didn’t want to be bothered with women and children. Back then as now, church is a business of men’s affairs. Or, an affair of men’s business.

    A lot of people have been calling for Rachael Denhollendar to head the task force, but despite being overly qualified for the position as a lawyer, you know the committee will be even more obstinate to negotiate with her simply because of her gender.

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  11. SMull: How dare you hinder this organization by introducing truth and clarity?

    “Ephraim is joined to idols, so let him alone to suffer the consequences” (Hosea 4:17)

    The SBC has made New Calvinist belief and practice their new theological idol, NeoCal elite leaders have become idols, they idolize patriarchy, they idolize power. SBC is joined to idols, leave ’em alone! In time, their idols will fall and their leaders will suffer the consequences for running a once-great evangelistic denomination into the ground.

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  12. ishy: qualified … her gender

    SBC has a multitude of gifted, spiritually qualified, anointed women who should be preaching the Gospel and making disciples of God … but they are prevented from operating in their role in the Body of Christ by a kingdom of men who desire to control them not liberate them to fulfill their destiny in the Kingdom of God.

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  13. Max,

    Nothing about the NT church is good business practice. Yes, he who eats must work, but the rich young ruler was told to donate his wealth to the poor. Don’t waste donations on lazy widows, but true religion is assisting needy widows and orphans. Of course, advocacy for justice for the preyed upon and holding predators accountable should be standard practice. It’s not.

    And, BTW, Max, I disagree that the SBC was a once great denom. The denom has never advocated for those preyed upon and against predators (according to the Denhollanders’ view of who shows up for whom in Court), moreover it’s taken a long time to deal with racism & misogyny (not even quite there yet, Kyle Howard would say).

    Good ole days? Ask victims and POC and women who required advocacy. Moving forward in the right direction surpasses the past.

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  14. Ava Aaronson: Good ole days?

    Yes, in some local SBC churches which “pressed toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). Not all SBC churches in the “good ole days” were of the sort we talk about on TWW. There have been good Gospel-preaching churches, with solid God-anointed leadership, with members working together to fulfill the Great Commission, reaching whosoever-will-may-come, not abusing nor tolerating abuse of anyone under their watch, not distinguishing between race, class or gender. I say that from a 70+ year perspective of SBC life. Of SBC’s 47,000 churches, there have been genuine representatives of Christ on earth. But, things are changing – the new normal is the old abnormal.

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  15. I have been lurking around this blog now for over 7 years when I first showed up. As I reflect on all of the posts including this one and the most prolific commenter over that time that has to be Max, I can come to only one conclusion: there is absolutely zero way, zero truth and zero life in human religious institutions. Max over this time has had to have made at least 10,000 comments critical of the SBC, and the total of everyone has to be over 100,000 and yet it is just as much of a dumpster fire now as it was 7 years ago. We can keep going to 1 million, but will that change anything?

    The ONLY Way, the ONLY Truth and the ONLY Life is Jesus Christ. There is no other. Jesus is the only solution to despair over abuse in all religious circles. In the end every faction of Christianity will be done away with, including the ones that anyone reading this actually likes. But at that end is Jesus, the creator, the judge, the resurrector, the maker of the New Jerusalem. The leveraging of that Name for personal selfish benefit only destroys and creates more dumpster fires. In the end everything that does not look like Him is done away with. We can crusade for some cause that is not Him but those are all wood, hay and stubble. As a friend’s wife is close to death in an COVID ICU ward, this is the only hope I have…

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  16. Ava Aaronson,

    I’m very concerned about Guidepost Solutions history of doing opposition research and taking on clients like Harvey Weinstein. They are allowed to do so but their corporate climate to this point does not represent the Cristian perspective in these areas. Therefore, this new “See, we are Christians just like all of you. We even hired some” mantra doesn’t sit well with me.

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  17. Max: Yes, in some local

    We could prolly argue this til the cows come home …

    “Some local” is not a grand denom. It’s a few shining lights… a remnant.

    Pastor Wade has tried forever to get the grand illustrious denom onboard with a simple database … no go … not back then nor now.

    Ask any who have been preyed upon in church … where was/is advocacy? Like Denhollanders and trial attorneys shared: churches always show up for the offenders and never for their victims. Ask Christa Browne what she thinks of the grand ole days myth. Or Jules Woodson.

    Max, you can keep referring back to the good ole days of the grand denom and I’ll let that be, but just this once, I’m saying, I never agree with that, at all.

    For some nonwhite nonmale nonliving-wage nonlazy folks, there were no good ole days in the grand denom, in any denom.

    Never looking back to the myth of the grand ole days. My POV, myth. Move forward better is my POV.

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  18. Max,

    EXACTLY…
    I see it allot in the “secular humanists world as well”…. funny, we are supposed to respect the “Church leadership” as being more “godly” than “secular humanists leadership”… our at least that is what I was taught when I was “in-country” as HUG likes to say…

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  19. Mr. Jesperson,

    But, what you write does not just apply to SBC, but the approximate 2,000 year “struggle” to attempt to define what Christianity really is..
    For what it is worth, I like to think of myself as a “amateur historian” with emphasis on “amateur”. However, what my interest teaches me is that, like Ecclesiastes says, there is “nothing new under the sun” w/r to human nature.
    What has been done “in the name of Christ” over the 2,000 years is beyond appalling.. and it just shows me that mankind will twist ANYTHING to obtain power over others…

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  20. dee: Guidepost Solutions history of doing opposition research and taking on clients like Harvey Weinstein.

    Which is about as low as they can go. It’s business and money. Their mission as evidenced by their operation.

    Not justice, not truth.

    Guessing Jeff Anderson and Associates are budget-wise doing OK, but their mission is obviously truth and justice, even in facing grand entities like, for example, the Vatican et al.

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  21. dee,

    “Accused last week of attempting to rape a hotel chamber maid in New York, former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn (known as DSK in France) can now rely on Guidepost Solutions detective agency, in addition to his top-flight legal defence team.” France24

    So, GS also ran intel on victims of alleged rapist DSK, who in the end was outed as a frequent predator of the worst kind.

    Unreal. As low as it goes.

    Oh yeah, let’s all hop in the GS bed together, victims and predators.

    No thx. Churches can’t be smarter, more moral than this? Sick. Churches.

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  22. Mr. Jesperson: The ONLY Way, the ONLY Truth and the ONLY Life is Jesus Christ. There is no other. Jesus is the only solution to despair over abuse in all religious circles.

    And everybody shouted AMEN and AMEN!! (or should have)

    Since you have recorded that I have made 10,000 comments about SBC, I’ll add one more. Before there was an SBC, there was Jesus! Before there were ‘any’ denominations, there was Jesus!! Long after SBC and other religious circles have faded into obscurity, there will still be Jesus!

    (to set the record straight, my 10,000 negative comments about the SBC have been focused primarily on the New Calvinist version of SBC)

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  23. Ava Aaronson: Max, you can keep referring back to the good ole days of the grand denom and I’ll let that be, but just this once, I’m saying, I never agree with that, at all.

    I agree with that. When you look at Jesus Christ and compare that shining brightness and perfection to what happens in not just the SBC but all of the denoms including the ones I have been a part of, it all looks like the filthy rags Paul alluded to. Jesus needs to save us from our own institutions that we build as much as anything else we need saving from, and boy do we need a lot of saving!

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  24. Max: There were good apples in the old … basket which did not rot.

    True. In my POV, about many denoms.

    (Perhaps in the SBC – which you know about far more than myself – the NeoCals branded the rottenness. It’s a brand now. Maybe that’s what’s new and different.)

    (What I know about the SBC is from serving together on the mission field. Some were stellar, some not. Defunding their missions was a stupid move – if I may use that word here – IMHO.)

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  25. Headless Unicorn Guy: These days if you want moral behavior, go to the Atheists.

    You mean like these #meetoo specialists?

    Like some New Athiests? This one crawled away from my alma mater after being outed: Dr. Lawrence Krauss https://evolutionnews.org/2020/07/awesome-recovery-for-atheist-lawrence-krauss/

    or Sam Harris who has done the same or David Silverman or, well, the list is getting pretty long. Power of all types has its corruptions.

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  26. ishy,

    Again, sad commentary on Christians and what goes on in our churches.

    Wow – thx for reading … let me know what you think, or comment on Amazon. Just, wow. Advocacy is my passion, as well as normal America, like Sunnyside. There are good people doing the right thing even though the bad guys make the headlines (prolly rightly so, for our own protection).

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  27. In light of some of the comments, I’m reflecting on why I want to engage in blogs like this. I don’t think I gain any benefit in badmouthing the religious people/organizations that scarred me, nor is that my motive. I don’t think what I say will necessarily change anything in the white-washed sepulchers that have excluded me. But I felt so alone in the days I was being mistreated, and no one I knew and trusted in religious circles seemed willing or able to recognize what was actually going on.

    So it’s releasing and uplifting to read the voices of others who don’t need to hide evil in the name of “protecting” what instead should be exposed. Jesus resides in His people, not in some building or institution.

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  28. SMull: it’s releasing and uplifting to read the voices of others who don’t need to hide evil in the name of “protecting” what instead should be exposed. Jesus resides in His people, not in some building or institution.

    Jesus said where 2-3 are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Does this include over the internet? If so, we’re doing church community here. God bless our gathering together for truth in Jesus’ name.

    Gathering in Jesus’ name was how the Congregationalists threw off the yoke of the Church of England. Heard Dr. Arthur Rouner talk about this on a podcast this week.

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  29. This is about getting JD’s people in and his enemies out.

    There is a group near the top that is mad about how JL’s case was bungled. But they think the answer is to get themselves on top. So after they used HK in Nashville to get Ed Liston elected, they tossed her aside and blocked her. Their politics wasn’t her first priority, and she was kicked to the curb.

    I bet Guideposts will find SOME dirt. Samantha keeps weaseling onto teams, so my guess is that her job is to make sure the dirt is only found on the right people. Mostly old men who don’t like JD.

    But after the old men are gone, they don’t want to kill the goose. It’s a whitewash.

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  30. Meanwhile the real church marches on. In my little corner of the world, Christians are comforting a neighbor who lost a beloved pet, or at least trying to do so. God richly blessed us this morning with green bean harvest, so I did another canner load. I figure twice more and done for the year. Whooo Hoooo! Tomatoes and bell peppers were abundant, so right now they have been turned into stuffed peppers happily simmering and smelling up the house. Enough for tonight and two more dinners to put in the freezer. As I worked I enjoyed the flowers outside the kitchen window (petunias and marigolds and crepe myrtle), the birds at the feeder (today it is bright blue jays and vivid cardinals dining with us) and listened to southern gospel.

    I “fell out” when Church in the Kitchen came on. Because that is what we were having–church in the kitchen.

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  31. Concerning the man I spoke of in earlier comments and the situation where I was thrown out of a mental health support group by two ladies for reasons that make no sense, but started with me writing something about COVID, his wife died shortly before noon today from COVID. Last week he sent in an email protesting what had happened in the group and saying he will not be back. The head guy called a friend of mine on a Thursday morning two weeks ago to discuss a summary email I had sent into the office. I have heard nothing from him.

    When the chips are down you see what people are really made out of. Imagine doing something to upset a member of a mental health support group who just got out of the hospitals, regular and psyche, and who still has his wife in an ICU room. I do not have words to express what this is at this time. But please pray for the family of the deceased. Thanks.

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  32. linda green bean harvest….Tomatoes and bell peppers were abundant, so right now they have been turned into stuffed peppers happily simmering and smelling up the house. Enough for tonight and two more dinners to put in the freezer. As I worked I enjoyed the flowers outside the kitchen window (petunias and marigolds and crepe myrtle), the birds at the feeder (today it is bright blue jays and vivid cardinals dining with us) and listened to southern gospel.

    And thank you for bringing Church to the rest of us. 🙂

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  33. You are quite welcome. Today we decided the isolation (low vax rate, high infection rate, old geezers with past health problems putting us at high risk despite being vaxxed) needed to be broken. So we went on an adventure drive of dirt roads in the Ozarks. Breathtaking views, lovely homes, saw wild turkey, never got more than 8 miles from home I think, much of it spent “ministering” via texting. No face to face without glass between us human contact but good to be out and about.

    Church this morning was another wonderful worship service.

    Max, if you read this, how was the fishing? My hubby is looking forward to a break in the heat so he can do the same.

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  34. linda: Today we decided the isolation….needed to be broken. So we went on an adventure drive of dirt roads in the Ozarks. Breathtaking views, lovely homes, saw wild turkey, never got more than 8 miles from home I think, much of it spent “ministering” via texting. No face to face without glass between us human contact but good to be out and about.

    Church this morning was another wonderful worship service.

    Thank you for more Church, linda. 🙂 I had my own adventure yesterday….with the change in public transit routes, I discovered that (at least on clear days) I can (once again) see the mountains in the distance. 🙂

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