“The whole purpose of spiritual direction is to penetrate beneath the surface of a man’s life, to get behind the façade of conventional gestures and attitudes which he presents to the world, and to bring out his inner spiritual freedom, his inmost truth, which is what we call the likeness of Christ in his soul. ” Thomas Merton
I believe that Linaja’s observations and actions in the following story are amazing. She has an incredible ability to understand and communicate the evident (to me) sexual grooming by Asa Crow. I will refer to Linaja’s words many times in blog posts to come. I am so grateful that she so clearly understood what was happening, got support from her pastor, and went on to report what happened to the authorities. I believe she saved others from being abused in a similar manner. Thank you for being so brave, Linaja.
The following occurred to Linaja who wished to pursue spiritual direction. As the following events unfolded, she confided in Kyle McMahon who is her pastor at Gateway Church. I was privileged to speak with Kyle about what happened. Kyle expressed a deep interest in what we do at TWW and offered to be a listening ear in the future. I found him to be a most pleasant and kind individual. He confirmed that Linaja had confided in him about the events that follow in this post.
Linaja was directed to Hope Lutheran Church in Des Moines, Iowa, which is an ELCA church. At the time of these incidents, her soon-to-be director, Asa Crow, was apparently a part-time pastor at the church. He also supposedly had a website called Immersion Direction in which he offered to help with spiritual direction. That website has been removed and he reportedly no longer works at Hope Lutheran. I have also been told by Linajaj that they were going to do an investigation into what happened. I left a message that I would like to speak with someone but have not received an answer as of yet. I will update the website if I hear from them.
What is spiritual direction?
I went to Richard Foster’s website, Renovaré, because I have been made aware of this ministry’s interest in spiritual direction amongst other practices of the faith. Foster, himself, addresses What Is Spiritual Direction. I have highlighted some areas that have particular relevance to Linaja’s concerning experience. The entire article is worth the read. Foster is known as a pastor who has written about his thinking of spiritual formation in the well-known book Celebration of Discipline.
1. Spiritual direction is an interpersonal relationship in which we learn how to grow, live, and love in the spiritual life.
2. Spiritual direction involves a process through which one person helps another person understand what God is doing and saying.
3. Discernment is a crucial gift in the work of spiritual direction.
4. In spiritual direction there is absolutely no domination or control.
5. The spiritual director/mentor/pastor guides another in spiritual things through the spiritual world by spiritual means.
6. God has ordained that there be spiritual directors/mentors/pastors among his people. This is the structure of love in practice.
7. Supremely, spiritual directors/mentors/pastors are persons who have a sense of being “established” in God. Otherwise they are too dangerous to be allowed into the soul space of others.
Linaja’s disturbing experience with Asa Crow
Linaja is an attorney and her expertise is evident in the following carefully constructed letter to the Attorney General of Iowa. Here is a screenshot of the first part of the letter. As you will see, she reported Asa to the authorities.
From this point forward, I will use Linaja’s own words. I will label any of my comments with (ed.) All of the bolded titles are written by the editor.
Apparent grooming/sexual abuse
(ed.) Linaja continued to carefully the events that transpired. I have highlighted some actions on the part of Crow that disturb me greatly.
March 18, 2021
On or about March 18, 2021, Asa and I met for our first official session of in-person counseling. We met at the garden in front of the World Food Prize Building located at 100 Locust Street, Des Moines, IA 50309. It was during this initial in-person meeting that sexual content became a part of our conversation. Asa described “whole body” wellness which he described as eating healthily, sleeping sufficiently, and “orgasming regularly” from “masturbation.” I now observe this early conduct as grooming and voyeuristic in nature.
April 18, 2021
On or about April 18, 2021, we met for our second session of in-person counseling. I suggested we keep meeting in public. We met at Gravitate, a “coworking” office space located at 500 Locust Street, Des Moines, IA 50309. During this meeting, Asa shared that his “love language” is“physical touch.” He shared that he often cuddles with a woman—who is not his wife, but who also lives with him—along with his wife as a threesome.
During this meeting, he also shared that he engages in unusual physical practices with his spiritual director, a woman. The two have sat on each other’s laps, straddling each other, he explained while pressing their hearts together during counseling. He also shared that he had shared a bed with his spiritual director while they were both naked, but did not have sex. I expressed shock and asked what his wife thought about this. He shared that they “have boundaries” in place. Asa’s conduct made me uncomfortable. When sharing it with friends, they commented that this sounded like early stages of sexual abuse.
Those who are sexually exploitative target those who are vulnerable.
May 2, 2021
On or about May 2, 2021, prior to meeting with Asa Crow for the third—and final time—I asked my pastor, Kyle McMahon—who had referred me to Asa for counseling—if Asa had shared his practice of pressing his heart to his spiritual director’s chest while she sat on his lap. Kyle expressed he was not even aware Asa had a spiritual director, which worried me because it meant I was privy to “secret” information; sharing secrets is a common practice by those engaging in sexual exploitation and grooming.
During my final meeting with Asa on May 2, 2021, we met at Gravitate’s coworking space located at 500 Locust Street, Des Moines, IA 50309 again. During this meeting, I asked Asa how he and his spiritual director came to their unusual physical practices. He explained that he’d sought spiritual direction in part because his mother had suffered from a borderline personality disorder and was not physically expressive of her love toward him. Asa’s spiritual director instructed him to “go home and write down everything you want me to do to you physically.”
Asa reported complying with this and reading his list to her during the following session. Asa shared that she remarked “we cannot do any of those things today because we are too horny,” but that she would consider what she would feel comfortable doing in future sessions. Subsequently, they engaged in numerous physical activities until she married and her new spouse forbid the contact.
I asked Asa whether he believed his spiritual director sexually abused him. I shared that I believed this was sexual exploitation for a counselor to offer to engage in sexual activities with someone who is emotionally dependent and seeking advice. He shared details about the “boundaries” he and his wife had in place. These boundaries permitted each of them to engage in all sexual activity except vaginal intercourse with other partners.
Linaja stated she did not want any physical contact with Asa
Understanding Asa’s conduct and conversation to impliedly be a part of a scheme of conduct to engage in sexual activities with me, I unequivocally stated that I did not want physical contact of any form to play a part in my spiritual direction.
She then decided to end the “spiritual direction” relationship and met with Pastor Kyle and his wife.
(ed.) Linaja was very wise to discuss what was happening to her with her pastor and his wife. They are witnesses to her narrative.
On or about May 3, 2021,
I emailed Asa to end our director-directee relationship (see “Exhibit A” enclosed herein). I copied my pastor, Kyle McMahon, on that email. I met with Kyle and his wife, Jessica, by video conference later in the day to share additional details of Asa’s conduct. Asa responded to my email on May 4, 2021 (see “Exhibit B” enclosed herein). He refunded all funds I had paid for counseling. I have not spoken to Asa or heard from him since his May 4, 2021 email.
Linaja decided to report Asa Crow to the authorities and follow up with Hope Lutheran which reported receiving additional reports.
On or about August 22, 2021,
I left a telephone message on the Attorney General Hotline for Clergy Abuse. My telephone call was not returned.
On or about August 30, 2021,
I emailed the President of Hope Lutheran’s “Counsel” to report the misconduct. My email was not substantively responded to. (I learned on October 20, 2021, that Hope Lutheran had a technical glitch that resulted in emails not being properly transmitted to the president.)
On or about October 15, 2021,
I had a telephone call with Chris Gunnare, Chief Operating Officer of Hope Lutheran, during which I detailed my experience with Asa. During this call, I learned that Hope Lutheran had received additional reports from a person using the name/pseudonym of D. Swinson regarding reports of Asa’s misconduct in Texas and Colorado in the first week of May 2021. Shortly after confronting Asa about these allegations, Hope Lutheran reported that Asa resigned from his staff position at their church. Recently, I learned that Asa is employed at “Developing Great Relationships,” which promotes itself as being a “biblically-based ministry” in Pella, Iowa. I am concerned that Asa will continue to move from place to place and engaging in sexually motivated schemes that abuse women and girls.
(ed.-This is a must-read. She also reported this to the police.)
Being an emotionally dependent subordinate in a director-directee relationship with a spiritual leader who was exposed me to sexually explicit conversations about masturbation, sexual arousal, orgasms, and manual/oral feels violating. I trusted Asa and his counseling. He violated this trust and should not be trusted to provide counseling to others. I have reported these instances of unwanted sexual contact to the Des Moines Police Department. I would like the Office of the Attorney General to investigate this as a part of its gathering information regarding sexual abuse by spiritual leaders and clergy in Iowa. I am available to provide further information upon request.
Exhibit A- ( ed. Sent to Asa and Pastor Kyle McMahon)
I’m writing to end our spiritual director/directee relationship. I have thought about the content of our conversations. I have prayed for discernment. I have discussed your conduct with those whom I trust to protect me. In doing these things, I have come to the conclusion that it is improper for us to continue meeting. I understand this may be shocking as it is not what I communicated yesterday afternoon. Discussions with others led me to understand the wrongness of your conduct within the nature of our relationship.
While your (and Meredith’s) conclusions regarding sexuality are irreproachable logically, they do not comport to the Christian sex ethic as I understand it. That what is “not sex” prior to marriage with one’s future spouse remains “not sex” with others after marital vows are taken follows logically, but it disregards what I understand to be the so-called “spirit of the law.” I fear that your conduct has the potential to break hearts, destroy marriages, and lead people away from Christ. It could wreak havoc in the lives of children.
Sexual energies are perhaps the most destructive of all energies when handled irreverently.
In the context of a mentor/mentee relationship – between a man and a woman – it is wholly inappropriate to discuss being “horny,” masturbation, and orgasm. It is an act of voyeurism. It borders on spiritual abuse and is potentially predatory behavior. I do not believe your intent was to harm me and I cannot say whether your director intended to harm you. Intent aside, I feel violated. Boundaries were crossed. It feels particularly hurtful that I disclosed my abuse history to you and then you engaged in this sort of rhetoric… under the guise of spiritual direction and godly friendship, no less!
I intend to speak with Kyle and Jessica about these things. I plan to request that Kyle stop advising women to meet with you for spiritual direction. I understand this may feel like a betrayal of confidences. I am sorry. I do not intend to gossip, betray your trust, or add sexual shame here. I do intend to drag things done in darkness to light. Healthy integration of the whole soul (integrity) is the aim of a disciplined life. What we do in private can be shared publicly when we are well integrated because our private self is our public self. We are after all, in the language of recovery programs, as sick as our sickest secrets.
I wish you goodness, moral excellence, and marital health. I pray blessings upon your life, your marriage, and your children’s lives. This letter is sent with sisterly love. I hope that it is received that way. I will be allocating the funds I set aside for “spiritual direction” this month toward therapy.
Exhibit B: Asa Crow responds.
Ed. I challenge our readers to parse Asa’s response. I see a number of problems and have little hope that he will stop these alleged actions.
From: Immersion Direction firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Re: Ending Director/Directee Relationship
Date: May 4, 2021 at 3:39 PM
To: Linaja Duncan email@example.com
Thank you for this message.
I am broken to have caused pain, and it grieves me abundantly that you feel violated. I am so very sorry.
I fully respect your decision and appreciate your explanation; which I am not owed. Thank you for sharing it and wishing me goodness.
I see now how my attempt to relate by disclosing my own experience created discomfort, pain, and crossed boundaries. That was wrong, and I am sorry to have caused you harm.
It is a painful lesson to learn, and a mistake I will not repeat. Your reflections are inviting me to reflect again on my own experiences
and reconsider them in a new light.
I will speak with Kyle as well, as I trust him. I’ll also be returning your contribution last month, and commit to referring all females in the future.
This is a sad and sorrowful error, and I trust this will prevent any similar mistake in the future. I never want to cause harm.
I hope I have received your letter as you intended. I will also be praying for blessings upon your life.
(ed. Asa spoke with Kyle in March. But, as Linaja mentioned, he is onto a new ministry.)
Message from Linaja to Detective Follett
On 10/26/21 Linaja wrote this message to the police who apparently declined to investigate.
Hello Detective Follett,I really appreciate your time. Thank you for the work that you do in Des Moines.I understand the department’s position, though I do believe Asa was a member of the clergy engaging in counseling who enacted a “scheme of conduct to engage” in “sexual conduct with an emotionally dependent [client] for the purpose of arousing or satisfying the sexual desires of the counselor” in violation of § 709.15:<Screen Shot 2021-10-26 at 3.17.15 PM.png>While he did not engage in the “practice” of kissing or touching me in the areas enumerated in 709.15(2)(a)(2)(b), he did engage in a “scheme of conduct” (i.e. grooming) for the purpose of “arousing or satisfying” his “sexual desires” which violates the code.In a similar case in Northern Iowa, a pastor was found guilty of similar grooming patterns when he (Grimes) “engaged in a pattern, practice or scheme of conduct to engage in sexual conduct with three emotionally dependent clients for the purpose of arousing or satisfying the sexual desires of the counselor. Grimes became a friend and counselor to the three individuals with whom he developed sexual arousals stemming from his work as a counselor. Grimes followed a pattern of grooming the three individuals by initiating jokes and conversations which were sexual in nature…” While in that case, there were allegations of Grimes touching a woman’s waistline and upper thigh, it’s quite clear that “grooming” with words by a pastor is sufficient to meet the 709.15 bar of “scheme of conduct.” Asa, like Grimes, initiated conversations that were sexual in nature and intended for his sexual arousal.Though it’s unlikely that your mind will be changed by this, I do implore you to reconsider.Linaja
there are no words
Um. Oy. Yikes.
That is NOT spiritual direction.
One thing I noticed (out of many bad things) is that she called the hotline to report abuse but no one called her back? Unless I am missing something. And when she contacted law enforcement it seems like she just got a minimal response, like they will file away some paperwork and forget about it.
“Be vigilant; because your adversary the devil … walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8)
This story offers a very clear picture of the process of grooming.
To me the subtext is, I’m just talking, not doing anything. If you’re getting excited or uncomfortable, that’s coming from you. Oh, you’re leaving? I’m soooo sorry, now I understand! But I was just talking, not doing anything.
I’m so old that I remember when men were called into the ministry because they loved Jesus and had a passion to serve Him and the Body of Christ. Men are now going into the ministry for all sorts of reasons other than that … TWW continues to record their deception. Oh, there are still real-deal pastors who are “spiritual directors” with a heart for God and His people … but the genuine is getting increasingly difficult to locate in a sea of counterfeit.
In a workplace, this is sexual harassment, strictly verboten. Illegal, punishable in a DOJ Court of law.
In churches, even among clergy, especially among clergy, sexual inappropriateness or indiscretions or even violations, are so common and normalized now, some authorities yawn. Churchboys will be churchboys, fangirls agree. Whistleblower is an outlier. Churches bounce the predator right back into the pulpit. Grace and Christian love and forgiveness and being number 1 and anointed and King David and all that.
Julie Roys reports on number 1 Christian LU’s shocking Christian response, ahem, denial, regarding LU campus gang rape.
“Religious organizations live by a different reality, different rules, different basic human decency. The worst place to be abused in or reach out for help is in a religious space. World/Public…be warned. Jan. 6th was just a taste of what bubbles under the surface of Christianity.” replied Kim Rung @peacehope_luv
Hi Max, love reading your comments, especially when you quote the Bible.
We kinda disagree on the idea of the golden good ole church days, HOWEVER, bear with me, I was rethinking… I know for a fact that there’s historical record of predation in churches. The senior prayer ladies in my church circles, once they were permitted to run their own Bible studies, started sharing. Horrific stuff as far back as they can remember and evidence (testimony) of even before their time.
Now that this stuff is widely known, however, it is being normalized! That’s what’s different. It’s now openly known but rarely dealt with appropriately. Back in the day, the adulterous pastor had to leave the pulpit and sell cars or real estate. Nowadays, even pedophile rapists get to restart their ministry. And the pew applauds… the rapist. That’s new and different and indicative of the evil of our times. Normalization of predation, like in the days of Noah, perhaps, but not like the golden days of the Greatest Generation in church … back in the day.
I think I would have walked out on the first meeting. No, make that run.
Good pickup. It appears these agencies are not interested in action on words.
That is so true. It took my husband and I a number of years before we found our church which continues to be a place of refuge for us.
Perhaps we can agree that they were just a tiny bit gooder than they are now, generally speaking. Perverts disguised as pastors have been around for 2,000 years, I suppose. Social media has helped revealed the depth of pulpit darkness in America, getting the word out to a wider audience than “senior prayer ladies … sharing. Horrific stuff as far back as they can remember.”
I guess that won’t change until enough believers declare “Enough is enough!” and take the church back for Jesus. Of course, you would have to flush the pulpits clean, along with deacon/elder boards, and start all over … IF you could find anointed (not annoying) church leaders to replace them.
Glad you brought this reality to the forefront.
Crow is your standard horn-dog who is usually uncovered quickly out in the secular world, and whose antics will not be tolerated.
But in a religious setting with its social venue?
Crow and others like him operate with far greater leeway and virtual impunity.
I can’t remember if I told you this but my husband always looks for your comments which really resonate with him.
Blargh, this is horrible. I’m glad the pastor who recommended the counselor stepped up and recognized his error. But I’ll be honest–it’s accounts like these that make me leery of counseling.
It ain’t got bad enough yet for that to happen. “When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)
Back in the day, rarely exposed but strictly held to account once the pew knew. Yikes!!! Shameful!!! My stars!!! Throw the man out!!! (With what the seniors say now about frequency of indiscretion, perhaps this was more for show or a veneer of respectability than anything.)
Nowadays, a new scandal daily, with scant accountability from the blind pew. Yawns and sighs… and, oh dear, that’s too bad. Sad. (It’s real, with evidence, but most don’t really care.)
It’s wonderful when you share your story.
As much as the scandals are true, it is equally true that good fellowship can be found.
I think of the Proverbs 31 woman who brings food for her family from afar.
Sometimes finding the good is a genuine venture.
Asa Crow can take a number and stand in line with all the other Spiritual Director pervs.
Though he might be highly offended at standing in line with New Age Spiritual Directors, Channelers, Mediums, Bhagwan Rajneesh, and Aleister Crowley. (Both Rajneesh and Crowley were no slouches at getting into their disciples’ pants and giving it a Spiritual angle as Tantric or Sex Magick.)
It’s become The New Normal.
And the Guy on Top doing it sets an example giving permission and sanction for Me to Do the Same – “Rule through Vice” like House Harkonnen.
Well, when I got catechized that the Son of Man cometh to destroy everything and everybody, what difference would it have made?
Or they would have to move cross-country and cover their tracks to Restart Their Ministry(TM). Before the Internet they would have to outrun their reputation.
Today when one keystroke or tweet or hashtag can send the news around the world, it kind of makes sense that they stay put and just brass it out, using every manipulation trick and influence connection they can muster to pull off the Restart in Place.
An obvious effect to the Penetrate/Colonize/Conquer/Plant ideal of manhood and girlhood.
As long as you don’t disrupt ‘their’ church status quo. Abuse somewhere else, oh well … but mess with ‘their’ potluck dinners and you have a war on your hands!
Brass knuckles, on the theological sense.
The devil really is in the details, isn’t he?
et al, i.e. Keith Rainier.
Overreach, narcissism, godlike instead of godly.
Sidetrack here, but was thinking about pastors increasing their personal security detail (at pew donors’ expense) while silencing the outcry for greater security and safety for churchgoers at large, in the social network of the church org. Total leadership hypocrisy and disregard for fellow churchgoers. Big red flag.
Which pastors have personal security detail, and which churches $upport this?
Pastor security detail paid by church
All male leadership
Predation not addressed by DOJ
Public-record-predators in leadership &/or freely roaming
Over compensation of clergy
Bullying of employees
Support of or ignoring DV
Anti professional counseling
Overreach into politics (IOW Dominionism)
Anti evidenced science (IOW the hubris of creating false reality)
Theology of Empathy as Sin
These are just the red flags of commission. Then there’s the omission of assisting needy orphans, widows, and the displaced, for example. Or, positively, are these happening? Justice?
I keep thinking that the capacity for harm done to innocents gone unchecked by Church leaders WHO KNEW BETTER . . . that harm is on the heads of those WHO KNEW and who allowed the perversion to continue to harm others . . . I think that the ‘leaders’ bear the final responsibility for all that which might have been prevented IF these leaders had acted to STOP the pervert from proceeding
It is so hard to see that this is still going on when the whole world knew about the tragedy in Catholicism. Where does the greatest RESISTANCE to protecting innocents from harm come from among Church leadership today? What kind of people ‘don’t get it’ that they must act to STOP predation on innocents in their care???
I don’t understand. I can’t understand. Overwhelming evidence of the presence of evil cannot be overlooked without destroying the souls of those involved in turning a blind eye. Dear God have mercy.
In all honesty, I’m surprised that elements of the YRR (young restless & reformed) haven’t tried to put the nix on potlucks already as being ‘self indulgent’ and not the best way to ‘honor god’. (small ‘g’ intentional)
In a lot of ways, those guys (YRR) are much like the Red Guard used to be in Chairman Mao’s China of yesterday.
Then you love ‘God’s’ comments! 🙂
That. (And when others share their stories.)
The YRR have to tread softly when messin’ with changing too much when they takeover a non-Calvinist church. The old folks have all the money … the young whippersnappers they attract with their version of the gospel (small ‘g’ intentional) ain’t got enough dough to finance the NeoCal rebellion. So, they put up with a bit of dishonoring god with the old guys’ fun and fellowship.
In this case, the phrase “But I was just talking, not doing anything.” is kinda-sorta like when people say “I’m just kidding.” (but they’re not kidding).
… while they pick their pockets
I dunno, Muff. I think that potlucks might be fertile grounds for surveillance missions!
Stay in power after the Bait and Switch power grab.
Who knew that church would become a lucrative business model. The Vatican became wealthy long ago. Megas with satellites & broadcasting found their formula, in our time.
Some preachers are having a good run, at the cost of their souls for Eternity (IMHO … not everyone believes in Heaven, Hell, & the Judgement as in The Rich Man & Lazarus). But, oh boy, they believe in the Here and Now, in spades. And “Sigh, Gee whiz, Ya snooze, ya lose,” for the rubes not on a cult/build-your-own-dynasty fast train to success.
Israel demanded a king. Others want popes and pastors. Behold their kingdoms with serfs and chattel.
Without the authority and influence of Jesus.
One obvious issue here for me is the utter stupidity of having any pastor recommend any person to someone of the opposite sex for what is really discipleship counseling. The Bible is clear that women are to disciple women. In those days being alone with someone else’s wife for any man was a no-no. It could get you beaten or killed by the husband’s family even if nothing happened. This is a context that does need to be understood.
For me, this ladies pastor was exceedingly foolish in not recommending a woman counselor for a women. Men should be discipled by men. I was. That man ended up later hopping into bed with his former roommates wife going through a divorce. He started “counseling” her through her troubles with the divorce. She was going to our home fellowship group that he led. Lesson learned…
My spiritual director – he likes the term “co-seeker” – is a retired gentleman from my parish whom I’ve known for years through committee work and general social events. He has been a prison and hospital chaplain, a counselor at a youth detention facility, and a mentor to mentally handicapped people, among other experience.
We talk on the phone every couple of weeks about nature, art, music, history, God, aging, anthropology … whatever comes to mind. Sometimes we say Hi at church, too.
Are societies allowed to improve, or at least act in accordance with their own practices?
It’s awhile since we abandoned the idea that one ought to kill somebody merely because they were alone with somebody else. We also don’t have slavery anymore, although the Bible mentions it.
Jesus did not set out to enshrine the worst practices of his place and time.
A church that 1) bars women from ordination and 2) bars women from seeking private counsel from ordained men is not serving women well. Moreover, women don’t generally live in isolation. If I followed horrible advice from the untrained wife of a pastor, I might just end up harming other people.
The Bible is a great and wonderful thing, but it does not mean that everything from that when and where, must be extrapolated into this here and now.
I think you’re right Nancy, what better place for tattle-tales to recon for tale material?
The Bible the same, each era. Does not enshrine worst practices. Slavery, polygamy, misogyny, incest, murder, adultery, tyrannies and despots, assassinations, go slay one’s enemy, nepotism, dominionism, infanticide, genocide …
“I know I’m not supposed to say anything bad about Pastor, but …”; “I know I’m not supposed to repeat this, but …”; “I’ll let you in on something if you won’t tell anybody else”; etc. etc.
Never let good gossip go to waste.
On the other hand, if church leaders are being bad boys, shout it from the rooftops!
Is that why people go to potlucks? The scales fall from my eyes! If fried chicken could talk, it would be sobbing and wailing.
Not this dude, As a Lutheran kid in the Southeast corner of Wisconsin, I went for Velma Albrecht’s split pea soup, the best ever made.
Going to show my heresy now, but this would not be a problem if we did what Jesus said and “called no man our Father.”
Um, priestcraft of the special clergy not needed and not approved. The spiritual director post is filled by the Holy Spirit.
A simple everybody equal new testament group of believers short circuits this whole mess.
I am a woman, and I am thankful that the Episcopalian counselor/pastor/chaplain who helped me wrestle through the early days of my faith deconstruction didn’t follow your “rule.” For the most part he just sat there and listened as I poured out my pain and anger against the religious system that had caused such lasting harm to me. At first I was leery of any pastor, but it ended up meaningful to me that it was a clergyperson who sat with me, listened to me cry and rage, affirmed my feelings, and prayed for me.
What went wrong in the situation Dee has written about is not that the spiritual director was male and the mentee was a woman. It was that the spiritual director was a predator. He would still be a predator even if his mentees were only men.
Why would she report back to the pastor who was a friend of the spiritual predator? Makes no sense. It would have been wise to record the conversations without which it is he said/ she said. If it was legal in the jurisdiction.
University of Mary Hardin-Baylor senior Asa Crow in a man-pageant, quoting John Piper:
He was a president of the Baptist Student Ministry while there. Caption in a yearbook: “Standing on top of Mt. Tryfan in North Wales, junior Asa Crow surveys the scene below. His ministry team climbed the mountain during their summer-long ministry in Europe.”
After graduation, sent as a missionary to a Southern Baptist association in Wisconsin:
Back in Texas: Asa Crow, ‘Coordinator of Global Outreach’ [mission trips] at Hill Country Bible Church, Austin:
(scroll down, lots of staffers at this megachurch)
Later, with the Student Life Office, Denver Seminary:
“I attended the sister school of Baylor, called Mary Hardin, where I earned two BAs; the first in Theology & Philosophy and the second in Psychology. My next academic step was to begin an MA at Fuller Theological which I will soon complete via coursework here at Denver Seminary. My hope is to one day finish a DMin in spiritual formation.”
poem by Asa Crow in Denver’s Park Church [Acts29] ‘arts ministry’ program:
short bio in a 2017 Denver Seminary publication:
“Asa Crow is the student life coordinator and chapel director at Denver Seminary. He also serves as a life coach and missions consultant in his spare time.”
As in the British Isles.
He didn’t exert himself much climbing that mountain.
I’ve seen the Sierras and the Rockies. Close up.
The tallest mountains in the British Isles would be foothills compared to those.
Bingo x 2.
In Tara Westover’s “Educated”, one of the first persons to guide her out of horror and into a new life was a Mormon clergyman she met while at BYU.
They met in his office once per week. Only good results. He is not a predator, obviously, and looked out for her best interests. He didn’t charge her a fee; he helped her find funding for her education.
Tara Westover has also had professional counseling beyond the spiritual guidance of this clergyman.
I will say this much, all I have to do is bring up the context the scriptures were written in and bring up what they tell us to do and the theologically liberal here go nuts. It is a sad day. We are getting nowhere with an attitude of “to hell with what was written”…
(PS. No one noticed what happened with the man who discipled me. What I was taught was largely right, just not lived out by the other man.)
He was definitely doing some pursuing, but I doubt if that was quite what Piper meant…….
Exactly what qualifies as “nuts”? You received very civil replies. If there’s a big bonfire of bras, I can’t see it from my house. 🙂
I agree. Spiritual director = Holy Spirit. Nuff said
And everybody shouted AMEN!! (or should have)
“I shall ask the Father to give you someone else to stand by you, to be with you always … the Spirit of Truth … the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, will be your teacher” (John 14:15-31 Phillips)
Remember this is the same Mr.J who in spring of 2020 claimed Private Revelation (“The fourth time Jesus appeared to me in a dream…”) that COVID was God’s Wrath being poured out upon the church and believing this was the Litmus Test of your and my Salvation. That torpedoed any credibility he had with me.
The guy who discipled you wasn’t a very good example. We are no longer partying like it 1999BC. Iron Age is over, Mister J.
In essence you’re blaming the woman for this clown’s fall. This is a common evangelical worldview based on the patriarchy of a bygone era – like so ancient, it predates any concept of democracy.
When Jesus ministered to the woman by the well, there was no mention of a chaperone – ok maybe God was there…I guess Jesus being God means he was there, and God is always watching, and the holy spirit…maybe there was a chaperone… sorry, I’m Trinologically challenged and I digress.
I take it to be Jesus as a man, meaning there’s an example there.
If separation is the only thing that keeps you honest in presence of a person of another gender, then you need some serious help.
Apparently I’m spatially challenged too, separation/presence, bit of an oxymoron. Anyway you shouldn’t need Billy Graham’s rules or any other rules when interacting with people. That’s just ridiculous, men and women are equal and everyone has the right to feel safe.
Now if we’re speaking quantumly then an electron can be in two different places at the same time…but again I digress….
Because that indicates you have NO self-control before the Purple Hornies (AKA you can’t help “thinking with the wrong head”) or you’re so paranoid about losing control you’re hunkered down living in fear. (The second is often the result of being catechized primarily in negative terms, i.e. “Thou Shalt Nots”.)
When I was younger a man who called himself “counsellor” within the church context asked me inappropriate questions there and then, not later.
This sort of thing doesn’t need to be one-to-one either: a pastor whose talk, in front of his select favourites, was salacious got a transfer abroad to beach preaching “negotiated” for him by some Svengali like elements I’ll not describe in further detail at this moment (the only time his proper superior was ever prevented by main force from keeping good discipline).
The atmosphere now is the 1970s all over again: People’s Temple women harangued and tortured other women about their non-existent lesbianism (and Rosalind Carter, Walter Mondale and whoever was Secretary of State were solid behind that outfit).
Fundagelical ideology has no interest in reason and common sense.
The only way such ideology can take root is to fill the pews with folks who have no reason and common sense. Fundagelicalism depends on a dearth of spiritual wisdom and understanding among the pewsitters.
The Dumber the Better?
“I LOVE THE POORLY EDUCATED!”
Is that anything like Comrade Lenin conning the Capitalists to finance their own destruction?