I am deeply saddened by the turn of events in this past week. This is an attempt to update you all and ask you for prayer for all those involved.
My conversation with Brian McLaren
Last week, Julie told me that she was willing to do a mediation with Tony. During my discussion with Boz Tchividjian, he suggested a mediator from outside of the evangelical/progressive camps which I thought was wise. I told him I would be willing to speak with Brian McLaren about that possibility. Brian contacted me and we were able to talk by phone on Friday. I am pleased that Brian took the time to speak with me, given the fact that I am a relative unknown. I reiterated to him that Julie was willing to mediate and I asked him for his thoughts.
He was negative about any possibility of mediation between Julie and Tony due to the current situation involving litigation and the courts. He believed that their lawyers would not permit such a meeting. He also felt that neither of them would want to sit down with one another given the current status of things. At that point, I knew there was something going on behind the scenes of which I was not aware.
He then stated that he does not intend to sue Julie. What he planned to do is to seek legal advice so that he could release emails and other communications that he has had with Julie in the past. He stressed that several others, as well as he, believe that Julie's representation of the facts is causing harm to the reputation of some individuals. He said that he would be willing to sit down with Julie in some sort of mediated situation to hammer these things out. Once again he stressed that he believed that such a meeting might not occur until the current litigation was resolved.
He had one disagreement with my post about his statement. I placed him in Tony Jones' camp. He said he has a number of theological disagreements with Tony and does not know him well. He also said that he was glad that Julie has people supporting her during this time. We ended the conversation with the intent to be in touch in the future.
My thoughts on the conversation
It was obvious that there were two parts to this conversation. Brian McLaren (and perhaps some others) want to sit down with Julie and try to come to some resolution of their conflicts. However, there is something else preventing Tony and Julie from sitting down. Prior to this conversation, Julie was in an optimistic frame of mind. Tony had refused to send one of her sons back to her after a visit and Julie went to court to hold him to the agreement. She believed that things seemed optimistic at that time.
I do want to give props to Brian for his willingness to talk with me. Our conversation was polite and nonadversarial.
What has happened to prevent mediation between Julie and Tony?
Apparently, this past week, Tony has decided to file some sort of lawsuit against Julie which goes beyond the custody of one child. I am aware of some of the issues involved and cannot share them with you at this time. I will do so in the near future. If what I know is true, this is a sad and hard-hitting action on the part of Tony which occurred when Julie was willing to sit down in mediation.
Julie was reportedly shut down this week by a well-known individual.
Julie told me that she decided to reach out to one Progressive leader who had not contacted her about her story yet had made some public comments on the situation. Julie sent an email asking said person if they would like to hear her side of things. Julie received a curt response. "Do not contact me." Then, Julie's name was removed from that person's Facebook. Why was there not one word of love or encouragement?
For Tony and Courtney
Love is easy when people are patting your back and telling you that they love you and follow you. Love becomes much more difficult when people are in pain and are not giving you the props you believe that you deserve. My grandparents immigrated from Russia and I have a love for the Russian people. When I was new Christian, I read Richard Wurmbrand's book, Tortured For Christ. I remembered being startled by his love for those who hurt him. I will always love this quote.
"A flower, if you bruise it under your feet, rewards you by giving you its perfume. Likewise Christians, tortured by the Communists, rewarded their torturers by love.
Can Christians really have this kind of love? Jesus seemed to think so.
If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. (Luke 6:32-24 NIV)
I think Tony and Courtney need to ask themselves a question. At the end of your lives, when you look back at this time, will you be proud of the way that you showed sacrificial love to Julie- the woman Tony promised to love and cherish; the woman with whom he had three children? This is the mother who has cared for their children for many years, allowing Tony to have the time to write books, be a leader and to teach and travel and even court and marry a new wife.
Tony needs to consider his role as an advisor/cohort to doctoral students at Fuller Evangelical Seminary. How will these actions be translated into theology that can be understandable to those entering the ministry?
Today, my pastor discussed empathetic listening which he defined as "working just as hard at understanding as at being understood." Immediately I thought of Julie. In the past few years, how hard have people worked to understand what she has been going through? Was she disposable since Tony was the leader and he now had a new honey who was so much cooler than Wife #1? Was Julie discarded because she wasn't part of the inner circle any longer? During those lonely years, she cared for those children while Tony continued to post happy pictures of his new life and wife. Courtney got called *amazing* by some leaders while Julie got called *crazy.*
My pastor told us what happens when people are not heard.
We invite hostility – When people do not feel that they are heard, they turn up the volume, turn on the heat, call out the guard, shut off the hearing aids and spread the word.
We are responsible when people in our communities are not heard. That is why I am so grateful that a number of blogs and their readers finally heard Julie and told her that they believed her and cared about her. That showed up in the GoFundMe account. I was hopeful that we could raise $1000. Instead, we have raised, as of this writing, $5,650. Julie received $2000 last week and will get another $3,065 on Tuesday. I am going to keep the fund up for the time being since she is going through a particularly trying time.
It is because of all of you that Julie now has hope. It is also because of all of you that she is willing to sit down for mediation because she now knows she is believed. Please keep encouraging her in the weeks to come. As you will see, this is a terrible ordeal and I am so sad that Tony has proceeded in this direction. That is his legal right but is it right? You can decide for yourselves as details emerge.
I'm sorry. It's amazingly disingenuous for Brian McLaren to say you've erroneously placed him in Tony's camp when he allowed his statement to be on that Tony support Scribd site. That's grade A manipulative bull#### right there.
Dee, what a thoughtful post. I once read a quote attributed to Wurmbrand: “When Christians are persecuted by others, God is on the side of the Christian. When Christians persecute others, God is on the side of the others. God is always on the side of the persecuted”. (Rough quote–read it many years ago.)
Regardless of the facts regarding Julie and Tony’s situation, real men, godly men, don’t speak of their wives (or ex-wives), the mother of their children in the manner in which he has spoken.
Just does not look or sound like Jesus to speak so cruelly of another.
‘What he planned to do is to seek legal advice so that he could release emails and other communications that he has had with Julie in the past. He stressed that several others, as well as he, believe that Julie’s representation of the facts is causing harm to the reputation of some individuals. He said that he would be willing to sit down with Julie in some sort of mediated situation to hammer these things out. Once again he stressed that he believed that such a meeting might not occur until the current litigation was resolved.”
This is ridiculous. How in the world can Julie cause harm to Brian McLaren? Just consider their positions. He, a celebrity Christian who commands stages and sells books. She is a single mom who spoke in blog comments.
His concerns seem to be totally OTT in relation to her standing. Is he really that thin skinned? Does Julie really hold the keys to his reputation and subsequent profits from that?
Pingback: Suggested Readings on the Jones/McMahon Controversy | R.L. Stollar //// Overturning Tables
Now my suspicious mind is also wondering about the timing. Julie is willing to mediate, others express possible interest in same, suddenly Tony takes an aggressive legal action that stops that from happening (at least temporarily) and saps the momentum from this…movement…or whatever it is.
This “progressive leader” that shut Julie down– wouldn’t happen to be Rachel Held Evans, would it?
Sounds like Tojo is looking to go for a scorched earth policy as some sort of twisted revenge – in his case, I hope reason will prevail even if he incapable of compassion.
This whole situation saddens me, beginning with the refusal of so many influential ‘Christian’ voices to even listen to someone who says they have been victimized.
“Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts.” Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend:
Sorry Deebs! I’ll post again without the swears!
I’m sorry. It’s amazingly disingenuous for Brian McLaren to say you’ve erroneously placed him in Tony’s camp when he allowed his statement to be on that Tony support Scribd site. That’s grade A manipulative BS right there.
Thanks for this post, Dee. I’m glad you are not listening to GRACE’s advice to stop talking about this. It’s too important to allow it to be swept under the rug, and for the life of me, I don’t know why their statement said it needed to go private. We are talking about some very public religious leaders here. Public ministry=public accountability.
Across the Pond I believe they’d call that barefaced cheek.
Well done, Dee. And I agree with Banannie. Brian claiming not to be in Tony’s camp prompts a “How stupid do you think we are?”
And around here (central NH) we’d say “he’s a lying sack of …”
And the all to predictable Emergent tribalism continues……..
The past couple of weeks, or months, or years of reading about the “disingenuousness” (I’ll be polite) of these people, the crass money grabbing and venality, and of course, the unfeeling abuse and abuse coverups at all levels in all kinds of contexts, is enough to make anyone want to throw up, Christian or not.
Someone recently in the comments bemoaned the sorry state of Christendom through all this, and I feel compelled to say…
Wacked-out corporate celebrity mega-evangelicults are NOT Christendom.
I will repeat the fear that I have heard voiced here many times – these diabolical antics are going to give some people an excuse to just totally discount Christianity and Jesus. It came real close to working that way for me, years ago. Real close – in fact, it actually did for a not-so-winsome season 😉
Sometimes when I read about and contemplate the foul things going on in some of these ‘ministries’ (gag me!) in the name of Christ, I am put in mind of certain sayings regarding millstones around necks and deep oceans and stuff…
Praying much for Julie and disgusted by the image protection I’ve been observing. Power doesn’t corrupt but people can be. Thanks for this thoughtful post.
Hmmm…fist, I’m typing this on my phone, so apologies for any typos I miss….
Okay. I am saddened by this turn of events. But I am not surprised. Jeff upthreaf mentioned that he hopes Too sees reason, even if there is no compassion . Unfortunately, if he has NPD (and he has said he does), that is highly unlikely. I’ve said this on a previous thread, but it bares repeating. Appeals to reason will not work with NPD. This was one of the hardest things for me to finally understand about the narcissist in my life (and for a friend to understand about her ex): there is absolutely nothing you can do or say that will cause the narcissist to’see reason.’ Their mind does not work that way.
Futher, any and all attempts in that vein will be taken and twisted to be used against you to others (especially courts) in ways that will boggle the mind and leave you questioning reality.
My heart breaks for those children. Children of an NPD have a ‘Jekyl & Hyde’ for a parent. When they want you to take their side in a dispute and make them look good, they will often use extravagant bribery. But the moment you don’t walk 5hat out perfectly according to their scripted fantasy, the tables flip and you will be threatened and humiliated into compliance. And they can flip that on a dime with no apparent notice or ‘reasonable’ provocation. It is enormously confusing for a child who is looking to get the approval and love of a parent. God help the children, please!
As for the ex-wife of a narcisst, even if the narcissist initiated the separation, they will (they must, to preserve their own internal fantasy image) twist things to be the exs fault. The narcissist must present themselves as the victim. And the lengths to which they will go to achieve preserving that internal image will defy all logic and answer to no appeals to reason.
And full disclosure: I am not a psychologist or therapist. However, I grew up under the watchful eye of an undiagnosed NPD (per my therapist) and have walked with a friend through her divorce of one. Consequently, I have spent a lot of time studying the subject.
> “He had one disagreement with my post about his statement. I placed him in Tony Jones’ camp. He said he has a number of theological disagreements with Tony and does not know him well.”
“In July of 2008, an author who is a friend and colleague….” —First sentence of Brian McLaren’s “WhyTony” statement
A couple seconds on Google and I found this post from 2011 in which McLaren mentions “Canoing [sic] with Tony Jones…” Doesn’t it count as “in his camp” if they literally went camping together?
Having grown up across the pond I can confirm it is exactly that.
I’ve been watching the Brian Williams things explode over the last few days and watching a familiar pattern: “Everybody knows” an open secret in the biz, person makes apology, person now acts like nothing happened, more details and lies come out, person clarifies…and then the professional defenders ride in implying the liar is a victim too. Everyone from FoxNews to MSNBC reporters have voiced support and called this an “innocent mistake.” Even Jon Stewart has been mum, and he makes his millions off of mocking shoddy media coverage.
Sticking up for the powerful is lucrative. The illness affects liberals and conservatives, Christians and non-Christians.
(And yes, McLaren is getting pretty wormy with his denial regarding Tony. If you knew enough about him to write a letter in support you have to live with the consequences, good or ill.)
Someone’s pants are definitely on fire
Hey. Maybe we’re wrong. Maybe this is Brian McLaren’s buddy, Tony Jones: http://www.iamtonyjones.com/
Since no one seems to know Brian McLaren as well as I do, let me explain what he means when he says “friend and colleague”. He uses that for most anyone. For him it does not mean a close relationship. When he talks about “canoeing with Tony Jones”, he was probably in a group. In all reality, he has probably read what Tony has written, but is not close friends, tho he may speak in friendly terms. Brian reacts to injustice, like a friend being accused of things he (or she) didn’t do. I thought it was strange that Julie would contact Brian at all, much less doing so in a way that inspired him to document it. Brian is a very caring person, but he does not like conflict nor being a part of conflict resolution. He is the real deal, he has almost no ego, and is not a judgmental person in the slightest. He would also have felt the pain of the broken relationship between Tony and Julie to the bottom of his soul.
I know this is off topic but it is something I have been thinking a lot about. I don’t have a problem with Brian Williams. Memory is a quirky thing and the mistakes he made were in the context of his recounting personal anecdotes not in his reporting the news – which would have been a serious matter. He said he was in a helicopter which took RPG (?) fire when that wasn’t the case, another helicopter did. A soldier who was with him agreed that that didn’t happen but said that Williams’ helicopter did take small arms fire. Yet another said that wasn’t the case either and the first soldier acknowledged that he might not be remembering it correctly. So basically the import of the story was that Williams and the soldiers in the helicopters were in danger which indeed they were in a war zone. However, all three of them remember the incident somewhat differently. And the story about seeing a body floating by from his hotel during the Katrina flooding which couldn’t be true – well maybe he saw the body when he was somewhere else in New Orleans. There were bodies.
I think that the people defending Williams are doing so not because he is a person with power but because it could happen to anyone. Recently I realized that a story about something that happened during my teen years that I have told over the years was confused. I had conflated two different incidents. The import of the story is the same but the details were incorrect.
I think it is pretty common to do this with meaningful personal stories. I remember reading an essay by a person who remembered for decades that he was listening to a baseball game on the radio when the news came about the bombing of Pearl Harbor. One day he was telling the story when it occurred to him that baseball games weren’t being played in December. Whatever he was listening to on the radio, it was not a baseball game.
Unbelievable. The hubris involved in that level of bald faced dishonesty is…impressive. That dude will literally say anything to anyone in order to carry his point in a given conversation. I think I feel a little nauseated.
Thank you for this, Dee. And I want to swear so badly. Is there really no love in all of this? It’s stupefyingly absurd at this point. I would also like to say something very pointedly at McLaren, but will refrain for the moment. GRRRRRRRRRRRR
He would know if they took direct fire. Plus there would have been a report of the damage done.
Doug Koenigsberg wrote:
He publicly threatened legal action on a single mom with no power. his public words/actions negate your attempt to defend him no matter how flowery. McLaren has a strange way to “feel her pain”.
@ Doug Koenigsberg:
If true, it’s puzzling why he went to the trouble of posting a letter letter of support of Tony Jones in all this if he hardly knew the guy.
No clue about Brian . . . he could be a very great guy who hasn’t yet had the misfortune to be at cross-purposes with someone who has NPD & so doesn’t recognize the situation for what it is. I’m hoping that this:
>He said that he would be willing to sit down with Julie in some sort of mediated situation to hammer these things out. Once again he stressed that he believed that such a meeting might not occur until the current litigation was resolved.
can be taken to mean that he’s at least prepared to talk with her. I don’t understand what would prevent him from doing that, unless he’s part of the sinister-sounding legal action it sounds like is underway. And that would be tragic.
Doug Koenigsberg wrote:
One might reasonably ask why a Briansplainer is necessary for a man with a graduate degree in English. Brian’s “nice guy” persona has similar credibility issues to the aforementioned Brian Williams, Doug. No matter how desperately you want it to be otherwise.
Doug Koenigsberg wrote:
So Tony and Brian aren’t friend-friends or friendly friends or….what, exactly? Thank you for an informative comment. Before that comment, I didn’t realize, based on his actions, that Brian would have felt the pain of a broken relationship to the bottom of his soul. Nothing says care and concern for someone hurting quite like threatening a lawsuit.
I think mediation between Julie and Tony would be unhelpful at this point. Their history is too conflictual.
But it is promising that McLaren is willing to try.
Is there any hope of a neutral third-party investigation into the allegations? Those are serious allegations, and they are just floating out there with no resolution. They need to be addressed properly, and while harmful details do not necessarily need to be made public, the results do.
@ Doug Koenigsberg:
Thank you for your input. Brian was quite kind to me and prayed for my stepfather’s surgery.
Due to the upcoming litigation, such an investigation is highly improbable between Tony and Julie unless a miracle occurs. Please pray for that.
There is no question that he is willing to do so. However, the mentioned lawsuit that Julie is now experiencing is so overwhelming that this sort of mediation will need to take a back seat.
He told me that he does not intend to sue her. I am grateful.
This is a really helpful update and it’s encouraging to hear how McLaren dealt with you and that he remains open to some sort of mediation about the issues between he and Julie.
And out here in California we’d say, “Hey, Brian McLaren, would you like some cheese with your whine?”
I am looking hard for it. I think some people need to step it up.
I’ll take any positive move at this point.
I also wanted to say FWIW that I think your help in trying to facilitate some positive movement is important and very loving.
I’ve seen some really nasty disputes settle, so I’m going to hold to some hope.
Bill Kinnon wrote:
In all honesty, I have NEVER seen a lamer group of hired hands/apologists come to a blog and post on behalf of Brian McLaren/Tony Jones & Company: an attorney (purported attorney – this is NEVER done and if that attorney’s real name came out they’d be the laughingstock of the legal community as this is totally unprofessional and JUST PROVES THEY DON’T HAVE A CASE!!); purported therapist (see previous sentence); purported neighbor of one of the cast of characters; and purported friend of Brian McLaren.
These people are about as sick and enmeshed as an alcoholic family. No healthy boundaries…any of them!
I’ve had a chance to read the update through a couple times and reflect and think how to respond, since I helped instigate last Sunday’s post on moving toward solutions. I’m wondering if I am part Ent, it takes so long for me to say anything … but anyway, hope this is worth saying:
To Dee Parsons – Thank you for hosting the proposal for G.R.A.C.E. possibly getting involved to investigate and potentially mediate among multiple parties in the Emergent situation. And for conducting all the behind-the-scenes communications this exploring this undoubtedly involved. Also for keeping us as updated as possible, given all that seems to have been going on that required a lot of waiting, plus some good old persistence and spiritual elbow grease.
To Boz Tchividjian – Thank you for even considering G.R.A.C.E.’s involvement. I knew it might be too far outside your mission, but sensed what was needed here was some kind of independent investigation. Felt to me that the interlocking nature of so many of the individuals involved makes Emergent/Progressive seem like an institution, though without any official governance. Anyway, I appreciate that you helped pursue some constructive alternatives.
As a sidenote, I’m sure that many in our spiritual abuse survivor communities are aware of the investigative work G.R.A.C.E. has accomplished, and I for one am grateful for the investment you and your teams have put into those efforts, as well as into the forthcoming college/seminary curriculum for leadership training on child abuse detection, intervention, and prevention. As best I can understand, the leadership and organizational system principles that help prevent child abuse will also have a lot of application to preventing spiritual abuse.
To Brian McLaren – Thank you for taking time to connect with Dee and share your perspective on the Emergent situation, especially pertinent things about relationships among some of the key people involved. I’m really glad to hear you do not plan to sue, as that is how I read your statement of January 29th on the “WhyTony” Scribd site, and also that you are still open to mediation with Julie McMahon after whatever impending events clear. I truly hope that can come to pass and this can be as resolved as possible for all those in that part of the equation.
More in a bit … still working on something else I think needs to be said …
And also cartoonist/blogger/writer/former pastor David Hayward in Canada was threatened by this Emergent group in the US. I’ve had to round up Free Speech help in the US and Canada! And I apologized to David Hayward in Canada, from America, for the despicable treatment that these Americans have subjected him to!
They wouldn’t ‘man up’ and do it, so I (a woman) did it!
See today’s cartoon: “Telling Your Story: An Invitation to Intimidation”
You have no idea what you’re talking about. There is no point in responding to you further.
Yes, that makes sense. Thanks.
I don’t even know how to respond to that, but nor do I want to just ignore it since clearly you are angry. I guess I’ll just say I’m sorry if any of my comments caused you pain.
I suppose this upcoming litigation runs along the lines of her telling everyone Tony has NPD. Like that isn’t obvious or something.
Driscoll likely has it too (I know there are scales for all these conditions and one has to get a certain number of points before it can be called a diagnosis, and most fall along a continuum, so it may be Driscoll would never get that diagnosis and Tony could just by which questions are answered which way, or observations, but most commenters here aren’t “killing Tony’s reputation” by knowing a diagnosis (or not, do we really have proof Tony is, or hearsay?) exists. The problem is, we expect leaders to act a certain way. When those actions are lacking, we question their leadership. Even if another psychiatrist came along and undid Tony’s diagnosis (I got diagnosed with a chronic, incurable disease at the same time as another one, but the treatment for the first wiped out the second diagnosis – but didn’t do a whit for my first, so anyways….it may be along the lines of “now he isn’t NPD” and this is all defamation, etc. But, again, NPD isn’t the disqualifier , divorcing your wife for another woman is the issue. Had he been wiser he wouldn’t have disqualifed himself. If he had to divorce Julie for some mental health reasons (hers or his), fine, but the whole Courtney, remarriage, and write a book for justification of taking on new “Spiritual Wives” (does he read the Fundamental Mormon books for ideas???) is the disqualifier
Why look — the hired trolls are back to comment! They are so unprofessional it’s not even funny. What they are doing in posting here is not EVER, EVER, EVER done!
” If he had to divorce Julie for some mental health reasons (hers or his), fine, but the whole Courtney, remarriage, and write a book for justification of taking on new “Spiritual Wives” (does he read the Fundamental Mormon books for ideas???) is the disqualifier.” – Val
Nicely said. And wasn’t Courtney also married at the time she and Tony Jones were carrying on?
I really don’t know, but I just feel like no amount of suing, litigating or feeling betrayed by Julie will affect an outcome here.
All I see is a guy who 1) divorces his wife and leaves her with his three kids (despite claiming she is insane!) can he provide court records of him trying to gain custody over her mental condition?? If not, so what? if she had a condition, no one felt it was enough to remove the kids. 2) Quickly remarries another woman (who also was recently divorces) – again, as a Bible scholar, he knows all this stuff is problematic, and he isn’t really building a public case that he is fit for ministry or Christian leadership. Finally, 3) he then writes a book (or was it before the remarriage?) trying to redefine Christian marriage as something it has NEVER been.
I don’t want to get into all the historical background of marriage and the church, but the Church wasn’t even involved in officiating marriages until the 12th Century (and only in the Western Church, the Catholic Church, in many Eastern Ortho churches the couple are married outside the sanctuary and the enter and take their first communion as a couple after they are married, but they aren’t married in the sanctuary as the church was never traditionally a part of nuptials – in the Roman Empire these were between the Bride’s father or male guardian and her Husband, the church was not involved for over 1,000 years in this business.
Anyways, not sure how a scholar, who should know all this, manages to redefine marriage into some higher institution than even Jesus saw presented it (I mean, it isn’t even a heavenly thing, what kind of Spiritual level is he aiming for if him and Courtney won’t even be married in the great beyond?). And the convenience and timing???
All this is the problem, not Julie. Had he just said: “I can’t live with her, she is insane and my mental health is deteriorating, but she is a wonderful mom, it is just us that is impossible” sadly divorced her (better, separated from her, since who cares about anything legal anyways according to him), paid child-support and moved on, none of this would be where it is at now. Instead, he divorces, quickly remarries, likely covers up an emotional affair before the divorce, and then comes up with a book justifying his actions and is so worried about Julie ruining his reputation – I just can’t follow. What on earth can she of done here that could make him look so bad. I barely have read Julie’s comments, I have just read about all his court proceedings and am shaking my head.
Tony admitted it himself in his statement.
This whole situation is reminding me why I find the “world” to be in many ways a safer place than “Christendom.” At least in the world, when someone does something straight up wrong, there’s nobody justifying it in the name of God or Jesus.
Yeah, her, Courtney’s, divorce is linked to as well on that site I gave you on the last comment thread. Some fb posts show them as close friends before either one was divorced – allegedly – but even if they weren’t, you’ve got 2 divorces and two people remarrying in a very short time span, but we are all supposed to be fine with that (alone), never mind the next 6 years of Child Support payment battles (him constantly trying to lower it and lower it) on public, so not private, record.
I am avoiding getting into the he said/she said stuff here, but then there is the mental health allegations – both ways, as well.
I may be wrong, but it seems only he has some statement about her not damaging his reputation for financial reasons (bad paraphrase on my part), no record of her also getting that protection in the documents. Not sure what the courts awarded on that front. I just glanced and read and glanced. Others have done a better job summing this all up than me.
Michaela – Do you have any news from your attorney friends?
Doug Koenigsberg wrote:
Doug, your comment above is confusing me. If someone didn’t like conflict, would they post a public statement in support of someone in the midst of a major and public conflict? Also, wouldn’t publicly supporting one person in a conflict be making a judgment about a person/situation?
Also, it seems if he didn’t like conflict or conflict resolution as you suggest, he most likely would not have made any contact with Dee.
A man who writes a public statement of support then takes issue with Dee describing (accurately) that he’s in the camp of the subject of said statement is completely untrustworthy in my opinion. While he may say the right things at the right time to the right person, remaining consistent and authentic seems to be a problem for this Emergent leadership, as we too often have seen with leaders in Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical & other institutions when abuse is being covered up and perpetrators enabled.
Still wondering how Julie is such a threat, that more litigation is necessary? All the divorce proceedings are public record and laid bare on the internet. The word we use around here is: “Deadbeat Dad” is what they read as. Now he is trying to gain custody, but 6 years too late and only now the public is reading these documents and thinking “deadbeat” to themselves.
No matter if Julie gets a gag order for life, these court docs speak volumes of his reputation and character. Even if every comment on every blog post is a fabrication or distortion – running off with a married woman and financially neglecting your kids for 6 long years is enough to ruin one’s reputation permanently. Just my opinion, true. But I doubt I am alone out here.
@ Amy Smith:
I wonder if they all use the same PR firm?
Well, apparently not in this group.
Doug Koenigsberg wrote:
It seems like it’s a pretty big problem for someone to claim to be friends with “most anyone.” Isn’t that misleading and disingenuous, among other things?
Perhaps it is like have your cake and eating it too? You get to call a people “friend” when it is beneficial, and deny that very friendship when it becomes a liability (as in this unfortunate situation).
I honestly think you, who wrote this article, needs to get a life. But I’m pretty sure this whole story has become a fetish for you as it has so many, and you will see it through to it’s Jerry Springer like conclusion. Shame.
This is the mother who has cared for their children for many years, allowing Tony to have the time to write books, be a leader and to teach and travel and even court and marry a new wife.
That phrase stood out to me. There are two things that Christian leaders need to have. One is doctrinal soundness, all too often the only criterion considered these days. The other is character, behaviour, something the apostle Paul spends more time on than the former.
In this case, Jesus’ rule that divorce plus remarriage = adultery surely applies. Whatever your view of the Matthean ‘exception’ clause (and let’s not get distracted into that) it cannot apply in this case as far as I can see. Even if Tony is doctrinally sound (which in the cirumstances I vey much doubt), his behaviour disqualifies him from writing books, teaching and leading, and enjoying travelling around to do so.
A man who is unfaithful cannot credibly preach about a God who is faithful. His new marriage is a living denial of such an idea. It may also go a long way to explaining why he ignores scriptural injunctions not to go to law to settle disputes.
Which is why I think he launches these attacks against Julie, he is desperate to clear himself of his wrongdoing, not realizing that his continued silencing and litigation towards her only exacerbate his wrongdoings. Even if there was no legitimate accusations of abuse, he is disqualified from a Christian leadership for his disregard of marriage (actually, he attempted to redefine it beyond anything the church or Bible have taught) and duty to his relatives (in this case, his kids). But the point you are making is exactly what the David Hayward at ‘Naked Pastor’ made and started this whole brouhaha.
A dear friend, who has since gone Home to be with the Lord, would have called it “taurine fecal matter”. (Thanks, Bro!!)
Amy Smith wrote:
I do pray for miraculous peace! I want that so badly for my children. Being litigated to death by Tony has been his preferred form of punishing me for daring to expose him. The stress and strain is immense. Thank you all for your continued support.
1 comment removed at request of author.
Well, that sure convinced me to do something. I just don’t know what it is.
@ Julie McMahon:
We are praying for a miracle in this situation. We care about you!
Amen and Amen!
@ Julie McMahon:
I keep going back to the nakedpastor thread where you were communicating parts of your story. The ONLY thing you asked for was an apology from those who went along with Tony (that you were crazy, trying to commit you, etc) without even trying to understand you. That is it. That is all you asked for.
And look what asking for an apology has brought out from leaders in the Progressive/Emergent movement. Their responses have been OTT relative to what you asked for. They cannot even publicly apologize for believing Tony about your mental state when they all know he has an NPD diagnosos! And they all know he was more than willing to leave his children with a woman he claimed was crazy.
There is a total lack of integrity in that movement. And my opinion of MdLaren at this point is that he is “oily” as in deceptive and slick.
Julie McMahon wrote:
Julie, I believe you!
Dee, Tom seems nice and fun and hip and all with his “get a life” comment. His winsome tone surely has convinced you to put the keyboard down and walk away. Tom also would get along nicely with anon mailer, Mr. Coward.
Well, a ToJo fanboy chimes in – let’s all leave this alone and let ToJo grind his ex into the ground in private.
Yes, what Lydia wrote is exactly right.
or just your run-of-the-mill drive-by troll
Amy Smith wrote:
I wonder if he’s so Hip he has an Ironic Haircut, Ironic ‘Stache, Ironic BCD Glasses, Ironic Shirt, and Ironic Pants cuffed in four places. (Ironic Vape Stick optional.)
Julie, if you’re still reading I’m adding my voice to those who support you. Stay strong.
The more these guys pile on Julie, the more they show their true colors. When I read something rotten, it just sends me over to the gofundme site to support her. Love how generous all people have been to Julie.
I have been reading extensively on this and just am compelled to say, Julie I believe you and this has to be a nightmare for you. I can’t even imagine the horrors you have gone through.
This is something no one in society, and especially the Christian community, should have to endure. You are stronger than I would be and I think most women would be, as I think I would have gone insane long before this. It’s difficult to prove yourself sane when such accusations with powerful opposition is against you and not just your ex-husband, but he has dragged in many powerful people from all over the country. How awful for you.
He should have stayed with you no matter what. That is what marriage is. In my opinion, he sinned against God and you by having an affair. Then it seems to have his cake and eat it too, the allegations against you began, which I believe are false. I read what you wrote and I hear your heart and you are very rational in your writings. I do not think you are crazy in the least.
Tony should have been held accountable for the affair, and if he were truly a man of God, disqualified himself from ministry. But that is what Celebrity “Christianity” does, it is a rich kingdom that the celebrity minister does not want to lose, the “Christian” community does not want to look bad, so they hide him, back him, and lie for him.
I pray this nightmare ends for you and your children Julie. You did nothing wrong. Nothing. Listen, if my husband were to have an affair and I were to lose everything, I would scream, shout, and fight. Any woman would who was faithful to her husband and the church as I believe you were.
I believe you Julie. They are wrong, you are not crazy and they are digging deeper holes by doing what they have done to you. Your children will soon be grown and able to decide for themselves. That may not be good for Tony and his newest wife. But the damage that is being done to you and your children now is inexcusable.
It seems the churches in America have gone crazy, insane, and I wonder how much longer they will survive as people wake up to the craziness that is not Biblical Christianity, but the opposite. I know I am sick of it and have been for a very long time. Prayers to you Julie and my support.
I feel the same way.
She is. Your support means the world to her.
Doesn’t really matter how many legal beagles professor emergence retains, he has royally cook’d hiz own goose…Ya think?
Ha! Exactly also. 😉
Lead Religion : When The Emergence Levee Breaks ?
Hang in there Julie!
Donated to your GoFundMe today, and praying for strength to survive the current storm.
“When people do not feel that they are heard, they turn up the volume, turn on the heat, call out the guard, shut off the hearing aids and spread the word.”
That quote is excellent. Thank you for sharing your pastor’s wisdom, Dee.
VERY glad to hear McLaren is not planning to sue (which was also my takeaway from his earlier statement), despite any of the other questions about his previous wording per Tony raised upthread. Thank you, Deebs, for doing behind-the-scenes legwork the rest of us are in no position to do, honoring confidentiality per the litigation, and seeking to present accurate information and do due diligence.
Thank you. This sort of thing tears your heart out.
Thank you. That is a tangible expression to Julie that you care. She calls all of us her virtual angels.
Love this guy. he is one of the most intellectual and challenging people that I have ever listened to.
Dee, you are certainly brave to take this on. Julie, I can not imagine better advocates than Dee and Deb. I too hope for a miracle. However, nothing can undo the suffering Tony has already caused his children and Julie. Children need both their parents. Tony’s attempted rationalization to remarry hurts his children. I have suffered from chronic depression most of my life. My husband of 31 years has loved me through the tough times, been a great dad and never made me feel crazy. Mental suffering is never a reason to divorce. I agree though that many people with Personality Disorders (axis II of DSM- 5) such as NPD are unwilling and unable to recognize their toxicity and often manipulate and ruin their relationships. Therapy rarely helps them change their behavior.
After this, what’s next? “CAN’T YOU TAKE A JOKE?????”?
I don’t know about brave. Sometimes I get a pit in my stomach.
What I hate is the marginalization of those who have been wounded in the church. As these folks drift out to the sidelines, the church is diminished. We need everyone and every one needs to be heard. We are stronger when we listen and support.
I am so glad that your husband supports you through your struggle. Many families break up when one person struggles with a chronic condition. It is those who take their vows seriously and are willing to love through difficulty who should be leaders in the church. Give him a big hug from Dee. Actually pat yourself on the back for hanging in there. Chronic depression is hard struggle and admire your willingness to share about your struggle as well.
Ann, I have had chronic depression for decades and am blessed to have a supportive guy in my life. Meds have been of limited help.
My sister is sending me contact info on an Ayurvedic practitioner in NJ whose 2 recommended supplements saved the life of one of her close friends recently. Her friend was so depressed that she could not get out of bed, and her organs had started shutting down. After taking these supplements, she’s getting back to her life now and credits the practitioner – and my sister, with saving her life.
Two other friends have gone to another practitioner, have gone on the full Ayurvedic diet and have had significant improvement in symptoms of MS and Fibromyalgia.
Dee, could you forward my email address to Ann? Ann, you are welcome to contact me for the info, which I should get in the next day or so. No financial interest on my part or on my sister’s part.
Professor Emergence, Should’ve settled, bro.
Greater is He that is within us than he that is in the emergence pulpit?
talk about CRazy?
…now Julie is ‘legion…”
Serena: I know you are well intentioned, but that’s not real medicine. Ayurveda is based on magical thinking which has no scientific basis. If it works, it will be by accident or by the placebo effect, because its underlying theory is completely wrong.
I don’t really want to start an irrelevant argument in the comments section here, but please, don’t give these guys your money.
Thank you so very much! Juggling 3 legal proceedings has called for some creative financing. I can not thank you all enough for your support. It has touched me deeply! The Holy Spirit is running this show. Thank you so very much. Love, Julie dee wrote:
Bingo! Val wrote:
Thank you Dee for your kind words. Serena, I appreciate your input, however I have been doing very well under a psychiatrist’s care. I do a lot of self care with mindfulness and exercise. My point was not that I am suffering. My point was that mental health issues should not be the death knell of a healthy life or marriage. Also I do not believe in giving anyone advise unless it is asked for. By suggesting that I am not able to find resources to manage my mental health, you perpetuate the stigma that mental illness= weak, stupid and helpless. This is the same attitude shown by Tony Jones
Bless you and your husband for being an example of how it should be. I tried so very hard to be the patient, understanding husband, but my ex-wife did not do self care, and it made a healthy marriage impossible, especially when there was a child at stake.
With that experience I met many people in your shoes, and I *know* the self care/exercise is hard and something most people don’t have to do. I’m glad your husband supports you, but I know you are doing the hard work only you can do. That makes you a hero in my book and an encouragement that mental illness is not the end.
Jeff, You are so right! Some people do use mental illness as an excuse for bad behavior and to manipulate relationships. I want my husband to be my husband, not my shrink! It took a while to figure it out, but with time and maturity I was able to create a safety net to keep me functioning. I am glad to have a therapist and meds to help me during difficult times so that my husband can get the “best” part of me. My husband is very supportive of my self-caring methods which makes a huge difference. I must admit exercising is the hardest. There are times I fail, but then I pick myself up and start again. :-). Thank you for your kind words. I am sorry your ex wasn’t able to figure it out. In the beginning I was a bitch of a wife, but quickly learned, ” A foolish wife tears own her own house”.
As for Julie, if I had a narcissistic husband and three children, I couldn’t have survived. Julie you are my hero. Their are many of us who support you. Don’t believe the lies he tells you!
You have helped me figure out something that has troubled me for years. When my daughter was struggling with her brain tumor, my husband and I, both medical folks, researched her tumor and treatment day and night. We came to a conclusion, one that was endorsed by her neurosurgeon and neurologist but not by other members of the team. Our decision was based on sound medical judgement and ended up being the absolutely correct decision.
However, during those years, it seemed like everyone had a suggestion for us which ranged from special diets to homeopathic herbs to certain exercises. I used to feel uncomfortable when they suggested these things but I couldn’t put my finger on why. I would respond politely and promptly ignore the advice.
Your answer is one that solves why I was uncomfortable all those years ago. Thank you!
That is an encouraging testimony of how a Christian marriage should be! We need to bear one another’s burdens and come alongside, but we need to help ourselves when we can as well. Thank you for sharing yours and your husband’s.
Just caught this link from a tweet – it’s wondering how Tojo qualifies for a housing allowance, much less a $40,000 one:
Add in all of his numerous other income streams, and all the travel he does (much of which i’m betting is on someone else’s dime) – 15 trips to Rome alone – he’s got one heck of a lifestyle going and apparently enough funds to legally bludgeon his ex into submission.
You have helped me figure out something that has troubled me for years. When my daughter was struggling with her brain tumor, my husband and I, both medical folks, researched her tumor and treatment day and night. We came to a conclusion… based on sound medical judgement … absolutely correct…
However, during those years, it seemed like everyone had a suggestion for us which ranged from [ignorant] to [crackpot] to [stupid]…
While I was pondering how to pick up on Ann’s comment, Dee got in first!
The “helpful” inputs whereof Dee spake are further examples of what I call the Christian Delusion of Competence. And possibly of something else, that is particularly widespread here in the UK: the Christian desire to play the transactional role of Nurturing Parent in what amounts to a mother-baby relationship. So, the first idea that pops into my head is bound to be superior to any conclusion you could come to, no matter how much effort you put into it, because I’m so much better, stronger and wiser than you are.
(FWIW – I have continually been on the receiving end of the same kind of “help” in my life-long struggle to find decent paid employment. Why don’t you try X? Because I’m sure you’ve never thought of that, have you?)
A phrase you often hear in UK Christian circles – and elsewhere too, probably – is “hurting and broken”. And it’s used rather as though “hurting and broken” were one word, and anyone who has come up against anything negative is a frightened, overwhelmed, helplessly dependent infant who is incapable of thinking or acting for themselves.
Paul variously likens the Christian life to that of an athlete, or of a soldier. We’ve developed a bad habit of treating injured athletes, or wounded soldiers, as crying babies.
Sound of da drums
Beating in ma widdle heart
The religious big dawgz
Tore me apart…
…then I cried to the Lord, “come down!”
now, I’m doin’ fine…
fur non venit nisi ut furetur et mactet et perdat ego veni ut vitam habeant et abundantius habeant ~Iesus
@ Nick Bulbeck:
Oh,i really don’t think this kind of thing is limited to xtians by any means. 😉
@ Nick Bulbeck:
And if x does not work, then God must not like you for some reason or there is some besetting sin in your life hindering it.
Yeah, familiar with the drill. The seeker mega’s were the worst because they ONLY permit positive. NO negative truths or results allowed.
Stimpy Happy Helmet time:
“HAPPY! HAPPY! JOY! JOY!”
(No good footage of entire scene on YouTube, only iPhone bootlegs like this)
You get it! And his pathology details why he sadistically enjoys doing so. It’s basically an ever loving nightmare. However, the Holy Spirit has lead me to live within the eye of the storm. He can’t hurt me anymore no matter how hard he tries. I’ve become immune. I do feel a small amount of compassion for the father of my children. He is a tortured soul. JeffT wrote:
Nick Bulbeck wrote:
Because if I turn everyone around me into eternal babies crying for their bottle & nappy change, then I get to be Nanny Knows Best! FOREVER!
(Paging Nurse Ratched… Paging Nurse Ratched…)
On the issue of giving unwanted advice, I think that a lot of people simply don’t know how to respond to someone sharing information about a difficult situation. They rush to give advice (Here is what I think you should do) or make foolish comparisons (my aunt had a similar problem and cured it with herbal tea), or minimize it (it could be worse, you could get hit by a truck tomorrow). The latter is the most popular response in a disease community of which I am a part to people sharing the news that they or a loved one has been diagnosed with a slowly progressive, disabling and fatal disease.
It really goes back to why we are having this discussion. People want to be heard. Later you can figure out how you can help. Later you can give advice if it is needed and wanted. But listen first and empathize and say nothing to diminish their pain. (I am often asked what a better a response to the news of the above diagnosis would be. It is, ‘That sucks.’)
I think when it comes to supporting others, there’s a tendency to believe that what people lack is information and that just having the right ideas will fix their problems. Unfortunately, this tends to be dismissive of the actually problem for people who are living in it. Most difficult trials in life are not so easily resolved with a little info, but it allows people to feel helpful without really investing too much.
I think we, as Christians, can take a big clue from the Incarnation. When we were struggling in sin, dead and lifeless, God did not give us information to fix us, but rather he gave us his presence. He experienced life with us and healed us through that. As a Christian, I really try to keep in mind that it’s often best to offer my presence when I can and avoid giving information until I really have experienced the trials alongside the person I hope to help.
I think the two best piece of advice about listening to people telling their abuse survival stories, which I’ve learned to share at the beginning of hearing them out are:
*I have two open ears and one closed mouth.*
*Is it okay if I ask you questions if/when I have them, or wait till later, cuz I want to be sure I understand as best I can?*
That’s seemed to helped a lot, both for my friend who is processing his/her experiences, and for me to listen as intently as possible.
Also usually helpful: coffee or tea. And a plate of fresh fruit. And those ginger-almond windmill cookies or Milanos or something as a little sumpin sumpin snack. [Well, just sayin’ …] [Energy practicalities usually end up being appreciated.]
I have read of Boz Tchividjian’s insights and reports as he has worked to protect others from abuse and to shine light on potential and real abuse situations. When I first read about the idea of him mediating in the situation between Julie and Tony, I was hopeful. Hopeful. Then wondering. Why? The Evangelical world with which I am familiar is complete with many obscured conflicts of interest and the resulting complications. Some of these are relational. Some are rooted in the financial”investments” of widely influential donors. The pressures to be a team player for the expansion of the “Kingdom of God” may be subtle or overt. The same seems to be true of the Emergent world.
Reservations may come from the following:
1. For at least 30 years Leadership Network and others have focused on innovating so that church, family, and life are based on business models. One never knows for sure which leaders (Evangelical or Emergent) have learned from and networked based on LN type relationships, techniques and pragmatic ideas.
2. Basically, Leadership Network is male dominated. There is an established “good old boy” culture. Women are more trivialized and discounted, unless they are “happy” to get on board and cheerlead. There are heavy expectations/demands to conform to the performance-driven culture – even to the point of silencing the women/persons.
3. Boz is a brother of Tullian Tchividjian, pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. Both are grandsons of Billy Graham. Tullian has growing ties with TBN and the Crouch’s. Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church has historically had strong ties with Rich DeVos. Devise helped fund the LN connected Spanish River church planting network which also gave rise to the Acts 29 Network. There are many unanswered questions about the extent to which some like DeVos have invested in Leadership Network projects. LN began to work formally with mega church pastors in 1984; then about 1997 LN recruited male leaders for their Young Leaders Network (out of which came Emergent networks). What could this mean, or not? Many questions could be asked as one seeks for clarification.
Basically I trust Julie to recognize these pressures. She and Tony were there when he was recruited into the Young Leaders Network of Leadership Network. Her reservations at any point are very relevant.
@ Susan Conway:
Boz is one of the good ones- he’s legit
@ Susan Conway:
Interesting, Susan. I am not sure we have fully fathomed the influence of the LN, Bob Buford and Peter Drucker. I know they were extremely influential in the rise of seeker mega churches during the late 80’s through the 90’s. And yes, it was part of a focus on helping non profits become more entrepreneurial– which was used as a model for churches. Basically, I viewed them as sort of training up Masters of the Universe types.
I am grateful for the work Boz does. However, I am not convinced that some institutions are worthy of being saved or able to change their inherent culture which is really what GRACE is about. There is nothing harder to change than institutionalized evil where it became the normal. I am grateful that stories are able to be told and made public. That is only one small part of justice, though.
Jeff S wrote:
Which reminds me of 2 Cor. 1:3-4 – “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
The word “comfort” in that passage is translated from a Greek word close to the one used to describe the role of the Holy Spirit as our counselor in John 14:26. We have a transliteration in English with the word “paraclete”. The sense in both John 14 and 2 Cor. 1 is of someone coming alongside.
That leads me to read 2 Cor. 1:3-4 sometimes as – “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all coming alongsidedness, who comes alongside us in all our troubles, so that we can some alongside those in any trouble with the coming alongsidedness we ourselves receive from God.”
Works for me.
@ Jeff S:
Jeff S wrote:
Excellent comment! The attitude you mention before this is all through Christianity, making it an intellectualized affair, and with this then, one that blames. If I present you with the right information and you reject the right information then I can reject you and blame you for your misfortunes. We do this with evangelism and keep doing it. Even worse the “right” information is processed through those with power and influence, so they determine what is “right”.
They have letters after their names or are ordained so people believe them, and then this snowballs so the right information builds and builds until the only people who can be right are right by virtue of their positions. Everyone is either intimidated or worshipful of those labels so falls in line. The vision of “God’s ordained” becomes the new Holy Spirit for a community, which is actual idolatry. But they’ve crafted theology so as to deny that kind of rebuttal. They create and enforce the rules. Fortunately, God still works as God will work in and among and through the people. Which is why I like popping the bubble of pompous leaders.
Ann, I am sorry for your struggles.
I have struggled to recover from a personality disorder (BPD), and you can find part of my story in the archives here. I have been uncomfortable with how many are protraying that there is no hope for anyone diagnosed with a PD — that is no longer the case, although it requires skilled therapists and hard work on the part of the person diagnosed. I am living proof that one can recover and live a more healthy life. I have taken ownership of how I have hurt those close to me and made amends where I can. My prayer is that God soften Tony’s heart and that he recognizes his need to change his toxic behaviors — and it is something only God can do.
This is a great comment, Faith! Thanks so much.
I’m sorry this has been the case for you. I don’t think the discussion here has been about people with PDs in general, but it has been specifically about NPD. There is a lot of information about NPD and the treatment. I know for me, I do not lump all PDs nor mental issues into one lump. And, yes, God can work in someone with NPD. Because of the disorder, though, it would take a lot of time and convincing for a person with NPD to be trusted.
Oh, my goodness, Ann. I apologize and am sorry my words came across the opposite of how I meant them. Since the 80s, when I was diagnosed with major depression, I don’t remember meeting or hearing of anyone with similar symptoms who’s doing as well as you are. (However, one of my symptoms is a spotty memory.)
With that context, I interpreted your words, “I have suffered from chronic depression most of my life” to mean that like many with depression, you might not have found effective ways to get relief from the desolate, debilitating times. It’s wonderful to hear you have methods that work for you and that your marriage is strong.
Because I had just heard of a possible option that’s unfamiliar to most in the US, I wanted to pass it along to you in case you wanted to check it out. My intention was to share a potential resource, rather than offer advice.
“Weak, stupid, and helpless” aren’t words that come into my head about anyone.
I am sorry I got so much so wrong and wish I could take back all my words. Again, I apologize.
Patrick O wrote:
Even if the “letters after their names” are Honorary Doctorates awarded back & forth by their cronies?
Patrick O wrote:
“I seek out those with Holy Hand Grenades in their pockets and pull the pins.”
— some guy interviewed on Christianese TV long ago; the interviewers didn’t know what hit them
Even when “But they’re so N.I.C.E.”?
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I admit I’ve come upon this conversation very late as a result of comments re: Rachel Held Evans new book and the positive review by Brian McLaren. I know none of the background or details regarding Tony Jones or Julie McMahon, and don’t believe I really should. I just felt the need to point out that all of the comments here are direct judgements against one of the players in this story. As a Christian, I thought this was one of the main things Jesus asked us NOT to do. “Empathic listening” as one person mentioned does not require the listener to take sides in a dispute, it only requires that you listen and show empathy. To take sides, find fault and pass judgement is exactly what we were told not to do. We were only to love everyone, even our enemies, as we love Jesus. I didn’t hear any of that either. Perhaps I’ve misunderstood, but this seems to be happening throughout so much of Christianity today. Perhaps that’s why Brian and Rachel didn’t want to take a stand either way. Again, I clearly don’t know all the details, but I have followed both of them for a very long time and they seem to me, from their writing at least, to be very centred in their love of God, His Son Jesus Christ, fellow Christians as well as those who are still searching for their answers. I sincerely mean no criticism about what I’ve read here, I’m just more and more confused as time goes on as to why Christianity has taken this change in attitude. It doesn’t seem to be based on anything Jesus said so I’m wondering why it seems to have become a regular part of so many Christians’ practice.
Why do you think they haven’t taken a stand in this matter?
Also, there are many things that Jesus told us not to do. For example, ignoring the abused, giving the honored place at the table for the powerful, cheering on the celebrity, ignoring the pain of the little guy or the person cast aside in favor of a *better* deal. I would be happy to discuss with you your perceptions on what is considered godly.
Also, this blog empathetically listens to many, many people. Take a look at our 6 years of doing so. We are not perfect but we do listen and support one another. Some of us even get together, we talk on the phone, visit each other in the hospitals, etc.
I do not look at anyone in this saga as my enemy. I just think someone got forgotten in the midst of celebrity. That voice has now been heard and it also has been supported by many people who gave money to her. Now all sides of the argument have support and caring.
This blog is dedicated to giving a voice to the voiceless, those cast aside, those let down and those needing a shoulder to lean on. Sometimes that means sacrificing comfort on the part of those who care for the forgotten. It can be hard wading through high waters.
If you do not think that you should know any of the details of the Tony and Julie situation, it might be best for you not to read here or at other blogs. You can read at RHE’s blog, Brian McLaren’s blog, Tony’s blog,etc.and you will not learn of these details that cause you discomfort.
By the way, I still link to RHE’s website and I am still in touch with Brian McLaren. We have had some good conversations.
Finally, God did not say we are not to pass judgement on situations. In fact, the NT is filled with things the Bible says are sin and should not be allowed. I believe that God is telling us not to pass judgement on the salvation of anybody. That is in His hands alone and I would never presume to do so. We pass judgement all the time. If we didn’t, we would be in a world of hurt.
I hope that you find a more comfortable venue in which to show the love of Jesus. Please let me know if I can be of help in suggesting other websites.
I said I shouldn’t know the details of this story because I don’t know these people and their personal story is none of my business. I have no right as a complete stranger to offer any opinion.
As far as judgement is concerned, Jesus was very clear, at least to me, when He said in Matthew 7: 1 Judge not, that ye be not judged. Just because everyone does it doesn’t make it right. I can’t tell anyone else what to do or believe, that was not my intent. I was purely trying to understand why there were so many judging Brian and Rachel for NOT doing something. Isn’t that their right to decide, what they do and don’t do? Anything more just doesn’t feel like something Jesus would like . Just my opinion. No judgement on anyone else. I mean that sincerely.
As for what blogs I read, I am perfectly able to decide which writers I connect with or who challenge me spiritually, which I think is a good thing. And which ones I feel aren’t a good fit. To be honest, I only ended up here because there was a commenter on Rachel’s blog who made reference to Tony Jones in a very negative context. So I googled his name to find out what the controversy was about and came upon your site. Perhaps I shouldn’t have commented at all. I have the feeling now that your blog is not so open to those who have differing thoughts from the “regulars”. Your suggestion “it might be best for you not to read here (or others?)” is quite clear. It has nothing to do with my discomfort, (I never did feel discomfort, just confusion) I don’t believe. It’s more about my questions challenging you in some way. I’m sorry, again, that was never my intent. I only thought, by how you described yourselves as accepting all people and questions/comments, as long as they were respectful. And they were that.
Oh, one last point, have you considered that Rachel and Brian might just not want to get into a public argument with anyone or take sides? Not everyone wants to get into online battles as too much can be misinterpreted, as you did with my comment here. As a regular follower of both, it’s my humble opinion that “celebrity” has absolutely nothing to do with either one of them. From everything I’ve read, neither one has an iota of that in them. Again, my opinion.
Wishing you and all the “regulars” many blessing.
My experience also.
I’m sure some people felt the same as you who have commented at RHE and BM blogs. The big difference is that TWW doesn’t delete comments of those with differing opinions. Dialogue is allowed.
The issue isn’t so much about JM’s and TJ’s divorce, but the way the leaders in that circle supported Tony but didn’t support Julie and the children. The divorce becomes an issue ‘for Tony’ (and the other leaders in his circle) because Tony is looked to as a leader and he left his wife and children for another woman.
Neither Rachel or Brian delete comments of opposing views. Rachel definitely, in fact, encourages dialogue, says we help her sort things out. We’re like an open community. TWW feels like a private club.
Rachel has been deleting comments on this subject. She even said she was.
She deletes comments on a regular basis. She even openly stated this on Danica’s comment.
Just to be sure you understand what I am saying, take a look at your two comments. You said that you believe that you really shouldn’t know the details of a private situation. I wanted you to understand that there have been comments here that do discuss such matters. That s why I said it might not be best for you to read here.
I am not saying “move along.” When I say that, people know that is exactly what I am saying. I usually accompany such a comment with a link to the song “Time to Say Good-bye.” You would have known if I meant it.
What I was saying is that I could suggest other blogs which do not deal with such matters. And I am saying that quite sincerely.
He did say that but perhaps it doesn’t refer to that which you think it does. Jesus discussed sin and even made lists of sins that were wrong. The 10 commandments also tell us things that are wrong such as You shall not kill. Each of these involve a judgement on our part.
If you know a child is being abused, wouldn’t you make a judgement that such a thing is wrong and report it to the police? If your best friend was having an affair on her her husband and asked you to keep a secret, wouldn’t you make a judgement that such a thing was wrong? If you knew a woman was being beaten by her husband, wouldn’t you judge that such a thing was wrong and get her help? If we did not judge these things, the world would be in a mess.
The judgement to which Jesus was referring in that passage was one that we should never do and that is to decide whether or not someone is ultimately saved. That, and that alone, is what Jesus was talking about. The Pharisees were always judging the downtrodden and the sick. They proclaimed that the blind man was blind due to his father’s sins. They told the people if they didn’t follow their exacting standards thatthey were outside of God’s kingdom. He called those who did these things *snakes.*
The minute you put yourself into the public eye, asking people to buy your books, listen to what you say, speak at conferences, etc. you have entered the public arena. At that point, one must be ready to be judged in public. I have great faith int the strength of both Brian and Rachel to endure the critique. If I can do it here, and I am regularly criticized, I know that they can handle it as well.
The moment I went public with my thoughts, I knew that I would open myself up to criticism.In fact, it was that point which caused me to hesitate, Now, I am comfortable with that. If you read here regularly, you would see that I allow comments that other blogs do not. Even harsh comments. I even have a list that I started called “What the world is saying about TWW” in which I list insults I find amusing such as “daughter of Stan (sic)”
I believe that I was being respectful as well. I do accept all comments but that does not mean I agree with all comments. This blog is a give and take. Notice how frequently I comment on comments. I did not realize that you wanted to make a statement and then not be challenged on your statement. i am sorry if you feel that is being disrespectful.
In fact, I believe that commenting on what you said it is being respectful. I am so interested n what you had to say that I commented on it as opposed to letting it slip on through.You are important.On this blog, I live by this statement of CS Lewis.
“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously – no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.”
I want you to understand that many people who come here have been mistreated by their churches. They, along with me, saw the comments at the Naked Pastor and felt really bad for a woman who appeared to be sidelined and labeled as *batshit crazy.* That has happened to many, many women. We felt so bad for her that we started a fund for her. i have tried, with Brian McLaren’s permission, to mediate between him and Julie.
Tony, Brian and Rachel have their throngs of admirers. I am pleased for them. But, one person in this discussion did not. She appeared to be sidelined, labeled and not listened to. Jesus spent much of his time searching out the marginalized. She now has a voice. her story has been heard.
Finally, this blog does not linger on one story. As you can see, we are on to new topics such as the alleged abuses at Calvary Temple. I would love to get your take on that.
I hope this makes sense. Thank you for commenting at TWW as a new commenter. I do not take that for granted.
I am sorry that you do not feel that your opinions were allowed or accepted. I didn’t delete any of them.