Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. –Francis of Assisi link
I have been doing a bunch of thinking about the rather public discussion of the divorce between Tony Jones and Julie McMahon. There has been critique by some religious personalities who feel that this discussion should stay in the courts, out of the public eye. There was something about this thinking that left me dissatisfied.
The other day, I wanted to check on the news and, by accident, I turned on Judge Judy. Intrigued, I watched for about 20 minutes. These folks were airing their grievances in front of a judge and a television audience. I noticed that they didn't seem concerned about this. In fact, they seemed to be glad that lots of people were interested in their private lives.
I have come to the conclusion that every person deals with pain differently, including whether or not to go public with their pain. Both Tony Jones and Julie McMahon have gone public with the pain of their divorce. There is something good that has come out of this. Both of them now have their group of vocal supporters.
Perhaps surrounded by the love of their friends, the two of them can sit down at the table minus the courtroom and find a solution for the sake of their kids. Tony Jones holds a position of prominence in the Christian Progressive/Emergent culture. Perhaps he could show his leadership skills by offering sacrificial peace in a difficult situation.
The following statement was made by the Rev. Monica Myers Greenberg which she released to Julie McMahon who asked me to post it. The Reverend Greenberg confirmed to me that she gave Julie McMahon this witness statement to use at her discretion. I want to state strongly that she did not initiate this post. I have the PDF of this statement.
There is a redacted part of the statement. This is for protection of their children. Also, I have initiated contact with an acquaintance of Tony Jones to relay that we are willing to print a statement from Tony Jones.
I will be involved in helping to run a retreat over the next three days and will not be able to participate in the discussion as much as I usually do. I would ask that patience and grace be the guiding principle in the debate that is sure to follow.
Praying for love and peace!
28 April 2015
On April 30th 2014, I met Tony Jones during the Festival of Preaching Northwest in Seattle, Washington. At that time, I served on the steering committee for the Festival and offered to pick Mr. Jones up from Sea-Tac airport at 11am, take care of making sure he was able to eat lunch and check into his hotel prior to his afternoon presentation at the Festival. I was interested in chatting with Mr. Jones about matters of mutual professional interest.
During lunch, the conversation turned to more personal matters. The following is my recollection of that conversation: Mr. Jones inquired as to whether my husband and I intended to have more children. After I responded, Mr. Jones stated that “my crazy ex-wife always thought that having another child would save our marriage.” Trying to respond in pastoral way, I said, “children tend not to make already difficult relationships less stressful.” He responded, “they do not; especially because I [redacted] in the first place.”” Not knowing how to directly respond to this statement, I responded, “it sounds like you and your ex-wife had a very difficult marriage.” To which Mr. Jones responded forcefully, “no, it sounds like I want to murder my ex-wife.”
I knew nothing of Mr. Jones’ personal life prior to this conversation, but I was surprised that he would make such negative statements to a stranger he had just met at a Christian conference where he was scheduled to speak. Upon further reflection, I decided that I did not, personally, feel safe in his presence and, for the remainder of the conference, avoided being alone with him while still remaining friendly in my interactions with him. I knew that I might have professional contact with Mr. Jones in the future and I felt it was best not to have a negative confrontation with him.
Following the conclusion of the Festival, I did a Google search on Mr. Jones regarding his divorce and learned that his marriage with Julie McMahon had ended several years prior. While I still felt unsettled by Mr. Jones’ remarks regarding his ex-wife, I concluded that they most likely did not constitute a threat to her life, so I did nothing further at that time.
Mr. Jones and I continued to casually correspond regarding the possibility that Congregational Leadership Northwest and his production company might partner on a future event, but I continued to feel anxious about working directly with him. My anxiety turned to alarm when documents were published online by Mr. Jones and others in late January of this year. Following Mr. Jones’ public admission of having been diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder and having seen documentation of past domestic abuse of Ms. McMahon by Tony Jones, I became more concerned about his earlier comments to me. Although I remain fearful for myself, I decided that my concern for Ms. McMahon’s safety and well-being was a higher priority, so on April 23, 2015, I contacted Ms. McMahon by phone to offer her this testimony to use as needed.
Rev. Monica Myers Greenberg
Pastor, Northwest Christian Church (DOC)
President, Congregational Leadership Northwest
As it often happens, it appears that Julie having strength to tell her story has given others who have had negative/scary/inappropriate interactions with Tony the confidence to share theirs.
I don’t think this will be the last account we read about him.
OH MY GOSH!
Thank you for your bravery in telling your story, Monica. This is highly concerning to me, given that Tony has already proven he is capable of physical violence against Julie.
A hopeful part of me also yearns, “Now? Surely NOW Rachel Held Evans, Nadia Bolz Weber, Jay Bakker and others will see how destructive and downright scary this abuser is, and will cut ties with him?
He simply cannot be allowed to continue ‘ministry’.
It also makes me very concerned for his current wife and the child in his home. I hope they are safe.
This would be an EXCELLENT statement to help us get Tony Jones marked as a Vexatious Litigant in the State of Minnesota that he can NOT file ANY legal actions against Julie without judicial permission.
I previously got a California man marked as a Vexatious Litigant and the California Judiciary agreed with me.
We need to put a stop to Tony Jones and I am contacting the Minnesota Judiciary about him.
This is chilling. Tony Jones filed for divorce in 2008 and the divorce was final late in 2009. Four and half years later he was still so angry that he told a stranger he wanted to murder his ex-wife?
And now let’s see how long before one of TJ’s enablers comes in and tries to divert discussion of the matter at hand.
Thank you for sharing your story, Monica. It is disturbing. I can think of a handful of similar professional encounters I have had that I’ve struggled with whether or not I should document them. Your comments make me feel it might be wise to do so.
This isn’t a promotion and I get nothing from it, but if you (Monica, other commenters, ANYONE reading this) haven’t read “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin de Becker I highly recommend it. Often that intuition and gut feeling that something is “off” is right.
I’m just surprised that Tony Jones would be attending — let alone speaking at — something called a Festival of Preaching. I thought those guys ditched preaching in favor of “conversation” a long time ago.
Oh that there were more brave pastors like Rev. Monica in Christendom!
“Light A Candle, Start A Forest Fire?”
A Church Pastor who has had ‘thoughts’ of ‘harm’ toward his former wife?
Isn’t that somethin…
A Nice Piece of Azz, The Cost is Grating?
A proverbial adulteress hunts for the precious life. Can this pastorial man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?
I guess we shall certainly sèê, huh?
Isaiah was a prophet of God. Here is God’s view concerning such behaviors:
“Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
Raise your voice like a trumpet.
Declare to my people their rebellion
and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.”
And later in the same passage and context:
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?” [Isaiah 58]
Thus, in the Christian context, we are obligated to speak up and loudly about Christian Leaders that show (what we perceive as) destructive behaviors and heart-beliefs: “sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy, drunkenness, orgies, and the like. …” [Galatians 5]
May I also add that we are obligated to allow the parties to speak and share their stories in pursuit of reconciliation? It is my hope that Tony and/or Julie and/or other Emergent Leaders may share their views and beliefs here [Matthew 5:23-34]
This is how we create honesty among us. This is how we create conversation and discourse. Honesty and conversation/dialog is not by hiding/deleting comments, or ignoring such open and valid criticisms.
This is not a witch-hunt, a public burning, or an argument of ‘digital pitchforks’.
These are honest questions. Yes, asked loudly (as commanded by the Prophet). And yes, asked for understanding and reconciliation within the greater Christian community.
Sincerely; Caryn LeMur
Or will it be
“The Dwarfs are for The Dwarfs (and Tony)! We Won’t Be Taken In!”?
This seems disingenuous that you are suggesting you want this to be handled out of court, but are further inflaming the situation by repeating someone’s comments about an off-handed remark Tony may or may not have made.
I’m glad this stranger who had just met him made it clear that she did not believe that the statement was actually a death threat. That was responsible of her.
Wow is right. It sounds like off-the-cuff bitter metaphoric remarks (“I could just kill her”) which I’ve heard made in many divorces, but I just can’t get over the claim he made these remarks to a complete stranger just after meeting her. If that’s true, it’s hard to understand.
Couldn’t this possibly backfire? The statement is unsubstantiated, as would any reply or comment that Jones might care to make about it.
I didn’t say I don’t believe it, but it might be used (or misused) as evidence of an attempt at character assassination by those on the Jones side of the dispute.
Periodically since late 2009, I have been following the unfolding developments of the Emergent/Progressive Movement, and the Tony Jones/Julie McMahon situation. I also commented on several of the dozen or so blogs in late 2009 and early 2010 that were dealing with Emergent issues and/or allegations surrounding the Jones’ divorce.
I’ve also compiled a case study on this situation and its context on the Diagnosing the Emergent Movement website, as a counterpart to a case study I produced on the Neo-Puritan/New Calvinism of Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church. Both situations have roots in the “emerging ministry movement” I was part of from the mid-1990s to early 2000 decade, but these two streams ended up with polar opposite paradigms.
All that to say, I come to Rev. Greenberg’s Witness Statement with a different framework to analyze and interpret with. I read her Witness Statement multiple times, as carefully as I could, to see what observations or analysis might help readers here on The Wartburg Watch expand the context.
I’m sure other points will probably emerge for me later, as I’m a slow thinker and long-form blogger, and that’s just how things work out for me. But one thing comes to mind immediately, and that is about the use of the label of “crazy.” Taking Rev. Greenberg’s statement at face value as an accurate capture of the conversation, Tony Jones’ calling his ex-wife “crazy” is really significant. I believe it ties in with the alleged “gaslighting” of her that has gone on.
Even in 2009, Julie McMahon mentioned an ongoing gaslighting campaign to label her as “crazy” in order to minimize and marginalize her experiences, her story, her voice. She was not making this up. In the September 2014 article on the nakedpastor blog – Tony Jones on Mark Driscoll: What came first, the thug or the theology? – multiple people in inner and outer circles of Emergent mentioned having heard warnings that Julie was “crazy.” Some who didn’t even know Julie apologized to her there for their having passed along that rumor.
But, to my knowledge, this incident in April of 2014 (five and a half years after he filed for divorce, and four months before the “thug or theology” post) is the first time there is a record of Tony Jones applying the label of “crazy” to his ex-wife, Julie McMahon.
This kind of labeling is a common tactic of gaslighting, which happens to be a characteristic trait of people with a clinical diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). That is a diagnosis which Tony Jones himself acknowledged having, in his public statement posted on January 27, 2015 (but which he since removed from his own website, plus from the WhyTony Scribd site and TruthAboutTony Storify site).
For more about NPD, you may want to do some reading at Out of the Fog, a site dedicated to both practical and professional information about personality disorders. From what I understand in connecting the dots from my research, Axis II Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a condition which is manageable, though not curable. Its presence in someone should call forth our compassion, but also our caution, because of the great damage to others those with NPD are capable of inflicting.
That page on NPD includes a link to a separate page on gaslighting. Though the term gaslighting originally described direct efforts by a perpetrator to make victims believe they are mentally unstable or outright insane, it has also become used to describe someone suggesting to second-hand parties that the victims are insane – which is how it becomes a gaslighting gossip campaign. When these second- and third-hand people start reacting differently to the targeted persons, or saying things to them that undermine their self-confidence, or silencing them, these proxies reinforce the primary gaslighting efforts of the perpetrator. As they pass along unsubstantiated rumors and mention actions taken out of context, it can be incredibly unsettling, even terrorizing, to the targeted persons. No surprise that victims can suffer from symptoms of anxiety or even post-traumatic stress disorder as a result …
This kind of campaign is what Julie McMahon has claimed she experienced. Rev. Greenberg’s Witness Statement seems to confirm that Tony Jones has used the term “crazy” of his ex-wife — though that doesn’t prove he started or contributed to the alleged gaslighting campaign — but, in my opinion, there is no way I can interpret his words in this context, talking with a relative stranger, as anything but derogatory and inflammatory.
I realize that words on a page do not convey the tone of voice, body language, and facial expressions that add context to the meaning of words that are spoken. However, I find labeling someone as “crazy” is reprehensible, regardless. Even if it were meant as a joke, it isn’t something to make light of, ever. And it doesn’t work to say “just kidding!” after such a malignant and suggestive seed has been implanted.
Finally, I’m reminded here of the saying of the great philosopher … okay, so it was Dana Carvey … who said, “To label me, is to ignore me.” “Crazy” is a label that no Christian leader should use, and I hope Tony Jones, his friends, and his advocates won’t ignore Rev. Greenberg’s Witness Statement and its serious implications about leadership qualifications.
Don’t hold your breath. Glitterati (channeling Gram3) are glitterati, it don’t make a dime’s worth o’ difference which side of the aisle they hail from.
Muff Potter wrote:
If only people from all points of view could just realize the truth of what you have said… I detest tribal thinking which really isn’t thinking. And double standards which aren’t standards.
I wish that I had some reasonable hope that this would make a positive difference in the understanding of some people who refuse to look at the big picture and the evidence and what they claim to be about.
I commend the courage of Rev. Greenberg to break the code of silence. That is not an easy decision and I suspect there are or will be personal costs for taking her stand.
yes, there are, i’m sure, repercussions already, because that’s what happens to whistleblowers.
i am still a bit stunned by the contents of her statement; too much so to be able to comment, beyond saying that i am horrified, and that the reasons for the fears she expresses are all too real.
I don’t think I’ve ever asked someone I’ve just met whether they plan to have more children. That in itself is creepy to me, but I’m from an era with different ideas of propriety. Then to follow up with the whole crazy ex-wife story and whatever was necessary to redact is beyond weird and I might not be inclined to believe it if I had not seen NPD in action.
I join the Deebs in their prayer that some mature people will come alongside the adults involved and do what is best for the children and for the name of Christ.
Yes, stunned and also I had that same sick feeling I’ve had in other circumstances. And the feeling of helplessness to do anything.
Elizabeth Lee wrote:
That. Exactly that. And months before the naked pastor thread that stirred shit up. Apropos of nothing.
Muff Potter wrote:
It’s like “The Code of Blue” cited by ToJo (and Bob Greiner).
it is also something that comes up in (semi-)normal conversations in some parts of the country, but not in others, along with inquiries about kids. (Because people assume that you have them, whether you actually do or not.)
I have run into the latter, and it was awkward for me at the time – also awkward for the people who asked, after they realized that it threw me. No harm was intended; it is a normal mode of small talk in these places, but it blindsided me. (At a time when I was wanting children but not married, had no prospects, and was grieving over both, as time was rapidly slipping past me.)
Does this include many Christian divorces too? It seems something totally inappropriate for an alleged *Christian* to say, much less a prominent one that some people somehow still respect.
She did say that she didn’t feel comfortable being alone with him anymore, and that says something.
@ Muff Potter:
Well said, Muff. Your statement needs to be broadcast all over the Christian world. I noted that Rachel Evans book on a Year of Living Biblically noted that “publishers will pay for this kind of thing as long as it’s marketable”.Sadly, most humans are not immune to fame and fortune. Principles go out the window.
Successful abusers don’t just “groom” their victims to accept the abuse. They also groom third parties (especially those in authority) as allies and accomplices.
After hearing all of this, I keep wishing *I* was an NPD/Sociopath/Abuser like ToJo — a Win-Every-Time WINNER instead of a Loser.
“But such is the lure of the Limelight, how quickly
It takes hold of the mind of its host;
And that foolish Pony did nothing to stop
The destruction of one who had needed her most…”
— Ponyphonic, “Lullaby for a Princess”
We must be from the same neck of the woods in terms of upbringing. I am appalled at the very personal questions people often feel free to ask that have nothing whatever to do with the current topic, situation or circumstances of their conversation.
As to the NPD diagnosis, that is one thing Julie has going for her (Even if it does not feel like it) if people are willing to do their homework. Those sorts of evaluations are very hard to get.
Without it, it can take many hard years to nail down patterns of behaviors/track lies, (which is a full time job with an NPD) etc…. and in the meantime, the victim is simply hung out to dry. There is simply no category for it all unless you know what you are dealing with.
His saying that to a person he has just met is very typical. NPD’s can be very bold. And because they can be bold with the accroutrements of credibility (professinal credentials, position, many admirers) most people do not connect the dots. As in, “Surely someone in that position so well respected is not serious”. You might think: It is still a creepy thing to say but they must be joking and I really don’t know them well enough yet to make a judgement.
The NPD has planted his victim status poison seed using his power and position. That was his goal.
When we add this documented report to the comments from people on Nakedpastor (and other places) who said they were told the same thing by some in the progressive inner circle, we see a pattern. But look at how many years and all the damage done it took to get there. That is what always breaks my heart.
It’s also interesting to me that this conversation happened in April of last year. The NP Thugology thread was in September if I remember correctly. This means Tony was activity continuing his verbal and emotional abuse of Julie McMahon right up until she tried to speak out on Haywards blog.
If she hadn’t spoken, and hadn’t been given space, then it’s fair bet that he would still be at it today.
Abusers will abuse until someone (or someones) finally says “no” loud enough.
Sergius Martin-George wrote:
It’s a public event that gets him onstage as a Celebrity(TM).
SEE HIS FACE! HEAR HIS VOICE!
This is not too surprising, but it should be of great help in achieving justice. Anyone can make a one-off accusation and people can perhaps justifiably choose to believe it or not, but when enough corroborating evidence and testimony comes in to begin establishing a pattern of behavior it is much less difficult to make excuses for these people. That is a good thing.
I once left a ministry I was working for when I was able to establish the truth of an accusation by confirming from several independent sources that the sort of behavior I was being told about had been repeated over a long time and either overlooked or actively encouraged by numerous managers, including the president of the organization. I walked away from a good salary and never looked back. I’ve never regretted it.
Thank God for people who speak up and speak the truth.
The targeted person often does not even know what is really going on for a long time. All they know is people are avoiding them and treating them differently. Rare is the person who will come to them and say, this is what I heard or what I was told. Tell me your side of things or what you think is going on. That is almost unheard of in Christendom anymore. And innocent people are ruined because most people are told it is gossip to do so.
Or they get sneakier so they won’t get caught.
Plausible Deniability, camouflage-as-humor, working through manipulated third parties…
The only thing I object to in this post is the redaction of something Mr. NPD said, “for the sake of the childre .” I’ve spent waaaaay more time around NPDs than I ever wanted to, so it wasn’t hard for me to figure out what he said, in context. 🙁 Children of NPDs should know the truth about their parents. Especially children old enough to do internet searches. I really, really understand the Deebs motivation here, but I guarantee this has been said in the child’s hearing. Multiple times. 🙁 Ask me how I know. 🙁
YES!! And in many cases, that’s only by going no-contact.
yes, I agree.
I totally agree with you about children being informed about an NPD parent with appropriate amount of information for their age. However, my guess is that the redaction is a legal matter. While Julie tells her side of the story, she has to be very careful about alienation issues that WILL be used agaisnt her even with a diagnosis of NPD. Just take a look at how the court will insist on parental third party visits with a consistent abuser. Why on earth is a relationship with a consistent abuser a good thing for a child? Even if the abuser does not show up, the other parent must make the effort each time it is scheduled. The courts go out of their way in favor of such types.
You would think some judge at this point of the continuous litigation would take a look at that and the NPD diagnosis and say, “enough with the motions”. But that is not how it usually works. The one with money and a good lawyer will get their day in court.
And the person being talked about or shunned is supposedly divisive if they say anything, but the powers are supposedly building unity in the church by spreading false information about the “divisive” person and encouraging or ordering others to shun the “divisive” person. If it were not for the pain to real people and the damage to the name of Christ, these situations would be comical.
They are not, IMO, really concerned about unity in the body as they are about maintaining the status quo and conformity to their rule. I’m not saying that there are not destructive pewpeons or interest groups within the pewpeons who try to destroy good pastors. Because I’ve seen that, too. It just seems that the idea of authoritarianism as a good thing in itself is something a bit new, though control-freaks will find a way regardless.
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
And what that looked like in my “situation” is highly select insider third parties who made concerned inquiries about my welfare to other people.
Narcissism is a scary thing. If my former pastor (not at CLC) could be evaluated, my friends and I think he would qualify for this diagnosis. For some reason lately, four years after my screaming match with him on the phone, I have started having flashbacks of things he said and did and what red flags they were. Maybe I’m starting to finally process and heal from that experience? It’s very bizarre, though. One example was a conversation, with a bunch of us ladies, asking how women struggle with pornography and lust. He wouldn’t let it go, even though we weren’t really answering him because we didn’t really struggle. Gave me the heebee jeebees when I suddenly recalled that one.
I am a home health nurse, and in my many years of working in Middle Tennessee, this was very frequently a question asked of me, often in the first visit with a patient, when we were essentially strangers. I was never too bothered by it, though I did sometimes find myself talking about my difficulty conceiving, and why I didn’t yet have children after many years of marriage, and when I think about it, that’s sort of an odd topic to talk about with someone you just met. (Of course, we nurses are often comfortable talking about subjects that make others queasy!) Mostly, though, this kind of question was asked of me by an elderly person, who genuinely seemed interested in knowing more about me. I don’t know how I’d feel if a younger male asked me that question, especially when it’s accompanied by derogatory comments about his ex-wife.
Yep. That one is a “church” classic. And it is often a guise to get information and look “nice” at the same time. And often those sorts of things were asked of me about others that felt strange considering the circumstances. I finally learned to say, you know I think I have their number if you want to get in touch. That usually ended the constant inquiries.
Found a great article in a very strange place on kindness vs niceness a while back that was eye opening but made total sense based upon my experience:
That brings up something I have been thinking about. I agree that this idea of authoritarianism is something a bit new in a general way. (Not that it did not exist it was just not so massively accepted as it is today). Why is it so generally accepted in both church and the larger culture? That is where I think we really need to focus more discussion and education.
Former CLC’er wrote:
Yes, this is usually where the healing begins. <3 Congratulations/I'm sorry. <3
@ Former CLC’er:
When I started healing from my experience w/ personality disordered people, THE FIRST thing that happened were flashbacks. I likened it to someone flipping open a picture book of my life–without asking me–and re-labeling tons of experiences as “abusive.” It was scary, but it was the beginning of learning a new language. A language of healing.
I don’t know, obviously, but I have certainly thought about it a lot way before this issue ever came up. At the same time that we have more top-down direction we have also seen trends of decreasing self-governance. I cannot describe what a public high school in a suburban are is like these days. Chaos and confusion is the norm. If the elites think that the peons cannot govern themselves (or alternatively if the elites are sure that the opposing elites are responsible for such chaos), then the elites will impose control from the top. Because they know what is best. I don’t think it particularly matters what color jersey the elites are wearing (as we have seen here at TWW) or whether they are church elites or secular elites.
I support more self-governance and less outside governance. I support more speech rather than less and more information rather than less. I support human rights and liberties which should be compromised only with very good reason. I believe in logical consequences which is something which helps to develop self-governance and personal responsibility. These are ideas which are enculturated, so I’m not sure what the answer is.
There was a book, I believe by a sociologist, a long time ago regarding inner-direction and other-direction. I see a lot of other-direction of various sorts. That’s why I call the current fanboys/fangirls of various kinds Kardashian Kristians. They take their cues from others they admire or aspire to emulate rather than from Christ. ISTM that is what is going on in popular culture as well. I don’t have any answers, but just thinking out loud…
Just an ignorant guess, but the redacted part may read like , “especially since I (didn’t want children) in the first place.” If this was the case, surely the kids have picked this up long ago. However this would it not reflect on the child, but on the callousness of the parent. Again, I have no inside knowledge, just a guess based on the sentence structure. Whatever the case, I pray the children have been exposed to unconditional love by the important adults in their life.
I believe the statement from Rev. Monica. Julie has been chastised for saying things in public. This shows that perhaps both sides have indulged in this.
I believe that both sides now have people who love and support them. It is time to consider another, more peaceful way. Call me naive but I think it is possible. I see a place in which a number of dear friends for Julie and a number of dear friends of Tony gather together, surrounding them in love and prayer and within that setting of sharing peace, find a way.
I really try not to be disingenuous. I have sought to send a message to Tony and even shared my personal cell number, something I rarely do. I care. I have hope. I am praying.
Perhaps you are not familiar with the laws in the US? So long as one believes the statement to be true, one may speak about what they believe.
Also, I learned something in my first week of my MBA program. Instead of assuming that a company has thought about everything that a first year mBA students has thought of, why might what they are doing make sense? You can assume I have considered these possibilities.
You are the king of information! Thank you.
Thank you for standing up for truth. Sometimes it can be difficult but I believe that we are called to seek truth and encourage peace.
Think about this from my vantage point. What do I gain for being involved in the situation? More readership is not a goal since I am a person that loves personal contact with readers. Too many readers limits my personal connection, something that I do not like. I do not take advertisements nor do we participate in any program like Amazon that would bring me even a small amount of money. Money wise- this blog is a net loss but love wise it is invaluable.
I despise being interviewed on TV and radio and now will only do it if it involves standing against child sex abuse. I was asked by a reporter to give him the name of my church when they contacted me about Steven Furtick. I refused to do so. I want my privacy. He said that his readers “deserved to know.” I said that I couldn’t care less if my interview didn’t get printed. I really didn’t care.
We stick our necks out for unpopular causes and get chastised on a regular basis. You should hear some of the hang up calls. We were threatened one time because we spoke about a naturopath that we thought was behaving in a less than truthful manner.
I get a stomach ache when I have to talk to someone who is well known, call a church to ask about abuse or talk with DAs, etc. but I do it. I prefer to spend my time around people who have been hurt by churches.Perfect “know it all” people and church leaders bore me to death.
The reason we do this is because we care about hurting people. We understand what it is like to be let down by a church. We want to be a support and let people know that we do not do this for any other reason than love.
Gram, something I learned growing up with an NPD is that Concern(TM) is the Mark of the Sociopath.
Dee, You and Deb have proven time after time that you have a passion for the voiceless and victims of abuse. Please do not feel you have to defend yourselves. Your regular readers have seen over the years the consistency of your stance against abuse. You do not seek applause for your work and have to be strong against trolls who try to derail your purpose. I for one want to thank you for your hard work. Do not be discouraged!!!
Greenberg’s witness statement is far more attested than the statement by a woman in 2013 to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s private Facebook. In it, the woman claimed she had heard the wife of Judge G. Murray Snow, who has been hearing a highly contentious civil rights case against the MCSO since 2007, say that Judge Snow wanted to get Arpaio out of office any way possible. Oh yeah, and this was sometime in 2012, so nearly a year before.
Go read this non-detailed accusation (that I believe never happened) and then realize this spurred a MCSO investigation, was part of the questioning Arpaio underwent last week during his civil contempt hearing and is a major part of motions filed this week. Because Arpaio’s attorney is concerned that this might lead to criminal contempt charges. By comparison, the statement from Greenberg has tons of detail–dates, times, whens, wheres…
And for those who think this needs to be swept back in the courts, it’s way too late for that. And, I’m convinced this call for it to be confined to the legal system is a way of harming Julie McMahon, because she does not have the legal firepower her husband has been able to command in court.
“R U A Woman Of Faith?”
Yes Lord, Yes Lord, Amen?
I can and will tell you how impressed I am with the integrity of you and Deb. You have, to once again steal Bruce Cockburn’s line, “…kicked at the darkness ’til it bleeds daylight.”
Please loose the chains of injustice that would bind Julie, untie the cords of the yoke upon her neck and set dis lit’l oppressed gal free !
In Jesus’ Name!
Love that song! Thanks, Sopwith!
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
You have a view from this from the inside, and I can’t imagine what that was like, especially as a vulnerable child. Not having an advocate or anyone who understood. I’ve only observed NPD from the outside. It has occurred to me that at least some of the highly manipulative behavior we have observed by former church leadership is due to some personality disorder or something like that.
Regardless of that, I’m glad that you have some insight and understanding about what you went through, and I hope you have some people who validate that in real life.
“With Eagles Wings?”
Dis one is 4 U…
Kaitlyn Maher sings, “Above All”
love cus He does…
Open De Eyes OF Ma Heart, Lord…
I want ta sèê U.
Bill Kinnon wrote:
I second that, Bill! Nicely said. From the bottom of my heart, Dee (and Deb too),
thanks for all that you do for people who have been hurt by churches! You are able to help people of the wounds inflicted on them by churches. And that is no small thing. Bless you ladies!
Former CLC’er wrote:
Just wanted to say that I have/am experiencing similar. I worked for a boss in a megachurch who I am pretty sure would also qualify. I’ve read extensively about NPD and he had all the symptoms, particularly flying into a rage if I questioned or criticized him at all. In the end, he was either asked to resign/quit depending on who you talk to, and fired me around the same time. I think he thought I would expose something but I have yet to figure out what dirt he thought I had on him.
I was devastated at the time, processed the loss of the job/social circle/friends/purpose, found a new job, built a new life, and am happy. Now, 3-4 years out, it’s still coming back and I’m angrier than ever. I think I’m realizing how unhealthy so much of it was. I realized this at the time but I keep circling back around and realizing it more deeply.
I wish you the best as you continue to work through your own aftermath.
Thanks for the encouraging comments. I never had flashbacks that I remember from CLC, but I also kept myself distant from leadership there. The journey continues…
Oh wow! Precious…just precious
Bill Kinnon wrote:
Love that line. Thank you for your kind words. It beats being called a daughter of Stan (sic) although the latter does make me giggle. You are not so bad yourself even though we are cuter!!!
Thank you. Its worth it because we get to know great people like you all. Life is far richer for it.
Let us know if you ever want us to tell your story!
Because legal firepower costs $$$$$$$$$$.
Whoever spends the most on his shyster wins.
And Tony has unlimited $$$$$$$$ — “TITHE! TITHE! TITHE!”
Kudos to Greenberg. I just wish her coming forward wasn’t so exceptional. She earned my respect and now I wonder how her colleagues will treat her, unfortunately I’m not hopeful.
Honestly, this was very much my own reaction to this. That his conversation started out with this is a big, big red flag. And then to go rattling on about killing his former wife adds to the creepiness of TJ’s display…….It sounds as though NPD may not be the only thing radically wrong with this guy.
I think most of us who have been “accused” of being in Julie’s camp would be more than happy if Tony’s friends would become true friends to him and help him deal with his NPD — no longer ignoring Tony’s actually diagnosed disorder that hurts other people and himself. (To give credit where it’s due, this is from a conversation with Brad and it is mostly his wisdom.)
@ Bill Kinnon:
I agree with you, Bill. The camp that surrounds Tony includes many leaders of the Emergent/Progressive movement. As an outsider looking in, I would think that they might use some of their thinking that led to their unique approaches to doing church and let that thinking guide them to unique ways to resolve this situation.
The argument that this shouldn’t be discussed in public moot at this point. That horse left the gate a long time ago. Tony, as well as Julie, have demonstrated that they now wish to discuss their difficulties in public.
I say “If you want peace, make peace.” It will require an enormous amount of humility to do this but I believe that it can be done. If not, Tony will look like just another pastor who could not use his leadership and creativity to straighten out his now life. That will make this movement look like just another ho-hum, tedious blah permutation that offers nothing except clever church services.
I want to see leaders who are willing to lead by being servants and that is what this is going to take. We do not need another book, we need a servant life willing to stun the world with sacrifice.
Thank you all for your willingness to discuss this situation in a thoughtful manner. It was hard to post this knowing that I would be away for much of the discussion. I will be checking in later today.
May God bless this discussion. I am praying for peace.
Yes, this. I’m willing. Thank you for allowing space. dee wrote:
I’m confused. Why would Greenberg fear for herself but not for Julie M? That makes little sense to me unless Tony made a threatening gesture, which is not mentioned by her.
Godith, I suspect she’s heard about the backlash that people who stand with Julie have been facing. I know David Hayward has mentioned on his website a few times that there has been intense pressure to take comments and posts down. I believe he mentioned that pressure often comes in the form of litigation threats.
KT Pridgen wrote:
JUST LIKE SCIENTOLOGY!
Fair Game Law LRH Declared from Flag.
But as for now, they invoke their own Code of Blue.
@ KT Pridgen:
But she didn’t know anything about that stuff until after the conference when she checked the internet.
I think thst what he said is pretty frightening. I’d have been very dhaken by it, I know.
Oh, gotcha. She says she felt unsafe around Tony during the conference (“Upon further reflection, I decided that I did not, personally, feel safe in his presence and, for the remainder of the conference, avoided being alone with him while still remaining friendly in my interactions with him.”) I know I sometimes feel unsafe or ill-at-ease around people, even if they haven’t made an overt threat. It’s a sense that they are just not good folks to get involved with. I think his statement about wanting to murder Julie is more than enough for her to explain her not feeling safe around him.
She doesn’t mention actually fearing for herself until releasing the statement– so after she had seen everything online (“Although I remain fearful for myself, I decided that my concern for Ms. McMahon’s safety and well-being was a higher priority, so on April 23, 2015, I contacted Ms. McMahon by phone to offer her this testimony to use as needed.”). At this point, she is likely not just anxious around him but fearful of retribution.
That’s my reading of it, anyway. I hope that helped explain it a bit.
She might be afraid for herself because she heard the comment, and if then anything should happen to Julie and Tony be implicated he sure would not want Greenberg to testify to what he had said. One way to get that out of the way is to go public in the first place. Nobody now has any reason to worry about what she might say, seeing that she has already said it to the whole world, more or less.
When somebody worries about what you may know and what you may do with that knowledge you are in an untenable position.
If you’ve spent even a modest amount of time reading Jones’s blog, you’ll see that he routinely initiates exchanges as a means of turning the conversation toward his agenda. While this habit may not seem terribly strange in the context of a blog (since a large part of that medium involves discussing one’s views in relation to the views of others), Jones’s tendency is not to converse as much as talk about himself to the exclusion of the topic at hand.
Rev. Greenberg’s encounter with him is an extreme example of this tendency in Jones. However, there are a handful of similar accounts of Jones making outrageously inappropriate statements when outside the public eye. It’s a common trait in narcissists to be so wrapped up in themselves that they effectively abandon any sort of self-imposed filter when expressing inner thoughts since they are generally incapable of separating their view of others from their view of themselves, and as a result they assume that others exist to serve their need to express their displeasure with whatever situation they are currently facing. It never occurs to them to consider how such statements may affect those to whom they’re speaking. The only consideration is their pathological need to satisfy their own impulses and reinforce their self-image of the long-suffering, tragic victim. Unfortunately, in cases of NPDs who aren’t actively managing their disorder with the aid of a competent professional, this self-image also tends to allow them to justify actions which go beyond the verbal. It’s in this context that we see what might otherwise be taken as an off-the-cuff remark as the very real threat to the safety of others that it is.
Make no mistake. Greenberg was right to feel the threat in Jones’s statement went beyond inappropriate expression of frustrations. It’s entirely understandable that she would experience fear in the face of it, and it’s equally understandable that she would be uncertain what she should do in response to his statement. She quite reasonably didn’t immediately fear for Julie’s safety because she was unaware at that time of the context of Jones’s threat, and she was likewise unaware of his diagnosis (now publicly acknowledged by Jones) of narcissistic personality disorder. Having since learned of that diagnosis and the history of abuse by Jones, she was fully justified in reaching out to Julie in order to warn her of what can only be considered a credible threat, as well as in going on the record regarding what he said to her.
A common tactic of abusers is to present a public image as a good guy while carrying on with abusive behavior in private. It’s one thing which enables effective gaslighting and public silencing. The broader public sees only the side of the abuser which he permits them to see, and as a result when his victim musters the courage to tell her story we see an inevitable outcry against the victim. This is a cultivated response which is then encouraged by the abuser and his enablers, and the only effective counter to it is for people, such as Greenberg, who have witnessed a relatively rare glimpse of the person behind the public image to speak out about what they’ve seen. It takes tremendous courage and the will to act against self-interest to do so, and we should give full credit when it happens. Silence, in these cases, is complicity whether or not it ever becomes known publicly.
That was a great explanation of a lot of different things. I haven’t read Jones’ blog except excerpts here and elsewhere, and I imagine that would give context to this behavior which is otherwise just plain weird and creepy IMO.
The helpful way you describe gaslighting and grooming is what I’ve seen, but perhaps others reading have not.
Also, it is very courageous of Rev. Greenberg to publish this, and I hope that getting this information out there will prompt some people close to Tony to start to think through what they are supporting and to consider that they are not being faithful friends to him.
Your last sentence bears repeating: “Silence, in these cases, is complicity whether or not it ever becomes known publicly.”
I’m not hopeful that this could occur. It would be an unequivocal good if it did, but having seen the tenacity with which the people surrounding him insist upon defending and enabling Jones, I’m not holding my breath. You are without doubt correct that his supporters are failing him as friends, but they’re seemingly too busy reaping the rewards (not the least of which are financial) of being connected to him. Confronting him at this point would be killing the goose which lays the golden eggs, as it were, and they would then be left to stand or fall solely on their own merits and devices. Before they can help Jones remove the log from his eye, they’ll first have to remove the veritable forest which resides firmly in their own. I simply don’t find it likely that they’re willing to engage in the sort of self-reflection necessary to own and correct their own complicity, and that must happen before they could ever hope to support any degree of recovery in Jones.
Nonetheless, thank you for your kind words. I’m glad I was able to help you bring together a clearer understanding of the dynamics involved in this mess.
I could have written that paragraph word-for-word except for “Jones” about another “situation” where I had hope. And where Gramp3 and I tried to bring clarity. I think it will take something truly catastrophic which cannot be ignored or denied before some people find their insight and/or their courage. Said that about Mars Hill right before the stuff came out about plagiarism and all that followed, all while having no clue what was about to be revealed. It’s not that I’m a prophet but just an observer of the way things are.
I’ve had my own episodes of loggy vision, so I get that, too.
@ Bill Kinnon:
Bill, its like CJ Mahaney. Is Mark Dever, John Piper, Kevin DeYoung and others really being Mahaney’s friend by enabling him? Are they helping him or are they hurting him? Its similar…it really is.
Ragnarok, thank you for your clear picture of the NPD.
You mentioned that there were a handful of accounts of Jones “making outrageously inappropriate statements when outside the public eye.” Do you have any sources?
Wow! Yeah Tony Jones is a very bitter person, and until he learns unconditional love and forgiveness, he just needs to retreat, and leave the public forum and stage. If he feels his wife has “railroaded” him, and he is bad mouthing her in the public eye after two years! He definitely needs to leave the ministry, since he can no longer be of help to others in that kind of bitter condition.
In the current situation, the issue is not whether Tony would kill Julie. In a sense, assuming that he has lied about her and sought to damage her reputation and gaslight her, which in my opinion seems evident, he already symbolically has killed her. Defaming someone, gaslighting them, destroying their relationships with friends, is just the coward’s way of killing.
You are correct, my friend. Same song, different singers.
“To Know Jesus, Is To…”
Being directly contradicted by God’s Word in many of its passages, its clear that Tony Jones, as a ‘faithful minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ’, is in serious error.
His words just don’t add up.
Found in the balance wanting?
That he may be seriously ill and do harm to other human beings, presently brings great alarm and concern.
Guys like this in church business is monkey business?
‘Emergent’ 501(c)3 ‘church’ business as usual?
“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.
—> Whoever says “I know Him” but does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,
but whoever keeps His word, in him truly the love of God is perfected.” (1 John 2:1–5)
isn’ that somethin…
Peter Rollins has come to Tony Jones defence with a rather odd post, “Thank God I’m not like them: On Shaming People’s Defenses as a Defense”. Obviously his graduate degree wasn’t in logic.
How does one be a good friend to someone with NPD? Don’t they just bin you if you try?
It is now obvious that some of the prominent members of Tony’s author/blogger cohort have chosen to address outcry over his bad behavior via passive-aggressive blogging and tweeting about internet shaming. This tells me a) they do not feel they can credibly defend him as not guilty of the allegations leveled at him, b) they have no f*cks to give about the people he has harmed or the people he will harm, c) they think this is a game that requires a strategy.
It was suggested oven on Open Forum that I post this on this thread. I hope it’s not too off topic:
May I humbly offer one perspective for readers/users/members of this site. One quibble I have with the terminology used here, and elsewhere, is “progressive/emergent.” As a 70+ year old christian progressive, I do not identify with the emergent tribe at all. Most emergents are evangelical. I’m a “christian universalist” (many paths lead to reconciliation, closeness and a deeper understanding with our creator God). I’ve mainly discarded atonement theories and have embraced a concept of a loving, benevolent God, not a punitive God. There are issues that we progressive christian embrace that many (most?) evangelical/emergent christians have trouble with. Emergent I am not. Anyway, just wanted to get that off my chest. Thanks. Peace.
That’s something incongruous about the hope expressed above that I noticed as well. Of course they will bin you unless they can extract something they want out of you, narcissistic supply. People who think otherwise simply don’t understand NPD or sociopathy. They cannot by definition have empathy for you. They might, by exercise of will or self interest, choose not to hurt you. But in their being, it feels all the same, kill you, defame you, help you. It’s like trying to teach quantum mechanics to a house cat, it just isn’t there.
Which is itself a sign of the NPD mind.
I hear you. the main reason that people are saying progressive and emergent in the same breath is that Jones’ defenders wre in those camps, and they are extremely vocal.
That’s the problem with categories and labels – that some people and things really don’t fit the sterotype, or the pigeonhole. The problem here is that a habdful of people who have influence and power are takling REALLY loud, both to defend Jones and vilify and discredit Julie McMahon.
You can try to be a friend to an NPD, but an NPD doesn’t have friends, only resources to be sucked dry and discarded.
Hello RollieB, I think the issue of terminology is one I can respond to, at least in part.
I get it that you, being a longer-time “progressive,” might not like the term “Emergent/Progressive,” and may find their brand of “progressive” thinking doesn’t represent you.
I have been using the term “Emergent/Progressive” in this entire situation, because for me, it describes both the source (Emergent Village and what many have been calling “Emergence Christianity”) and the general theological perspective (progressive). Also, it is a label which leaders within that movement have themselves used on occasion. For instance, if I remember correctly, if you read the WayBack Machine archives on the *CANA Initiative* and the *Convergence US* websites, you are likely to find the term used there. (It may also substitute “emergence” for “Emergent” at times.)
A similar terminology problem has come up with a polar opposite movement that came out of the same post-evangelical primordial soup of the mid-1990s, and that is what has been termed “New Calvinism” or “Neo-Calvinism” — by its own insiders. However, people from older, more established theological and denominational traditions similarly critique these post-evangelical label-interlopers as not really so Reformed and/or Calvinist. Some would place their theology as Neo-Puritan.
So, I try to be precise, and also use the labels groups or organizations apply to themselves. So, if I’m writing about the contemporary “Emergent/Progressive Movement,” it gets confusing to call it just “progressive” or “liberal” because those terms may have overlaps in theology but not in their history, and vice versa.
I can understand it’s vexatious, but there’s the situation as I see it, for what it’s worth.
Successful abusers don’t just groom their victims.
In the event that Rev. Greenberg receives lawsuit threats from the Emergent crowd’s lawyers, just as David Hayward in Canada received them at The Naked Pastor, here are the actions I suggest you follow:
1. Do not respond to the attorney(s); and
2. DO file ethics charges against ANY attorney(s) that threaten you with the State Bar. While attorney(s) can be bluff and bravado, they all cower when they know that their State Bar is going to get involved and that a complaint was lodged against their law license. It works like a charm each and every time and gets them to back off and never contact you again. If they contact you again, just lodge another ethics charge against them with their State Bar. Try it! (I have a background working in law.)
Bill Kinnon wrote:
Wow, what a pompous specious post!
I wonder if Peter simply regurgitated what TJ has told him about narcissism? “Narcissism is a defense mechanism like any other.” w00t
Here’s the deal: Tony Jones is NOT a victim of ANYTHING. The guy went to Princeton University and he knows exactly what he’s doing. Why does Tony Jones behave badly? Because he wants to!
Peter Rollins should put his money where his mouth is and give Tony Jones’ ex-wife Julie $500,000 (her inheritance from her father that she spent on Tony’s endless lawsuits against her). Peter should probably give Julie a couple of million dollars if he was really going to ‘man up’. But I forgot, there isn’t a single ‘real man’ around Tony Jones. Jones’ isn’t a ‘real man’ and neither are the males/boys around him (Doug Pagitt, Brian McLaren, Peter Rollins and a host of other non-men).
Those males are all FAILURES.
d) they aren’t REAL MEN! Real men DEFEND and PROTECT women and children and are PROUD to do so. REAL MEN are ASHAMED to do less.
There isn’t a REAL MAN in the bunch…NOT Tony Jones, NOT Doug Pagitt, NOT Brian McLaren, NOT Peter Rollins: FAILURES ONE AND ALL. Just LOSERS! They should just admit, “I [fill in the LOSER’S name] am NOT a Real Man. I am a failure. I will step-aside and let the REAL MEN handle this.”
Welcome to The Wartburg Watch RollieB. I too am one of those rogue anomalies that can’t be catalogued, labeled, or pigeon-holed. You’re in good company!
FWIW, I know several people who’ve gone to the Ivies and two of them are dumb as stumps about anything outside their field of study, and only one of them is self-aware in the way that can lead to wisdom.
Yah, in his own mind, Tony is a victim, and Peter obediently delivers that message for him. But Tony is a victim OF his own mind. For his own sake, he needs lifetime accountability, and for society’s sake, he needs strong social limits.
I think we should take seriously his spoken desire to murder his wife. It might be similar to taking seriously those who say they want to commit suicide.
Re Peter Rollins, IMO he is far too verbose for his content. And at least in this particular post, he knows much less than he thinks he does. But he does have great hair. 😉
Muff Potter wrote:
Absolutely. Actually, I think Rogue Anomaly would be a euphemism in my case. One thing’s for sure, I learn lots of new things every single day here from some very interesting people.
@ Bill Kinnon:
That was…very strange reasoning, as you said. I don’t know where he fits into the overall picture of this neighborhood of the church or why he would write that, so not quite sure what to make of it or really how it helps Jones’ case if that was the purpose.
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
Oh, is that ever true! Gramp3 and I have both been attempted-groomees. We were taken in much more by the last suspected narcissist (no diagnosis AFAIK) who was very subtle and indirect. The one we know who is diagnosed is charming but pretty transparent.
I am disgusted by Christians when they handle conflict in this way (and they do it far too often). It helps them feel certain, strong, and separate, but without the necessary risks of courage and humility. It’s a mix of anger and cowardice.
All the elements that make gossip destructive are put to work. Blech.
Mark Driscoll was guest speaker at something called Thrive Conference.
“Mark Driscoll to Make Rare Public Appearance at Evangelical Leadership Conference”
“Driscoll … will reportedly resurface for the first time at the annual Thrive Leadership Conference held at California’s Bayside megachurch.”
I found the statement about murder truly alarming.
You know, “Bayside” is also the name of a cult.
(As in “Our Lady of Bayside”, a Mary-channeling flakeout.)
“Tidies and fugleman–I sheel foor that we all–er–most steeply rebut the defensible, though, I trust, lavatory, Aspasia which gleams to have selected our redeemed inspector this deceiving. It would–ah–be shark, very shark, from anyone’s debenture . . . .”
“A nudnik is an idiot.
A Phudnik is a nudnik with a PhD.”
— Every Goy’s Guide to Common Yiddish Expressions
Bill Kinnon wrote:
Except Tony doesn’t have the HUMBLE(TM) chuckles.
Like David Letterman did when he was being blackmailed about a sex scandal in his past. He went public with the whole story on live TV, and since blackmail depends on exposing a deep dark secret, once it’s no longer a secret…
NPD sounds like an excuse to continue living in ‘sin’…. In otherwords a bandaide to a true cancer.
Men can and do become abusive when they believe a wife should perform a certain way when he never provided the proper circumstances where she could be comfortable in that situation….. this comes back to the ‘patriarchical movement’ Women who stay in abusive marriages despite being treated like she is ‘trash’ rather than a treasure.
He thinks because he has a PhD in philosophy with some study of psychoanalysis (more than likely at an undergrad level in the 90’s) and can spell Freud that we should trust him to speak authoritatively on the diagnosis of narcissism. As I have commented elsewhere, when I read Rollins I hear John Cleese playing an upper class twit… but with an Irish accent.
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
Oh that brings back by childhood! Love that word. I’m not sure why Yiddish so perfectly captures some thoughts for me, but maybe because I heard it a lot.
@ Headless Unicorn Guy:
Professor Irwin, is that you?
Bill Kinnon wrote:
🙂 When I left academia in 2002, there was still a subset who saw psychoanalysis as the be-all/end-all. They derided the ICD and DSM as gauche technical manuals. (The tomes have problems, sure.) And yeah, none of this subset taught psychology but were in the humanities and arts.
Freud was a pioneer, and he also was misogynistic and ended up dismissing much domestic/child abuse due to academic/wealth pressure. Plus, he didn’t do much study of social structures beyond the parents/child. These weaknesses remain with those who continue to idolize his work.
Thus the nasty bits slide down through time, even to a person named Peter Rollins, inadequately taught by dabbling “continental” philosophers. I like how he also tenderly dropped Lacan’s name.
(I’d earlier mentioned Rollin’s hair but just now saw a recent photo of him and he is balding. I didn’t know that, and want to make clear that I was not mocking him for that. I like it when people have fun with silly things like hair styles.)
Bill Kinnon wrote:
Not to mention that what was considered neuroses back then, in a general way, has morphed into something totally different. As Niles Crane, A Jungian, put it when radio subbing for brother Frasier: We won’t be blaming mother today. :o)
Yes, it could backfire. Here we have a private conversation between the Reverend and Mr. Jones. No other person was involved in the conversation or may have even known the two were having lunch together. The statement may be 100% accurate, but I don’t see a need for a private conversation to be made public to the entire world by broadcasting it on the internet. It certainly appears, at least to me, that the purpose could be interpreted by some as a character assassination or an attempt at shaming.
Yah, thank God that’s over!
But a modified form of psychoanalysis, psychodynamic therapy, is helpful for healing from childhood abuse. My wise therapist used it to help me establish a sturdy foundation, after which cognitive/behavioral commenced as needed.
It’s hilarious that Freud’s work turns out to be most helpful for precisely those who he couldn’t bear to face directly and as peers. (He called women with PTSD hysterical.) I love it when it works out that way 🙂
Psychoanalysis is downright destructive for many people—-cf how it didn’t help that stereotype of stereotype, Woody Allen. It is damaging for NPD and BPD persons. From what I’ve read between the lines, and from how Peter Rollins writes in his recent post, it appears that’s what Tony is getting when he’s at therapist. Oy
You really believe that a threat against a third party’s life should be kept a quiet matter between the two in the conversation?
I think the threat should have been immediately reported to the police and the third party for their protection. The Rev. mentioned that she was fearful to be around Tony Jones after her conversation. It would have been better if she would have reported the incident right away.
Why is your first reaction to not believe what the Rev. is saying?
Oh, I totally agree. I was speaking in generalities, ie, ‘ boys are in love with their mother’ and just having a bit of fun. There is much to consider what people were taught as “normality” in childhood dysfunctional/abusive families.
Oh my! If only more Christians would not engage in such private convos and when blindsided with such declarations as was this woman, make them public. Most abuse, greed, power plays and perhaps even prevention of crimes could be averted. Abusers rely on secrecy. You are simply engaging in the age old tactic of “shoot the messenger”.
I would be more than creeped out being around someone I had just met who is a minor celebrity Christian saying something like that to me privately. What a position to be in! Who would believe you heard that right unless there wad some pattern of behavior to measure it against? And that is what this smart woman did. She did some homework, saw a pattern and contacted Julie.
Thank God Julie finally told her story publicly!
I would have to do some intensive Google searches to find all of them at this point, unfortunately. You can certainly find some of them on the Naked Pastor blog’s post which finally gave Julie McMahon the opportunity to tell her story, “Which Came First, The Thug or The Theology”. A number of people who were involved on the periphery of Jones’s efforts came forward to tell their stories of how he carefully spread the lies he continues to rely upon even now to discredit Julie, and they asked her forgiveness for their roles in repeating the unsubstantiated claims. It’s an extremely long comment thread, but it’s well worth your time if you haven’t read it. Many otherwise opaque comments become far clearer with the context that thread provides.
I’m certain there are others commenting here who could direct you to reported comments by Jones, as well.
Since the late 1990s and early 2000s, Tony Jones has pursued a career as a public Christian leader.
He has presented himself as a thought leader (a theologian in residence, blogger, author, book editor, doctorate, and sometimes adjunct seminary professor), and as a ministry expert/role-model (speaker and resource series coordinator on specialist ministry areas, plus an event organizer). He has been publicly commended and endorsed by others known within the Emergent/Progressive movement.
All of this together means he most probably fits the profile for a “limited purpose public figure” in the eyes of U.S. law. That is important to note, because being a “limited public figure” can change the nature of proving alleged defamation, libel, and/or slander. It requires demonstrating the person knowingly lied, with malicious intent.
Also, in her introduction to this post, Dee Parsons pinpointed the long-time public nature of Mr. Jones’ disputes with his ex-wife, Julie McMahon. Those who have been following this situation know that their disputes have been public off and on since at least 2009.
And his is ultimately a career in the public eye where credibility is directly tied to character, regardless of level of professional credentials. That is doubly so in the Church.
The choice of vocation as public servants within the Church automatically comes with a biblical mandate for followers of Christ to scrutinize those leaders’ character qualifications. Calling out sin and evident character problems in Christian celebrities is not the same as shaming them, although it appears that many Christians these days don’t discern the differences between identifying leadership disqualifications versus “shaming” someone who has some status.
So, all of that taken together, in my opinion, this statement of what was said in a private setting by Mr. Jones — but in the presence of Monica Myers Greenberg, someone in a role of ecclesiastical authority and ethical responsibility — goes directly to ongoing public issues about his character as a prominent figure in Emergent/Progressive ministry circles.
It seems to me that this Witness Statement by Rev. Greenberg does not constitute “character assassination,” but rather may prove relevant for considering whether, in maintaining a career that is tied to character, Mr. Jones has been making choices that skate the edges of “character suicide.”
It’s amazing to me that a woman can:
1) talk about abuse and ongoing legal harassment for years, privately and publicly,
2) finally get heard and publicly supported,
3) have related third parties confirm elements of her story,
4) have unrelated third party corroborate extreme animus with violent ideation on the part of her ex,
AND WE WILL STILL have someone come in whose first concern is character assassination of the man in question, we still have public figures such as Rollins, NBW, RHE, Jonathan Merritt, Sarah Cunningham, et al engage in enabling deflection onto philosophical discussions of “internet shaming”.
Right now, this right here, is literally creating the culture that silences victims and survivors, and bolsters the safety of abusers and others who take what they want without references to the needs of others.
One of the searches I suggest for the NakedPastor thread is for the root “apolog” as this will take you to comments that contain apology, apologies, and apologize. Then follow that trail through at least the first third to half of the entire 1,000+ comment series, and see what you see.
Also be sure to see the comments posted there by the following individuals:
Jenell Paris — September 23, 2014 at 8:58 am — for her statements about “vitriol” from Tony Jones,
Todd Hielstand — September 17, 2014 at 2:55 pm
Mike Morrell — September 20, 2014 at 6:56 pm
A quote from another apology that Julie McMahon received via email from Hugh Hollowell can be found on TWW at the link below. That likewise was a massive comment thread, so this particular comment is one page back when you push the “Older Comments” button at the top of the comment thread.
There may well be others, but those are ones I recalled from research writing for the Diagnosing the Emergent Movement website.
This is why I put the following section in boldface in my comment earlier in this thread about some of the significance of Rev. Greenberg’s Witness Statement:
But, to my knowledge, this incident in April of 2014 (five and a half years after he filed for divorce, and four months before the “thug or theology” post) is the first time there is a record of Tony Jones applying the label of “crazy” to his ex-wife, Julie McMahon.
This is so true. In fact, it seems such understanding has reverted back somewhat to the Medieval paradigm that power/position confer credibility. I chalk it up in part to the ongoing authoritarianism that is invading our culture. It has always been there to some extent but it is pervasive today in many spheres that I would never have imagined.
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
HUG if you ever wanted to write a longer spiel on your experience and lessons learned growing up with a NPD I’d be interested to read. And I do wonder what happened to your brother?
Has anyone see a comprehensive catalog of reasons given by silencers to squelch dissent?
Sorry to Jump on you Joe if you are well meaning. Powerful people who abuse have a vast array of tools and weapons to use against anyone who resists. Abusers do their deeds in private.
About the only way to right the wrong is to expose the deeds to public scrutiny. Even when exposed, the abuser will often continue to maintain the support of their faithful. Yet without public scrutiny there is little or no hope for redress.
I believe what Greenberg did here took a certain degree of courage. I find her statement useful as it indicates the private character of Jones. I imagine that Caldwell has a degree of self doubt in coming forward. Criticism of her at this juncture will serve to deter others from doing likewise, that is the purpose of silencers.
“On Da Wrong Page?”
Tony Jones is not maintaining a career that is tied to character, but one of a business where character is evidently believed to be ‘purposed irrevelence’.
the difference is pronounced and the distinctive crystal clear.
Comic relief: “What is dat smell?”
Bill M wrote:
Where did Caldwell come from? I meant Greenberg. Oy
This was truth. But what Tony Jones did to his wife soon becoming his ex-wife by calling her “bat sh$t crazy” (also documented) which is NOT TRUE could be considered character assination.
My conclusion after what I believe to be a “due diligence” investigation, is that Tony Jones does not meet the qualifications for Christian leadership. And, as I’ve stated elsewhere, it seems to me he has become a sort of “spiritual litmus test” for the viability of the larger Emergent/Progressive Movement. In fact, here’s a quote from my “Conclusions and Recommendations” page. I posted this in March 2015
“If Tony Jones is a litmus test of what the Emergent/Progressive Movement looks like and what it stands for and how it functions, please count me out. I find him not qualified to earn my trust – but the movement seems to embrace and protect him. So … sorry … but, because of that, I’ll trust my discernment and not your movement, or its theological thought leaders, or its ministry role models.”
The whole thing makes me sad, but I also see this kind of whistleblowing as crucial for calling out what I see as past and present spiritual abuse, and, hopefully, preventing it in the future.
However, Karen Horney did some vety valusble wotk, and ehile being in the Freudian came after him were much more open-mopen-minded than he wss; others, not.
While bein Freudia. Many who came after him… etc.
“…Presenting ‘Quality’ Emergent ministry role models?”
I don’t think anybuddys’ listenin’
Inspirational relief: “Climb Every Mountain? ”
Thanks Brad, I’ve found your work very helpful. I’ve passed along to a number of associates your chart on “agents of damage” and “agents of healing”.
Bill M wrote:
Okay, so, since you asked, here are the first 20 excuses that come to mind that I’ve seen various examples of. Some duplication or maybe too much nuance, but hey, in doing a 2-minute list, what can you expect?
Not all have necessarily been used in the current situation under examination — or perhaps not yet — but they are representative of real excuses/tactics that I’ve seen. Some are designed to frustrate, others to intimidate, waste time, imply you’re stupid or sinful or naive, etc. Odd thing is, some of them are direct opposites, which means, you’re in a no-win situation with someone who simply wants to silence dissidence.
1. Oh, you misunderstood what I said.
2. Oh, you misunderstood what I meant.
3. I have the academic credentials to say this [and you don’t].
4. I’m a personal friend of him/her and have *never* seen them do anything like that!
5. You’re being as abusive as he/she supposedly was. (The sort of “moral equivalency” arguments, i.e., she’s not a “perfect” victim, free from all blame, and therefore her claims are completely invalidated.)
6. Won’t that get you into legal trouble?
7. That’s libel/slander!
8. This is just an online anger-mob!
9. What about the children?
10. These are private matters/conversations/actions and shouldn’t be brought up in public!
11. Where’s your evidence?
12. You shouldn’t be posting documents/conversations/personal information like that online!
13. That’s not what the evidence shows.
14. They didn’t say/do that.
15. They’re not a pastor/elder, so those passages don’t apply.
16. Where did you come up with that?
17. Where’s the proof?
18. That’s a week argument.
19. I did a “due diligence” investigation.
@ Bill M:
Thanks, Bill M. Glad they’re getting put to use … eventually I’ll have a more extensive “pyramid” for the Agents of Healing with extensive descriptions of each of those 10 roles that are the polar opposite of the 10 roles in the Agents of Damage. It just all takes time, so I work on it when I can.
It’s a good start, you missed #21 a bible verse or two on don’t gossip. You could write a years worth of blog posts on the subject… oh, wait.
Oh, and good list for just 2 minutes.
@ Bill M:
But of course, various Bible passages — or implied ones — on this ‘n’ that, often taken out of context of the larger passage, or out of the even larger context of *all* the mandates.
He who is without sin …
Judge not that ye be not judged …
That should be left up to the overseers / elders.
You’re not an elder!
I don’t want to hear that stuff.
Sharing that is a sin.
You’re just bitter. (I can’t believe that one didn’t pop out in the first 20!)
It seems to me that in this current situation, fewer shut-down/silencing comments have been using Bible verses and far more have used tactics of:
* Concern. (A favorite one seeming to be: “What about the children?” And I’m not saying that is illegitimate as a concern, but it is used to stop shining the light on evil.)
* Expertise, theological or academic training credentials.
* Scare. (We’re going to report that to [fill in official agency or something] …)
You are amazing, simply amazing. Here’s a variation on 3a: “I’m not an expert, but Fill-in-the-Blank is, and this is what he/she says.”
Did I say how much I’ve learned from your writing yet today?
Yes to this. Every word bears repeating.
I know right? And if the Rev assiduously avoided him because she felt personally unsafe, it must have been said in a way that ripped the social fabric. Not simple hyperbolic frustration.
I am now also praying for Julie’s safety, a helpless sort of action, but I know nothing else to do.
No idea why the earlier quote didn’t take. My comment was a response to numo’s above.
Don’t forget the earlier group who wrote in support of Tony at s’cribd. Apparently church leadership is full of weak greedy people. They are among the worst of humans because they espouse that which they have no intention of doing.
I suspected it when I faced the trauma caused by my abusing pastor-father. My friends didn’t believe me, so why would I suppose that other Christians (TM) would care?
I will have nothing to do with the Religion of Christianity. In fact, as much as I can, I will work at cross-purposes.
It is people like the Deebs, SCCL, Naked Pastor, RL Stollar, Spiritual Sounding Board and the many specific abuse-exposing groups (across the spectrum) who let me know that faith can still be a thing of beauty. That is where I will keep my heart.
“Rust Out N’ Fade Away?”
You said: “I am now also praying for Julie’s safety, a helpless sort of action, but I know nothing else to do.”
buck up !
Our Lord can do far beyond what we can ask, what we think…
Our hope hath not taken fright, but flight!
Inspirational relief: ” …From the rising of the sun…”
And that all humans, male and female, have a penis envy that drives them through life. Well, Freud WAS correct that someone near him was deeply enamoured of his sexual organ… lol
I know, Sopy, but I don’t have a good record of God answering my prayers. So I go with what is, you know?
Datz OK….I’ll add a lit’l horsepower!
Thanks Gram3 … kind of you to say so.
And good point on the “I’m not the expert but one who is says ZYX about CBA.”
So many different tactics out there … some are shut-down, some are “deflection,” some more often used for recruiting and retaining of “supply units,” others more often used for rejecting and enacting revenge against.
I wish I didn’t have the personal experiences to have asked the questions, but since I do, I’m at least glad to see that the Lord has seen fit to do something that seems redemptive with the answer.
Yes, I agree. I just can’t bear meeting more people like Rollins who, on this subject, indulge in obtuse intellectualism, sniffiness, and turn misty-eyed about the glory of the therapeutic couch.
Old school psychoanalysis can make a narcissist out of anyone. Academic artists might be the worst.
A good observation. I don’t want to get into a whole liberal vs conservative quagmire but is it safe to say that such tactics you mention are more effective in a conservative church and the ones being utilized are more effective in their realm?
If so, it shows shut-down/silencers can be adaptive.
In case you didn’t catch the potential irony, in a comment I posted later on the first 20 excuses and tactics used for silencing that came to mind, #19 was:
19. I did a “due diligence” investigation.
I’ve been commenting periodically on The Wartburg Watch and only a few other missional blogs and survivor blogs over the last 5-6 years. So hopefully by now, those who’re familiar with my work from those comments would know that I do try to use my “due diligence” investigation to OPEN UP discussion and provide resources to help individuals and groups with discernment and decision-making processes — NOT to shut it down. It’s a lot of work to do that.
Occasionally I’ve had a single post take an entire week to write. Like one I did on the “Lakeland Outpouring,” Todd Bentley’s disqualifications from ministry, and the connection with the New Apostolic Reformation. That took something like 30 hours minimum because there was so much invest in timeline development, fact checking, and link compiling.
And the largest three case studies I’ve produced on situations of alleged spiritual abuse have all taken a minimum of 300 hours of research and writing time. The smallest of those three is about 50,000 words, give or take a few thousand, and the largest is over 80,000.
I don’t expect other people’s concept of “due diligence” to be that extensive. My calling, gifting, and purposes are different. Most case studies I’ve produced are meant as archive/timecapsule pieces, as a base for researchers now and in the future who want to investigate and interpret the context of an alleged situation of misuse of religious authority.
But, when someone states authoritatively that they’ve used “due diligence” in their investigation, I think it’s reasonable to inquire how they define that term.
So there’s that, for what it’s worth.
Bill M wrote:
That resonates. The theological base may have a lot to do with the kinds of labels and shut-down terms used.
But I think part of what I’m seeing is that conservative, fundamentalist, liberal, progressive … whatever the surface label on the theology, the underlying paradigm can be just as black-or-white in how information is processed. And that leads to similar absolutist, closure-oriented thinking.
And, in this situation with Emergent/Progressive, commenters may not proof-text with Bible verses, but there still seems to be a huge amount of proof-texting with code words from social activism and victim advocacy and the like. A lot of calling out of whistleblowers as “abusers” for instance, and labeling any identification of immoral or unethical behavior as “shaming, and protecting of those who do not seem to be managing their personality disorder by saying these are just “defense mechanisms.” What?
So, legitimate advocacy concepts and terms can be just as easily turned inside out and decontextualized as Bible passages are, if it suits the apparent purposes of deflecting responsibility, silencing critics, stopping whistleblowers, labeling scapegoats, etc.
Another difference that seems to be happening here, which I commented on in my initial analysis of what seems to be making the 2015 social media “flame wars” on Emergent/Progressive and Tony Jones distinct, is that more Emergent/Progressive INSIDERS have been lodging their complaints and criticism. They’ve been followers of some of these key figures who are now receiving far more scrutiny, and they haven’t liked what they consider to be duplicity. So, maybe that’s making a difference in the types of vocabulary we’re seeing used.
And if you’re following a range of social media on these issues, perhaps you’d agree that where conservatives are quick to let fly with apocalyptic and eschatological verbage, progressives seem far more apt to venture into the scatalogical. Just an observation, FWIW.
Julie McMahon wrote:
You’re welcome, Julie, glad the material has been of some help.
I do have a strong bias in all this, after tracking it off and on since 2009-2010 and commenting on it even back then. And I’ve attempted to state openly what my assumptions, observations, analysis, conclusions, cautions, recommendations, etc., whether on my Diagnosing the Emergent Movement website or elsewhere. (Hence a lot of “long-form comments.”)
I also believe it is in the best interests of any and all parties to have somewhere they can go where a substantial number of links and sources are available for anyone to find. (In fact, I’ve been working on something like a “reader’s guide” to introduce the larger context plus an “investigator’s guide” to help locate key first-hand and second-hand evidence sources online.) These case studies aren’t all-encompassing, but there is a lot of info available. And if I’ve done well in my research and analysis roles, everybody will eventually find something they don’t like, or notice something that’s missing. But there it is.
Anyway, wishing all people in this situation well, and that things will work out for the Kingdom best. My research work and prayers are the most I can contribute to that hopefully redemptive process.
Brad-I tried to leave this comment above for you. I think it did not attach. THANK YOU and LOVE YOU for the hours of diligence in organizing the mess into a timeline. You are one of the many amazing angels God has put in my path. Sincerely, Julie
Oopsy, jinx! Anyway, THIS is what “due diligence” looks like Rachel Held Evans. THIS work of Brad gathering everything is what “due diligence” looks like and yes he supports me after doing “due diligence.” Amen.
@ Julie McMahon:
Thanks julie. Looks like it may have gotten pasted into the middle of the quote. Weird how that does that sometimes.
It can also be interpreted as telling the truth about a bully who has NO character.
Oh, i have a deep-seated loathing of unadulterated Freudianism, and of psychoanalysis of any kind.
Haven’t read Rollins’ piece, though.
I missed this the first time through. Thanks for providing an example what happens when silencers aren’t doing their job.
So if Rollins is considered one of the brightest in the Emergent camp, what further nonsense* can we expect from this crew in defending Tony Jones. (*Nonsense as in truly nonsensical.)
I am so glad that someone was able to decipher this comment!
Julie spent her inheritance -$500,000 from her father’s estate – on endless litigation attacks from her ex-husband Tony Jones. Why don’t you, Brian McLaren, and Peter Rollins each put in $150,000 at the top of the page in the GoFundMe account for Julie? You guys can pay her back her inheritance. For good measure, add in a couple of million dollars more.
Thanks for pointing me in the direction of David’s site. After those comments were closed, I found the site & gulped down all 1000+ comments in one sitting, alternately crying from joy at the healing and swearing at the jerks. Thanks again.
Great list, Brad!
I’ll add my observations: 21. Any supporters of Julie online need to be “investigated” according to the hired hands for Tony Jones, Brian McLaren and Doug Pagitt and Company.
22. People in the U.S. who exercise their First Amendment rights to support Julie should be silenced according to the Emergents. (My answer to them? Pack up and get out of the US. I even posted the U.S. government’s instructions on how they could renounce their US citizenship over at David Hayward’s The Naked Pastor website.)
23. Canadians like David Hayward have no Free Speech rights according to the Tony Jones/Brian McLaren/Doug Pagitt group and their hired guns.
I refer to them as what they are: Hired Hu$tlers!
Thanks, Sopy. It certainly can’t hurt and might do a great deal. Julie safe, that’s the point.
It’s the Language of Numo! I think I’ve got the reading down; still working on speaking it fluently 🙂
@Headless Unicorn Guy
Tidies and fugleman–I sheel foor that we all–er–most steeply rebut the defensible, though, I trust, lavatory, Aspasia which gleams to have selected our redeemed inspector this deceiving. It would–ah–be shark, very shark, from anyone’s debenture . . . .
Ha! I love That Hideous Strength too. Are you saying that Rollins is a member of the NICE?
The mark of a true Christian. Thanks for all you do.
Thanks! It pales in comparison to most of what you have here. It was really unhealthy socially/emotionally/spiritually, and I think the church had a lot of practices that set up a situation ripe for abuse (and they still do). There are probably many others who could tell more revealing stories than me… though maybe I should be willing to go first, I’m not sure.
“We care about hurting people …”
-From da kind folks of Wartburg Watch
Math correction: You, Brian McLaren and Peter Rollins should each add $166,666.66 to the GoFundMe account at the top of the page to pay Julie back her $500,000 inheritance she had to waste on Tony Jones’ relentless litigation filings against her.
Your comments of late, are less than constructive…
Care to try agaIn?
My comments are fine! Perhaps you haven’t been keeping track of the Emergent Crowd’s Hired Hu$tler$ relentless attacks on Julie and ANYBODY that supports her, both here and over at David Hayward’s The Naked Pastor. So I – and others – stop them at the get-go. We are quite a team at shutting them down!
It’s more like the Language of Numo’s Irascible Tablet. 😉
I’m not on board with what you’re doing, either. Constructive comments are one thing, but this – I feel much sympathy with Sopy’s replies to you.
I have some doubts about what was actually said because the Rev. did absolutely nothing. I agree with you – if there was a threat the Rev. should have reported it to the police. If there wasn’t a threat, but something inappropriate was said which frightened the Rev., it should have been reported to the “steering committee” and the organizers of the conference. The Rev. is on the steering committee so that should have been relatively easy to do. The appropriate course of action by the steering committee or organizers would have been to tell Tony Jones that he is not speaking at the conference and ask him to leave. If that wasn’t possible, the Rev. should have left the conference.
Who would have believed her? She was most likely trying to process the information considering she did not really know him personally. At that time, there was practically nothing on the internet about this situation and no pattern of behavior to read about or testimony of others who had heard similar. Now there is so you are Monday Morning Quarterbacking.
In any event, she most likely would have been branded a “hysterical woman” or “over emotional” or perhaps “bat*hit” crazy. People automatically tend to believe the famous person because of position and power. Just as most people would not believe the Pope had kids back in the day. When he,in fact, did.
My view is that God is shaking His/Her (ha!) head that we aren’t using our vast resources and freedoms to seek justice for others.
I don’t buy into “The How And Timing Police” strategy, which is what your comments come across as.
I have seen this with other stories, like women who are unable, due to psychological trauma or whatever, not able to report the fact that they were sexually abused at ten by their, say, their uncle or grandfather, until they were 30 years old.
Instead of investigating their claim, some people will jump to the defense of the alleged abuser by saying,
“If she had really been raped or molested when she was ten years old, she surely would have reported it when it happened, when she was ten years old! AND she would have told the police, not her aunt.”
More time is spent picking apart how a person reports a situation, or when they do so, than in examining the alleged event itself.
It seems to be a deflective strategy meant to protect abusers, not victims.
You mean that aside from earthquakes, tsunamis, comet strikes, and death by old age and decrepitude, the rest of the world’s evils are on our own dime and that we should quit trying to pass go, collect 200 bucks, and put it all on Jesus’ back?
Makes sense to me.
I don’t believe in wasting any time in dialogue with the Emergent Crowd’s ‘hired hands’ (a supposed attorney, a supposed therapist, a supposed journalist, a supposed next door neighbor, the big public relations firm from MN that that Tony Jones hired), here to manipulate the narrative (and doing same at The Naked Pastor), attacking Julie, attacking Julie’s supporters.
Perhaps you and Sopy aren’t willing to ‘draw a line in the sand’ with them because you haven’t seen their brazen tactics. I have. And I choose to handle them differently. There is no such thing as a ‘constructive conversation’ with bullies, and hired ones at that.
Have a nice day to you (and Sopy too)!
Oh, I think we have seen their tactics, but unless you’re hacking their computers (which is, as you know, illegal), you don’t *know* who they are.
I don’t think anyone has given any of us sherriff’s badges, here or elsewhere. Dee and Deb and other bloggers, like David Hayward, RL Stollar, etc. are doing much, much more good with their posts. Policing comments sections is exactly what the people you so dislike do all the time. Why adopt their tactics?
Spot on, Daisy!
Thanks for sharing your views, which I appreciate.
@ Muff Potter:
Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. I am a Pelagian heretic, aren’t I? :o) I just don’t see the point of blaming Jesus Christ for human actions. I like what one blogger said a while back: Why are you praying for your elders to stop doing evil things? Why don’t you focus on warning people instead?
But even with earthquakes, Tsunamis and like evils, we have progressed and learned where not to build, how to build better buildings, medical advances for quality of life and so on and so forth. Not saying it is all perfect but progress and ingenuity is a good thing.
This is so true! I admire your zeal to seek Justice and your calls for restitution from the leaders who have promoted/protected Tony Jones. Directness is better than their typical tactic of covert aggression which is simply cowardice and deception.
I don’t think you have to hack computers to know that Tony Jones uses litigation as a weapon. :o)
Well, fwiw, I thought it was fair, since you wrote details of what you’ve been doing.
Beyond that, not sure that I have anything more to say on the subject.
I don’t have doubt’s about what was said. I believe the Rev. I also believe she was a bit in shock and didn’t quite know what to do. I believe it took time for her to sort out what her response should be.
Tony Jones was certainly committing character assassination against his ex-wife from the time he wanted out of the marriage. That is documented by people who have since apologized to Julie for believing what Tony was saying while not contacting Julie for her perspective. Tony was apparently still doing this years after the divorce as described by the Rev.
Muff Potter wrote:
There is that.
There is also the situation where an 8th grader prays desperately for God to save her from her pastor-father while comes to her in her bed at night, but nothing changes, nothing at all.
Thanks, Lydia. I just am a gal who speaks her mind and I don’t sugar coat the truth. I – and the other pro-Julie members – have managed to stop The Emergent Leaders and their Hired Hu$tler$ each and every time here and over at David Hayward’s blog, The Naked Pastor! (I work in law and I don’t hack computers. I just call a spade a spade. I mean it. When the Emergent Crowd and their Hired Hu$tler$ whine and protest about our First Amendment rights to write about this, I tell them: Fine, move out of the country and forfeit your U.S. citizenship if you don’t like the First Amendment. And Lydia, I mean it! And Lydia, honestly, what can they say to that? Got ’em!)
There’s also Elie Wiesel saying that it’s up to us to end these things. He makes that very clear in his book Night.
I believe and support Julie. I will do anything I can to help her. However, I think you are somewhat over the top and pushing boundaries of believability on your posts..I concur with Numo and Sopwith.
Michaela, not Michaeka. Ugh, hate these small keys
Err – indeed, Leslie. Apologies for not using your actual name in my previous reply.
I have a background working in law. We handle things a little bit differently than your average bear. Since the Tony Jones/Emergent Crowd/Brian McLaren/Hired Hu$tler$ have been quite aggressive in their attacks on Julie and her supporters (threats, threats of litigation, silencing, intimidation, changing the narrative), I handle The Bullies the way we do in law. And…it works.
Lydia has an excellent background and she gets it.
Have a lovely evening and a lovely week.
@ Joe2: Joe2 wrote:
I think it's tempting to sit around, outside the situation, and imagine what other people should have done. However, if you've ever been in a situation like that you know that it's not actually that simple. Your mind immediately starts minimizing, saying things like:
1) did he just say that?
2) maybe I'm overreacting
3) don't make a big deal out of this
4) let's keep the conference going smoothly
5) I don't know the whole story, I don't want to make unnecessary trouble for him
6) people will think I'm making a big deal out of nothing so there's no point in saying anything.
Further, most of those assumptions about how others would react are exactly right on. There is enormous pressure on all sides to not upset the applecart in situations like that, the fact that she was uncomfortable enough to say *anything* and make *any* waves whatsoever actually speaks loudly to how inappropriate his comments were. They stuck in her head enough for her to research the situation, and for her to STILL BE THINKING ABOUT IT when his name came up months later.
Tl;dr- Social pressure is incredibly strong to minimize this kind of thing, the fact that she was unable to fully do so, both at the time and later, that her concern didn't die down over time, speaks volumes. Don't do this, Joe2. Don't sit back months later, and with nothing personally riding on the situation, and simultaneously insist she minimize this because she didn't speak up in the manner and timeframe you deem appropriate. This same tactic has been used FOREVER to pressure women into not having experienced what they experienced. Stop it.
I’m not sure why the quoted part isn’t in italics. But it goes from the beginning to “the Rev. should have left the conference”.
The rest, starting with “I think it’s tempting…” is my response to Joe2.
You are, iirc, a paralegal, no?
Muff Potter wrote:
Thus perhaps prayers for help are moot.
I should not have been so quick with answers earlier since I really have none except I believe the world works very differently than most Christians do. Thank you for focusing on the main issue. The worst are all the innocents used and abused.
She is a nobody like me, perhaps?
Your comment was so good! I went into the edit function and sort of fixed it. I hope it is OK. Thank you for listing the feelings I might have in the situation.
T’sokay, Lydia. You and Muff are correct, as far as I can see. We are the hands of God in the world. He Him/Herself very rarely steps in to answer the cries of those at the bottom.
Christians and their leaders who promise the fantasy are being very cruel to those who are alone and in greatest need of help. That they are unaware of it makes little difference to the quality of cruelty.
I am in such agreement with this I was tempted to use all caps.
I cannot save that little eight year old precious Patrice but what eight year old can I help right now? There are things I must do/discern in my little corner of the world to help put it to rights while most of Christendom thinks it piety to wait around for God to intervene.
Perry Mason and John Grisham!
I wasn’t thinking so much in terms of law, rather an unsubstantiated report could simply be dismissed as muck-raking or rumour-spreading. I’ve certainly heard rumours that were inaccurate to say the least, and been subject to one that was mind-bogglingly and amusingly inaccurate.
Nope, the Rev. stated why she took no action. It wasn’t due to shock or having doubts. She stated,
“I knew that I might have professional contact with Mr. Jones in the future and I felt it was best not to have a negative confrontation with him.”
In other words, she took no action because doing nothing would be best for business.
That might be the reason, but there is no evidence that business concerns *were* the reasons. Professional contact might include other considerations beyond dollars and cents. For example, if I know I’m going to be spending time at professional events or the social events associated with them, I’m not going to look to pick a fight without very good reason. I’m not saying that to necessarily disagree but rather to suggest it might not be quite that simple.
The other thing is that when we make a decision between or among alternatives, we weigh the relative costs and benefits. And how we weigh those and make a decision are made under uncertainty. Those weights and decisions may change with less uncertainty about the relative costs and benefits of the alternatives.
If she lacked the broader perspective at the time that we have now, then I think it was understandable that she did not provoke an encounter that might not be a net positive for all concerned, including the others at the conference/meeting. With more information she came to a different understanding of the encounter with Jones and with the possible implications of what she learned in that encounter.
An interesting question to me is what benefit does she gain by going public with this? I can’t think of how she personally is better off for publishing this rather than keeping quiet unless she felt/feels threatened by Jones or his allies in some way.
Wonder if it will be good for her “business” now?
Once again, you are ignoring the fact that she was blindsided, had no frame of reference because she did not know Jones personally and also because there was nothing out there about his pattern of behavior yet. I can just see her rushing to her conference colleagues after lunch claiming they cannot allw him to speak because of what he said over lunch. They would simply talk to Tony and find out it was all a big joke and the Rev woman is “over reacting” as many feel that way about exwives….nudge, nudge, wink, wink.
Now, if only we could track all of these sorts of convos with Tony. I do wonder how many we would find were between him and one other person at the time. I sincerely doubt he would have said the same thing with more witnesses he had just met.
Why do you keep trying to make it about her immediate response. Do you have any idea how many things have happened to me I wish my immediate response had been different? Live and learn.
And Gram is right. What is the benefit to her now? The Progressive/Emergent leadership and fellow travelor celebs are firmly in Tony’s protective corner right down to Rachel Held Evans.
Thanks for thinking I’m right. Usually I agree with myself, but not always. As usual, when I say something, I’m thinking of a particular example/s. Once upon a time I thought I knew a certain woman. Everything I knew about her seemed consistent. I was firmly convinced of her character. Then, I had a strange conversation which was frightening and seemed frankly delusional and paranoid. At the same time, I observed other things which did not fit with what I thought and which were very concerning. But, it was not until after I had a conversation with another mutual friend that the two of us started putting some big pieces together and realized that we had both been duped and the mutual friend had been really damaged financially. Once we both had context for our own misgivings and both of us had the benefit of the other’s experience, we made some big changes in how we viewed the entirety of the picture. This is how manipulative people use other people of good will and how it is not always clear what something very concerning actually means at first.
No disagreement here Patrice. Every time I hear some preacher preach the same fantasy, I don’t know whether to laugh, cry, fart, or cuss. Probably all four, but I wouldn’t wanna predict in what order. Then I argue (just like a Jew) with the Almighty, after he rebukes me out of a whirlwind saying…”What’s that got to do with the suffering of little ones that you have the power to prevent?…”
The stalemate is always the same as the final answer—God’s a betting man and he bets on me.
Me too. And I realize other people’s perspectives are different but like you, I have “faces” when certain issues are brought up.
And I meant to mention this on another thread where that issue of faces came up.
Manipulation has many faces. There are those who will insist you focus on feelings and leave doctrinal arguments out of it. Those are my “F” people and they are important and we desperately need them in our lives. But when you have been around this stuff for too long, you realize that in order to communicate to many perspectives, you have to bring in some “T” postions, too. (Thinking/Feeling)
Many people are uncomfortable with T arguments. And I hate to say it, but especially women as is my experience. But many times T arguments are the only ones that will refute (or cause some deep reconsidering) what someone has had ingrained in them in church that is eating their soul.
I know a woman who tried to convince people using only her F with the “women in ministry” issue. She wrote a book using only F arguments. She would become furious if we dared discuss differing interpretations of say, 1 Tim, on blogs telling us that will never change people’s minds. In fact, she wanted to ignore scripture altogether except for a few proof texts. I felt sorry for her in so many ways. And using only F arguments did not work for long. She was too easy to flick away by the very people she was writing about.
I think it is good to combine both. I “feel” cared for when someone stands up to injustice using T arguments. But then I am weird, I admit. :o)
Come on Joe2. Concerns related to future business relationship is not mutually exclusive with shock, uncertainty, or any of the reasons I listed in my response to you. Pretending they are is disingenuous, and inappropriate equalizing.
However, let’s say for the sake of argument that Reverend Greenberg said nothing because she had dollar signs instead of pupils in her eyeballs, so what? So she made a financiwlkt/professionally motivated unethical decision last year, this means that she presumably has something to lose by coming forward now. Yet, unlike almost everyone else with a financial stake in this, *she did it anyway*.
Reverend Greenberg is a shining example that it is never too late to do the right thing, despite the fact that people like you will attempt to discredit her because she didn’t do it sooner.
Again- in case you missed it- there is no statute of limitations on someone telling the truth and correcting their mistakes. You could be exhorting other influential people based on her example, instead you are trying to discredit her for speaking at all. I’m definitely beginning to wonder what your motivation is.
So what? The morality of the Rev.’s decision not to report the comment is not the main point here. The main point is that Tony Jones told a complete stranger that he wanted to murder his ex-wife, even years after the divorce was finalized.
I’m curious as to what your intentions are in this conversation because it seems like you are trying to bring attention away from that main point. Could you explain to us what you feel your intentions are so that we don’t misunderstand?
This made me cry Patrice. The silence of God is terrifying, especially when you have been trained to expect more.
Do we need to call it Numonics?
And she has since changed her thoughts on that and acted accordingly.
Meanwhile, no words at all have been uttered by leaders in support of SGM, Mars Hill, Acts 29 and 9Marks victims of spiritual and sexual abuse. The leaders all go about their blog, conference, and book business as if nothing has happened.
Add the Emergent leaders to that last paragraph.
I had a couple of thoughts here. I’ll start with the second paragraph quoted above.
What does she gain by going public?
I can suggest what Rev. Greenberg could potentially *lose*. I’m not a lawyer, but by her using the terms “Witness Statement” and “testimony,” she seems to have written up what looks like a legal deposition — it could be submitted as sworn testimony for court consideration. If so and if she were lying (which I do NOT believe she is), she could be liable to charges of perjury.
Then, regarding the first paragraph quoted and issues of information available …
The incident described by Rev. Greenberg took place April 30, 2014. If someone were trying to figure out what online information was available to her for research then, you’d need to reconstruct from at least 2008 (since divorce papers were filed August 29, 2008) through April 2014.
I am fairly certain from my own research that *most* of what you would find in April 2014 about Tony Jones divorcing Julie McMahon goes back to September 2009 through February 2010, on about a dozen blogs. (I’ve listed those on Page 05 of my Diagnosing the Emergent Movement research site.) Custody hearings started in March 2010 and things seemed to have gone pretty much into “radio silence” from then until autumn 2014. Along the way you’d find occasional blips, such as with direct or indirect mentions of a former marriage — such as in Tony Jones’ posts about “sacramental marriage” to Courtney Perry and later “legal marriage” — plus perhaps in profiles (like in Wikipedia) or articles posted here and there on the internet. [[And if anyone has sources from that period of 2010-2014, I’d be glad to hear of them and add them to my research site on this situation.]]
Frankly, in April 2014, Rev. Greenberg would’ve had very little to work with about alleged specific abusive behaviors or patterns by Tony Jones, or about his clinical diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. So, I believe that all meshes with what she stated in her testimony:
Only in September through December 2014 did a huge amount of detail emerge about the divorce, plus related allegations of gaslighting and silencing and other forms of abuse/control that were interwoven with the divorce and alleged cover-ups. This was on the post at David Hayward’s blog on “Tony Jones on Mark Driscoll: What came first, the thug or the theology?” (See Page 09 on my site for some analysis of the post and its 1,082 comments.)
Then things really erupted on social media in 2015 (see Pages 11E and 11F on my site). That included the “Statement by Tony Jones” posted on January 27, 2015 — in which Tony Jones himself acknowledged a clinical diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which he apparently mistyped as an Axis I diagnosis, which would be less serious and more temporary, instead of the correct diagnosis of a serious Axis II condition, which does appears in the posting of “The Evidence Against Tony Jones” on R.L. Stollar’s blog (February 11, 2015).
All of this new information appearing from September 2014 though the end of April 2015 would indeed be reasonable cause for “alarm” and thus reinterpreting Tony Jones’ comments of April 2014 in light of a new and expanded framework. As Rev. Greenberg states:
My conclusions: I see no reason to suspect Rev. Greenberg is being inaccurate, intentionally lying, or doing this to “protect business.” Instead, her Witness Statement testimony is specific, and it appears to match some of the behavior patterns from Tony Jones that others have noted (such as Jenell Paris, who I referred to in an earlier comment). It also required courage to post because she has much to risk by doing so.
Final thought. If we are stating some opinion about how we don’t believe a person’s testimony, but we aren’t backing that up with specifics and verifiable research, it seems to me all we are doing is injecting doubt and negating the person’s story, not forwarding the discussion and showing empathy for the victims. And don’t those go against the “prime directive” here at The Wartburg Watch? (A description of which is available at the top of the page, in the “TWW Rules of the Road” page underneath “The Basics” tab.)
P.S. Here is the link to my research site on this situation of Diagnosing the Emergent Movement. An orientation to the information there and an expanded outline is found on Page 00.
I am busy writing two posts for today. Bit i want to weigh in here. My pastor is against judging people’s motives. he always points at himself, saying that even he truly don’t understand his own motives at times. “Even on my best days my motives are mixed.”
The only one who truly understands our motives is at a much Higher Pay Grade than we. I know a lot more that went on behind the scenes in this particular situation. I can feel you that Rev. Monica was brave in the face of possible negative pushback. I suggest we leave it at that and go on to other topics.
And she uses her own name in her statement. In that, she is braver than many, right?
Well, NuTabletmonics, maybe. My tablet is much too eager to add letters i did not type. I think i need to switch to a different keyboard program, as this one has gotten very buggy/quirky.
“A background working in law?” “We handle things a little bit differently than your average bear?”
Resoectfully, Wartburg is not the place to ply your extensive skills.
We ae quite aware of the tactices of questionable church movements,
Please move on before a house falls upon you too.
Ach. I understand this feeling. Sadly, I do not have an answer as to why the prayers of a child (yours or mine) went unanswered. It is something I wrestle with from time to time and never get a clear answer other than the general one of not overriding the free will of others. I think to onus of doing something falls squarely on the other adults that were around. no matter whata be said, there were those who noticed something wad not right and chose to igmore. (Corroborated in my case, at least.)
God…Him I don’t understand so well. Other adults in my life, them I can bounce the ball at and let them explain or not…but it is on them what they chose to do. Hmm…I guess, as far as that goes, what God chooses to do or not do is on him, as well.
Totally agree, and that was a helpful recap of the timeline. People can come up with an alternative explanation, but that does not mean that it is correct. We need to think about what was reasonable to expect and reasonable to do given the facts and circumstances in which she found herself.
Maybe it is easier for me to see this since I’m an outsider looking in and personalities and interests and doctrinal positions don’t color my perception of this situation, at least.
Yeah, me too. Bad arguments can only be refuted by good arguments and evidence. Feeling motivates one to action and provokes passion, but ultimately solutions are found by thinking. IMO Jesus is an excellent model of how to integrate both.
As an example of doing it right, take both of today’s posts by Dee…
Dee agree’d to assist Tony and Julie. This is what she is endeavored to do the best she knows how. Unfortunately there are individuals that are muddying the waters. There are two issues her the first one is the welfare of this divorced ex family. The second issue is that of the Emergent Move movement. Wartburg Watch has no intention of bringing hartrid to this present situation.
Exactly. Neither are TWW, or any of the other bloggers who have been trying to help Julie, choosing to go on some kind of vigilante “justice” hunt.
Jeannette Altes wrote:
What I learned as a child was that God was on the side of the powerful. I thought I had to take care of the other myself and that I’d surely fail at it, which of course I did. Probably same lesson you learned, Jeannette.
My previously-mentioned prayer happened in the middle of a long series of abuses, and was a hopeless sort of gesture. In fact, after I prayed, I “saw” a blue-eyed blond-haired Jesus standing in the far corner of the room, wringing his hands. That sent me far away into dissociation land and I never mentioned it again.
God had better have some solid answers, that’s all. If I get to heaven someday and God says something trite and absurd, such as I’ve heard from quite a few Christians over the years, I’ll walk out. I’m not too worried about it, really, just making things clear.
I totally agree@ numo:
Pretty much where I’m at too. Gold streets, mansions, jewel-encrusted vistas and such just won’t cut it for me. I have a hope that ‘heaven’ can be different for different folks. And that’s just it for me, hope and faith are not the same things as the certainty I once subscribed to back in fundagelical land.
@ Muff Potter:
How about this, said by a pastor about 30 or more years ago, and I can still remember it:
Heaven will be a real place, with real people doing real things.
Muff Potter wrote:
Hope and faith, yes. Living moving things—promise and doubt intermingled.
I am going for the new earth bit—this place, as it was always meant to be. And for the “new heavens” part, I fantasize about being able to explore across the galaxies. Plus maybe help God make a new creature on another planet somewhere in the vastie. And afterwards, tend it as it goes its way.
I’d love to study/practice architecture there. And biology/zoology/eco systems. And learn to play all the instruments, plus borrow someone’s lovely voice for a while (or have one of my own) so that I can actually sing.
I could talk about that all day. w00t
Yes, the whole notion of cloud-dwelling just is not appealing. I think we will see Jesus and talk face-to-face with God and walk with him, just as is pictured in Eden. I think that the “streets paved with gold” and gates and walls built of jewels is a way of expressing that the most precious things in this world will be merely the asphalt and rocks of the Real New World. I think those are comparisons and not actual descriptions.
That sounds more like it!
I think we’re going to be much like little children opening gifts on Christmas morning and God is just going to be delighted to see the joy on our faces.
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him.”
Yes, I love that!
I couldn’t agree more Ken (in a broad and general sense). But as they say, the devil is in the details, you, me, and the good pastor might be parsecs apart on how that all works out.
I have appreciated the fact they do not require conformity here.
I believe the prophet Daniel. When I breathe my last I will go down to Sheol where the dead know nothing (Ecclesiastes) and the worms do their thing. At some point thence I will be bodily reanimated to stand in judgement before the Almighty. Whether I make the final cut or become an object of contempt remains to be seen, let’s just say that my hope is for a goodly inheritance in the world to come.
Loved your take on the hereafter ! To me it brings Ecclesiastes 3:11 to real life in a way I hadn’t thought about until now. No wonder God put eternity into the human heart, life is just too damn short to accomplish all the good and wonderful stuff we’d like to.
Patrice, I am with you. There will need to be solid answers or none of this will make any s3nse, including God.
Most of the time, I believe those answers will be there.
@ Muff Potter:
Yes. All of this. I think eternity is going to have much to do, see, learn, explore….and I agree with the idea of His/Her delight in our discovery process. Whatever else it may be, I am fairly confident it will not be boring.
Here is the weblink that corroborates Monica Myers Greenberg’s timeframe for the events she describes. http://festivalofpreachingnw.org/featuredpreachers/index.htm Note that Tony is one of the featured preachers and the dates.
And here’s David Hayward (The Naked Pastor blog) in Canada latest
cartoon and story about Tony Jones trying to scrub the internet of this story, and order Julie to contact bloggers and tell them same.
I was inspired to contact radio talk shows about this and First Amendment Rights groups, given that Tony Jones and his attorney in Minnesota want to silence Free Speech.
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