Tumultuous Clouds of Jupiter: This stunning image of Jupiter’s stormy northern hemisphere was captured by NASA’s Juno spacecraft as it performed a close pass of the gas giant planet.
“Just because something isn’t a lie does not mean that it isn’t deceptive. A liar knows that he is a liar, but one who speaks mere portions of truth in order to deceive is a craftsman of destruction.” ― Criss Jami
This story may take several posts. It brings me back to the earliest days of TWW, 2009, when few were reading our blog. I had discovered Tom Rich’s blog, FBC Jax, and read about his concerns with Mac Brunson, a fairly new pastor, at FBC Jacksonville. So I contacted Tom through his website and asked him if he would be willing to speak with me. Both of us remember that phone call in the summer of 2009. Tom, better known to all as The Dawg, answered the phone and suspiciously listened as I explained that I wanted to write his story. Slowly, he began to realize that I was serious and that this wasn’t some scheme related to FBC Jacksonville leadership.
Tom Rich is the one who introduced me to the story of Tiffany’s abuse by Darrell Gilyard. I began to closely follow the story surrounding Gilyard and posted number of stories about him throughout the years. I am wholeheartedly convinced that Paige Patterson did not do what he should have done and that Gilyard went onto molest more women due to his negligence. Sadly, it appears to me that Patterson was part of a generation that believed in covering up abuse because it was detrimental to the view of a pristine church by the community. I believe he also subscribed to the idea that women should forgive their violent husbands and continue to take one on the chin “for the cause of Christ.* At the minimum he was dangerously stupid.
When I was in my 20s, I came home to Salem, MA, during a break from my stint on the Navajo Reservation. My mother had the radio on, listening to the local news.The announcer reported that a woman had been raped but was not injured! I called the radio station and gave them a piece of my mind.I couldn’t believe that anyone would think that a rape was not an injury in and of itself. On the next update, they changed the wording. I believe that Paige Patterson came from this generation. He should have reported each and every complaint that he received. It was not up to him to *investigate* the complaints or even say that there needed to be 2 or more witnesses for each complaint. Since when have rapists chosen to hurt their subjects in full view of witnesses? Also, each report from a new victim was corroborating other reported stories. In the end, I believe that Patterson was merely an SBC tin man who lacked a heart and din’t know he needed to find one.
After I write a couple of posts on Tiffany’s situation, I plan to follow them up with Tom Rich’s incredible story which involved his successful lawsuit against his pastor, church, the local constabulary, and a lackadaisical state attorney. It’s a great story!
Christa Brown carefully followed the controversy surrounding Darrell Gilyard and Paige Patterson. Prepare to get angry.
If you want to understand what happened, there is no better place to go than Stop Baptist Predators. Christa Brown wrote Baptist Scandals: The Darrell Gilyard – Paige Patterson Connection
In Florida, hundreds of pages of documents detail the sexually explicit text messages allegedly sent by pastor Darrell Gilyard to 14 and 15 year-old girls. A news account provides details of the molestation allegations against Gilyard.
So this is the Florida news, but look at the history of this pastor. Why didn’t Baptist leaders stop him sooner?
As reported in the Dallas Morning News, Gilyard left Concord Missionary Baptist Church in Dallas in 1987 after about 25 women complained of his “sexual misconduct.” The senior pastor, Rev. E.K. Bailey, “assumed that would be the end of Darrell Gilyard’s bright evangelistic career.” How tragically wrong he was.
At that time, the First Baptist Church of Dallas and Criswell College president Paige Patterson were promoting Gilyard in Southern Baptist churches. He was considered a rising star. Despite the many allegations against Gilyard, First Baptist officials “decided there was not enough evidence” to further investigate Gilyard, and, according to Rev. Bailey, Paige Patterson wrote him “an unkind letter” saying that “he would have come out to my church and solved the problem for me if I had told him first.”
Apparently, 25 accusations weren’t enough for Paige Patterson. In fact, according to the Dallas Morning News, Patterson painted “Gilyard as a victim” and suggested the accusers were motivated by “jealousy, frustration and racism.”
Patterson wanted “demonstrable evidence” such as “photographs, videotapes or laboratory tests.” Despite 25 women’s accusations, Patterson and First Baptist “continued to recommend” Gilyard.
Here is a link to her blog that received much visibility:let’s stop pastor darrell gilyard together. Sadly, Tiffany would go on to be ignored by the leaders of the SBC. They didn’t even bother to contact her when they were involved in getting rid of Paige Patterson. I believe that had I not brought her up in this post, SBC/ERLC/Caring Well: Tiffany Thigpen, Anne Marie Miller and Dee Ann Miller Aren’t Speaking at the Conference. Why in the World Not?, she would have continued to be ignored.
Why was she ignored? Was it because she named her abuser and sought justice? It seems that those who go after their actual SBC abuser gives the SBC leaders the screaming meemies.
Here is a synopsis from that post.
Back then she was Tiffany Croft. I wrote about her years ago when I first started blogging. It is her testimony that led to Darrell Gilyard being convicted of molestation of teens in his church. Here is a link to her blog at the time let’s stop pastor darrell gilyard together
When I met an abusive Pastor, Darrell Gilyard, I was a 17 year old girl who was actively involved in my youth group and completely trusting of Pastors and leaders.
…I grew up attending First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida under Homer Lyndsay and later Jerry Vines. Jerry Vines “found” Darrell Gilyard in the 80’s while he was an attending member in our singles dept. Apparently he saw preaching qualitites in him and called his friend Paige Patterson and recommended him for a scholarship for seminary.
…. He would tell the story of “doing his homework at the service station” for light. All of this turned out to be a lie. I was a middle schooler and heard Darrell share his story from the pulpit and we sights on me – unlucky me. We trusted and respected Darrell because our Pastor and Paige both bragged on him and revered him, loved him like their son, Jerry Falwell as well. We blindly trusted because there were no warnings, no safety parameters. We all knew how Vines loved him. Our church was a mega church back then, boasting some 16,000 members and our Pastors were revered, we trusted whom they trusted.
…Patterson placed him in Pastor positions at local churches, the accusations and reports followed. Darrell came onto women, assaulted them and even raped. All were reported to Patterson. We all know the story, Patterson, in his own words “broke them down” and shamed them, and he stood behind Gilyard. There are many reports of this available. We know this part and how that went during the 80’s
…in 1990, my Pastor and Gilyards mentor, Vines, decided it was an appropriate choice to have Darrell Gilyard travel with our youth choir and orchestra
…one fateful night, Darrell knew something I didn’t and he saw what would maybe be his last opportunity and he took it. Someone close to me had confronted Darrell, his Pastor, about the ways in which he talked about me to him, about his frequent interaction into my life, phone calls and such.
…without anyone with me, I met the Pastor and he immediately got very inappropriate and his hands were everywhere, all the sirens sounded at once – he told me that he knew I wanted him and that is why I was there. Of course I protested and said this isn’t funny, you asked me here to warn me about something…I will spare the details, I do not want to even relive them though it plays like an unwanted movie in my head. I tried to get away from him and he was determined, he tried repeatedly to rape me and I fought with all that I had.
I managed to wrestle him and actually shoved him to the ground as he lost footing and got the door open just in time for him to hold the door and try to come in, I fought and fought again and somehow managed to squeeze the door shut on his arm forcing him to let go as I moved the car into reverse
Tiffany did not remain quiet and would eventually report this to police years later. She was a teen with a supportive mother. However, Jerry Vines had something to say. He told her to keep quiet since there was *nothing he could do about this.*
I was summoned back to Dr. Vines, he told me that he had flown to Dallas and he and Patterson were given some materials and that Darrell was indeed a “bad apple” and that when they confronted him, that he was evil, that he looked at them and said “I don’t care if Gabriel the archangel came down from heaven and told me to leave the pulpit, I won’t do it.” Dr. Vines told me that their hands were tied and there wasn’t much they could do. I didn’t know any better and was just a teenager so I thanked him for trying. We agreed that I wouldn’t talk about it and that no one at the church “needed to know” and that was that.
Long before #me too* and #caring well, Tiffany went to war with no help from the current SBC leadership, some of whom were (and some still are) good buddies with her former pastors.
I contacted local reporters and said I have a story to tell and I want my face and name put on this so that the girls have a voice (since they were minors). I interviewed with every local station and gave my email address for contact and quickly created a blog called “Let’s Stop Pastor Darrell Gilyard Together” and pleaded for other victims to come forward so that in numbers we could see him prosecuted.
Mac Brunson took over for Vines at FBC Jacksonville and continued the attack on Tiffany.
Mac Brunson became the new Pastor of my home church, FBC Jacksonville, when Dr. Vines retired. Brunson was a buddy of both Patterson and Vines. He also was once the Pastor of FBC Dallas and was Chancellor of Criswell College at one time. He apparently didn’t like me blogging about the predator Pastor who was at a neighboring church just a few blocks away or about how Jerry Vines had not reported it when it happened in 1991. He was asked in an interview, “What do you believe the next SBC president needs to focus on for the next two years?” “Saving his hide!” said Brunson, and then he brought up the Gilyard case all on his own.
He was quoted as saying,“…You know, here’s a Pastor right down the street here, all over the headlines, who is being arraigned today in this city…and of course there are people that have tried to blame Dr. Patterson for that …they tried to blame Dr. Vines…I can assure you they didn’t cover up anything, they’d have enjoyed exposing it too much…” In another he said “this lady is giving this pastor down the street a hard time, blogging about him” as he was doing a seminary taping which was heard on the radio and many people told me about it.
She began to receive threats and disgusting emails from *nice* SBC folks.
Many people from the church wrote scathing emails to me. I received nasty emails from Gilyards camp as well, threatening emails, emails wishing harm to me and my family, condemning me to hell, calling me horrible things, I even received emails claiming I seduced Darrell or “wanted it” or “asked for it”.
Dr Vines refused to help her.
I asked, practically begged, Dr. Vines to do what was right – to call out Darrell’s sin and help me push for accountability and also help for the victims, he would not. I asked him to write something and acknowledge that he wishes he could go back and do things differently and not even have to admit wrong or apologize to me (I let him off easy, hoping for good) and that if he would write something like that I could publish it on the blog. He would not.
Then, her private information was subpoenaed from Google and Comcast by FBC Jacksonville’s despicable Mac Brunson. My good friend, Tom Rich, had his info was subpoenaed the same time. (Tom won and Brunson lost, big time.)
My blog and email addresses, screen names and telephone and social security and address and registration, IP address, log in data, posting etc etc etc. attached to my blog, were subpoenaed by the State of Florida, through our local law enforcement and granted by the State Atty’s office at the request of…duh duh duh…First Baptist Church of Jacksonville Florida, Mac Brunsons church, Jerry Vines former church, my former church where I reported my abuser.
And this was all subpoenaed through Google and Comcast. And because “no criminal activity was found” (of course) they were able to look, peruse, get what they wanted without my knowledge and then claim they didn’t find anything and destroyed the original file which showed the basis on which the subpoena was granted. What could they possibly claim I did to warrant this? I would never know. My blog, New BBC Open Forum blog (Memphis blogger) and FBCJaxWatchdog blog were included in these subpoenas. What did they claim we did? Each was blogging about abusive Pastors and hurts of the people of the churches they were blogging about – BBC was about Bellevue Baptist in Memphis, FBC Jax Watchdog about Mac Brunson and FBC Jax.
Jerry Vines reportedly lies about Thigpen and Gilyard in his memoir.
Jerry Vines writes his Memoirs which is published and promoted by Lifeway – I refused to even buy the book, but I begin to be notified by others that there is a chapter in the book about Gilyard and it is not truth. Vines writes the version as if Gilyard was just a single guy flirting with another single (referencing what happened to me) and he actually states it that way and follows up with “perhaps I was wrong”. I was sucker punched, I felt the world spin again and I was outraged. I’ve spent years telling the story and pushing for the predators punishment, he and Patterson try to silence me, Patterson was horrible to me, division in my family, in my church family, being attacked and threatened verbally, years spent gathering evidence and victims, sharing the truth and evidence and yet his final blow is this.
SBC tribalism is getting worse.
I reached out to members of the Carin Well team, Phillip Bethancourt of the ERLC, and the Missouri Baptist Convention. I did not receive any replies. Why is this? I believe that a few people involved in the abuse of this family are well connected to the current power brokers in the SBC and mentioning abuse is only acceptable when it involves someone from the *other tribe.*
And that is what is going on here. When I called for Paige Patterson’s resignation in June, 2009, I did so due to his despicable statement of sending a woman back into a physically abusive home. At that point, I hadn’t noted the developing tribalism. Boy has that changed. Some of today’s SBC leaders were well aware of Patterson’s statements and continued their friendship and support of him until they found it advantageous to be rid of him.
It took time for the Reformed Baptists to move into a position of power. They didn’t suddenly become *woke* and decide to fire him for his statements and actions. They knew about those things for years. Patterson made the mistake of not jumping fully on-board with the Reformed agenda. I believe that if he had, he would still be in his position. Don’t get me wrong. He should have been fired and I stand by my 2009 post on the matter. My stance on the issue was not based on *what kind of Baptist he was.* It was based on his disturbing views on violence against women.I am not so sure about some of the others.
So, why does this matter?
In order to understand what happened, as well as what is happening, one must understand where the major players fit in this paradigm.
- Tiffany Thigpen : an abuse victim who is outside of the tribalism wars.
- Sharayah Colter: Paige Patterson supporter who is not part of the Reformed Baptist inner circle.
- Scott Colter: Sharayah’s husband and long time *Chisf of Staff* (this ain’t the White House, boys) of Paige Patterson.
- Paige Patterson: Obviously not part of the Reformed Baptist inner circle and stuck in a different generation of SBC leaders
- Current SBC leaders ands organizations: ERLC, Al Mohler, most seminary leaders of major SBC seminaries: Reformed Baptists along with those who know how to play the poser game: Jerry Vines
- Peter Lumpkin who is most definitely not Reformed and is supporting the Patterson tribal wing.
It is my opinion that many current leaders are concerned about sex abuse in the SBC to a point. However, when the accusations of abuse occur, it appears that both sides of the Great Baptist Divide will default to defending their tribal member. In other words, if it involved my dudebro, I’m not so sure they did anything wrong.
Which brings us to Sharayah Colter
Sharayah blogs at shiriyah.com. Here is what she says about herself. She posts this along with the obligatory “These make me look like I’m friends with these politicians” pictures.
Sharayah studied print and broadcast journalism and graduated from the University of Texas, Arlington and later earned certificates in biblical counseling and women’s ministry from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She is currently part-way through a Masters of Theological Studies degree and holds a certificate in leadership from the Focus on the Family Leadership Institute.
Sharayah has worked with various secular and Christian news organizations across the United States. Her experience includes newspapers, magazines, radio, digital media, marketing, copy editing, graphic design, advertising and public relations. Sharayah owns Colter & Co. Design, which serves clients internationally in brand identity, design, and strategic communications.
It is important to know that Sharayah’s husband, Scott, was Paige Patterson’s Chief of Staff and was none too pleased to leave his gig. However, he was made Executive Director of the Sandy Creek Foundation. Guess who the President of this group is? Yep-Paige Patterson. Please note the names on the books for sale. It appears to me that this is really *The PaigePatterson Yet Lives* Foundation.
Therefore, one can theorize that Sharayah has an agenda which appears to include push Paige, show disdain for his critics, including victims of his inability to deal with sex abuse, and support the tribe.
She wrote a post: Slander & the survival of the SBC: A problem larger, but not smaller, than the Paige Patterson saga. Of course, we have to slog through w the typical blather.”It’s all slander!” “False accusations against Paige Patterson!” “It’s defamation!” I do not think these words mean what she thinks they mean unless she means that everyone is deliberately lying. I suggest she read my post: Slander of an Inconvenient Truth?
In her post, she did something that upset Tiffany. She quotes Tiffany as giving a pass to Patterson but, as is usual in these tribal situations, Sharayah plays games with Tiffany’s words. I wonder if she knows how this hurt Tiffany? If she has compassion for the victims of Darrell Gilyard, and he sure had numerous victims, she should have shown far more thought in what she wrote and quoted.
So, here are the quotes in question. I will deal with Tiffany’s response to Sharayah’s selective quoting on Friday.
In 2008, Tiffany Thigpen, one of Gilyard’s accusers who is said to have encountered him in Jacksonville years after Patterson had severed contact with Gilyard, wrote a blog reminding readers to avoid godless chatter and false knowledge in regard to Patterson and another pastor also involved in the handling of Gilyard.
“There are many things being said about Paige Patterson and Dr. Vines. I have my own personal feelings about what did and did not happen in the past, and even now,” Thigpen wrote. “However, to blast them on this or any other site only based on what we are being told by the media and the past allegations of cover up, would be wrong.”
…“We know who the real criminal is here,” Thigpen wrote. “I do not believe either of these men condoned the behavior of Darrell Gilyard, nor did they feel what he did was o.k. If they did, there would have never been an inquiry in 1991 – and I know personally they pursued all of the allegations that were brought to them in June 1991.”
Tiffany wrote far more than this. Did Sharayah know this? Did she deliberately overlook the information? Or perhaps she just lost interest in *the rest of the story?*
Tune in Friday for the rest of this story.