Fairview Baptist Church (SBC) Appears to Be Ignoring Possible Warning Signs of Grooming by Their “Hot” Youth Pastor/Also, Update on Tullian Tchividjian

Ken Cheug, photographer

“For nothing is evil in the beginning.” JRR Tolkien


Since we are looking at how I use Twitter, here’s another example. I post tidbits that get attention. Y’all might be interested in what Tullian Tchividjian is up to. We do have fun as we spread info. I’ve been noticing Jeffrey Chalmers out and about as well as Elastigirl.


And one response that made me laugh.

PS-It looks like they are giving away guns at the conference. 🙄

At the conference, those who purchase tickets will be entered into drawings for prizes that include gun range sessions, semi automatic weapons, guided fishing trips, knives, bows and sporting event tickets.


Folks have asked me if I “just” write a blog post three times a week and post an EChurch. Recently, I realized that I spend over 60+ % of my time doing other blog-related stuff. I spend hours speaking with victims whose stories will not be told. I have counseled many people on how to “get out of their church” when they signed the dreaded membership covenant. Another thing I do is get involved in Twitter situations.

Twitter has been a way for victims and advocates, as well as those who may or may not love them, to intersect and spread information. Today I was going to write about another abuse situation with which I have had personal connections, but I’m saving that for Monday. Instead, I thought I would take you into a situation that developed on Twitter and how I intersected with it. I promise you this will make you mad.

The infamous hot youth pastor sticker

Several people tweeted some links and tagged me (@wartwatch.) They referenced a link that brought me here.

Who did this?

I knew immediately that this was inappropriate and maybe worrisome. In relatively short order, folks pointed me toward the church’s name and the youth pastor.

I called the church, attempting to warn them. This was a waste of breath!

I then went to the church website to verify names. Here is a link to the leadership team at Fairview Baptist Church. I then went to the SBC Church Directory and confirmed that they were members of the SBC. Indeed the SBC churches have been educated on responding to episodes like this. Nope!

I called the church and spoke with a woman who answered my call. I said I was concerned about the sticker and conveyed that this was being vigorously discussed on Twitter. I asked to speak to someone, and she said she would take my information and have “someone call you back.” She seemed relatively upbeat, so I thought she was not getting what I was saying. I reiterated that this was getting much attention. She answered cheerfully that she would let them know. I knew that something was up.

Looks like the church knew something about this and not much happened.

Twitter, as usual, assists in gathering information.

Something was up. The church knew bout this sticker but also knew there was more. As usual, the Twitter crowd found the information.

The first message( to the students or parents?) appears to be from the youth pastor, Cory Wall.

The second message (?to the church) appears to be from someone in the church leadership and brings up “porn addiction.”

The “hot pastor” sticker was not Cory’s first rodeo. He discussed his porn addiction with the students in the Fairview ministry. The leadership was aware of “this testimony (their words).” I found that rather odd. Is it a good thing for a youth pastor to discuss his “porn addiction” with students without telling the parents? Some parents were upset, but the church took care of it via the “Personnel Manual Guidelines.”  Does the reader feel better? Cory continued to lead the students.

Twitter seems to think this is grooming behavior, unlike the vetted church leaders.

At this point, I knew that it was likely Fairview, an SBC church, had the probability of a youth pastor who could be sexual grooming students. Did anyone from this church read anything about the trouble the SBC is in for ignoring stuff like this?

Those actions could be considered grooming for anyone new to this stuff, and No Eden Elsewhere (who knows her stuff) got it.

Amy Smith went further.

This SBC church goes silent.

They didn’t call me back, so I tried the final way to express my concern but “no joy.”

The Twitterverse doesn’t stay silent.

And Hope spread her concern another way. I wonder if the lead pastor is ducking his emails today?

I believe that the concerned family members of the students could have originally posted the “Hot Pastor” sticker on Twitter. I also think they came to Twitter looking for help and support. I suspect the church leaders are naive, which can be dangerous for students. In my former church, a leader told a concerned family member that the youth volunteer from SEBTS was only using “locker room humor.” He continued to molest untold numbers of young teen boys in my church.

Folks, make leadership act logically or get your teens out of the program. After all of the efforts to change things in this SBC, I cannot believe that stuff like this keeps happening. As Forrest Gump might say,” Stupid is as stupid does.”

Comments

Fairview Baptist Church (SBC) Appears to Be Ignoring Possible Warning Signs of Grooming by Their “Hot” Youth Pastor/Also, Update on Tullian Tchividjian — 108 Comments

  1. This is the kind of thing that happens when we turn “pastors” into what is really religious kings. The systems we have for pastors and priests simply suck. Church needs to look far different with authority and power spread around. It is likely that the pastors have all of the authority in this “church” and the congregation have none. Please do not associate Jesus with this system. This is how hell works with Satan as top religious king. We do not need to be following his example. That is a road straight to hell…

  2. Numero Uno?
    Can this church be that clueless? Why are not surprised? It seems that Christians in church leadership are unbelievably naive.

  3. According to the online thesaurus, this use of the word “hot” signifies aroused, lustful, empassioned … or perhaps the one deemed “hot” is one that arouses or causes lust in others.

    Weird sticker from a youth pastor for the church youth. Particularly strange coming from a youth pastor who has struggled with addiction to smut or filth.

    Nothing funny about any of this. Yuck.

    Normally professionals who work with youth but carried on like this youth pastor would be given the boot, out the door. Coaches, teachers, and such. Zero tolerance. Done and over in their profession.

  4. The actions of this youth pastor would be considered sexual harassment in the public sector. After all the concerns and warnings to the church going unheeded, the government would be involved and possibly a lawsuit!

    This church is absolutely clueless. It seems like churches just don’t do any training in this area at all.

  5. Also on Twitter, we’ve been discussing Denton Bible Church and how it handled its own sexual abuse case–not well.

    https://www.fox4news.com/news/fox-4-investigates-14-girls-sexually-abused-by-north-texas-youth-pastor-the-red-flags-the-church-ignored

    One woman pointed out that the pastor, Tommy Nelson, preached sermons on and published a book about the Song of Solomon. The poster said the sermons were in explicit language and that was the gimmick–“sex talk cloaked in ‘Bible teaching.'” My comment was “Preaching racy sermons about the Song of Solomon sounds like grooming to me, along with the other stuff.” Nancy French, who has done incredible work in helping victims of Kamp Kanakuk, replied with “Exactly.”

    I’ve thought about this all day–if the lead pastor is preaching this stuff, if the junior high school pastor is in that milieu and has those inclinations, yeah, this is the kind of thing that happens. I also have to wonder what else went on, basically encouraged by the loose sexy talk from the pulpit? *shakes head* Ugh!

  6. You have a “student pastor” who is +/- 20 years older than the high schoolers, has a history of pornography addiction, and wants the students to consider him “hot.”

    What could go wrong?

    If I recall correctly, this is the point where abusers say, “Oh, you need to lighten up. It’s just a joke.”

  7. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes,

    Guess what? I sat through his Song of Solomon series, and yes, it was explicit. He would come to area churches and do sermons on the subject. I am so upset I sat there, wishing the thing was over and not saying anything, that I am gathering up my inner n=anger to write about this on Monday.

  8. Dennis,

    Hi Dennis
    Thank you for telling me about this. I also appreciated the list of the LCMS schools that have offended. I am putting this info into a draft and will write about this shortly. Thank you for being persistent.

  9. Ava Aaronson: According to the online thesaurus, this use of the word “hot” signifies aroused, lustful, empassioned … or perhaps the one deemed “hot” is one that arouses or causes lust in others.

    Anyone remember “Hot for Teacher” by Eddie Van Halen (and/or David Lee Roth)?

    Music video would get me modded but any search engine should bring it up on YouTube.

  10. dee: Guess what? I sat through his Song of Solomon series, and yes, it was explicit.

    A second Deep Throat Driscoll?
    (I had to check the link to see if you were referring to ol’ Bee Jay up to his ol’ SOng of Solomon tricks.)

    Technically, SoS is ancient Jewish erotic poetry; outside the Christianese Bubble there is a difference between Erotic and Pornographic.

  11. “One of the speakers at the event will be pastor Tullian Tchividjian … guys laugh and have fun … music played by a full band and high energy performances like martial arts demonstrations … car show, an axe throwing game, an obstacle course, and boxing machines …”

    https://news.yahoo.com/two-day-christian-mens-conference-154900985.html

    “Hurry, Hurry, Hurry, Step Right Up To The Greatest Show On Earth!” shouts the carnival barker. Quite a spectacle with the Great God Entertainment watching over it all.

  12. Old Timer: It seems that Christians in church leadership are unbelievably naive.

    Awww, but they have a touch of charisma, a gift of gab, and a bag of gimmicks … that’s why they draw a crowd. But not a spiritual bone in their body.

  13. dee: I am so upset I sat there, wishing the thing was over and not saying anything

    I once visited a church where it was obvious that the pastor was greatly off-track with his sermon … twisting and abusing Scripture with crazy exegesis. About the time I was going to get up and leave, a young man behind me stood to his feet and shouted at the pastor “No, that is not right!” He was abruptly escorted out of the church by two elders/bouncers. While I may not have agreed with his style (at the time), I appreciated the young man’s boldness to speak correction into the mess. Guess we all need to do more of that, as the pulpit drifts further and further from delivering the way, the truth and the life.

  14. I am curious as to when the youth pastor model started like we have today. When I became a follower of Christ many years ago we didn’t have a hot shot young guy but really we just hung out with the adults. Occasionally the church did some activities with us but we didn’t have a dedicated team to teach us other than Sunday school. Now it seems that there is a whole separate division just working with children.

  15. Is it my imagination but does that photograph in the into remind anyone else of ‘precious Josh’?

    maybe it’s the smirk
    ???

    Warning signs ignored – that is a way of PARTICIPATING in what is majorly inappropriate for young people

  16. Church leadership assessment of their youth pastor’s sexual grooming, crossing boundaries, of youth group kids in his care: “He is meeting with his leaders to discuss the mistake he made and that it was made in very poor taste.”

    1. Church leadership failure in assessment: “mistake”? … “poor taste”? … No. Intentional crossing of boundaries with students in his care. “discussing”? … talk is cheap.

    Pastor airs his personal filth addiction struggles to his church’s youth group kids in his care.

    2. Youth pastor fail. Inappropriate introduction of personal sex filth immorality struggles to kids in his care.

    Pastor distributes “I *heart* hot youth pastors” stickers to his church’s youth group students so they can publicly post these.

    3. Youth pastor fail. Inappropriate narcissistic introduction of his self as aroused/arousing and lusty mentor to youth group kids in his care, for public crass or crude braggadocio.

    3rd time’s the charm. Another youth pastor predator pervert (these youth pastor guys LOVE or rather lust for church youth group boys and girls) and his church leadership employers that hired and enable him, maintaining church as the hunting ground.

    Note to church: consider your church as a hunting ground.

  17. Chuckp: Now it seems that there is a whole separate division just working with children.

    The org Jews for Jesus, to avoid lawsuits from parents regarding messing with their children, strictly adheres to a policy of only reaching out to those 18 or older. Last we heard, J4J forbid org engagement with minors.

    Do Jewish parents care more about their children than Evangelicals?

  18. Another questionable aspect to this youth pastor and this church: asking the minors to come see me and update their information in the church database.

    Who really needs the minors’ information: the church or the groomer/pervert/youth pastor?

    No church should request the personal information from minors. They should ask the parents permission for personal information, only what is minimally needed.

    How does the church protect this information? I’d guess very poorly.

  19. Am I the only one that is bothered by the fact that a business {I fear a ‘We’re a Christian company!!’ business} did NOT see a problem with printing up such stickers?

  20. Iwoots,

    no, you’re not alone.

    “christian”…. entitled to ignore boundaries except for those based on whimsy & calculated invention (based on ‘biblical’ when it allows for what is convenient & self-serving)

    well, that’s one definition, at least.

  21. Chuckp: youth pastor model … we didn’t have a hot shot young guy but really we just hung out with the adults

    That’s actually closer to the New Testament model, where old saints mentored young believers.

  22. Chuckp: I am curious as to when the youth pastor model started like we have today.

    I tried to look it up once. As far as I can tell it is very modern. Certainly no earlier than the industrial revolution, and probably not earlier that mid to late 20th century. I personally believe it is a disastrous model for the church for multiple reasons. One is how it invites abuse because it requires to a large number of volunteers to keep it running.

  23. Iwoots: Am I the only one that is bothered by the fact that a business {I fear a ‘We’re a Christian company!!’ business} did NOT see a problem with printing up such stickers?

    Disgusting. Probably the same company that markets “Calvin is My Homeboy” t-shirts. A new breed of young “Christians” love stuff like this and ministries promote such nonsense to draw a crowd.

  24. Mr. Jesperson: This is the kind of thing that happens when we turn “pastors” into what is really religious kings.

    Narcissists look for supply. Church can be their goldmine, if the org is set up right and run well … to be a narcissist’s supply. Pastor annointed as priestly king would certainly work well for a narcissist seeking a hunting ground for his supply.

  25. Ken F (aka Tweed): someone in the church had to approve the purchase

    Yeah, all the church staff probably gathered around when the box came in to laugh and talk about how cool the new stickers were. The spiritual immaturity of American churches has reached an all-time high (or low).

  26. Max: The spiritual immaturity of American churches has reached an all-time high (or low).

    And going to Tullian’s “Man Up” conference ain’t going to help them any!

  27. Ava Aaronson: Narcissists look for supply. Church can be their goldmine, if the org is set up right and run well … to be a narcissist’s supply. Pastor annointed as priestly king would certainly work well for a narcissist seeking a hunting ground for his supply.

    And no matter how much supply, It Will Never Be Enough. NEVER.
    Like a Cenobite from Hellraiser, they will always want more.

  28. Max: And going to Tullian’s “Man Up” conference ain’t going to help them any!

    All you’ll get is “Just like Andrew Tate the InCel King, Except CHRISTIAN(TM)!”
    With a similar siphon into your wallet.

  29. Max: Yeah, all the church staff probably gathered around when the box came in to laugh and talk about how cool the new stickers were.

    In the words of Beavis & Butthead:
    “He’s Gonna SCORE!!!!! Heh-Huh! Heh-Huh! Heh-Huh!”

  30. Ken F (aka Tweed): One is how it invites abuse because it requires to a large number of volunteers to keep it running.

    And where easy prey congregates, The Predators Will Swarm.

  31. Max: That’s actually closer to the New Testament model, where old saints mentored young believers.

    It’s part of Community and Mentoring regardless. Church context or no.
    Teaching the next generation, passing on the memes and mores of the Community’s culture.

  32. Bridget:
    The actions of this youth pastor would be considered sexual harassment in the public sector. After all the concerns and warnings to the church going unheeded, the government would be involved and possibly a lawsuit!

    This church is absolutely clueless. It seems like churches just don’t do any training in this area at all.

    This is absolutely true. At the huge apparel company from which I retired six years ago, we had to take yearly intranet courses on sexual harassment, among other topics. This youth pastor’s antics would never have been countenanced in this very secular environment. Not even close.

  33. Chuckp:
    I am curious as to when the youth pastor model started like we have today.When I became a follower of Christ many years ago we didn’t have a hot shot young guy but really we just hung out with the adults. Occasionally the church did some activities with us but we didn’t have a dedicated team to teach us other than Sunday school.Now it seems that there is a whole separate division just working with children.

    We usually have a husband-and-wife team running the youth group. Currently our parish youth group is run by two women, one a widow, one a wife and mother. But youth groups aren’t a huge big deal in Catholic-Land. It’s a different culture, I guess.

  34. Ava Aaronson: Unless it’s a predator’s hunting ground.

    These Preds saith one to another:
    “Pred unto Pred o’er the world is Brother!”

  35. Ava Aaronson: The org Jews for Jesus, to avoid lawsuits from parents regarding messing with their children, strictly adheres to a policy of only reaching out to those 18 or older. Last we heard, J4J forbid org engagement with minors.

    That is prohibiting missionary outreach to minors not of your religion even if of your ethnicity which is different from ministering to minors given into your care by their parents or guardians for such ministering. Note Jews have historically very bad experiences of Christians going after their children (lookup Edgardo Mortara). Admittedly some churches do aim missionary activities towards children even very young children without the consent or knowledge of their parents or guardians.

  36. Erp,

    That is a crucial distinction. Church youth group might be good or bad, but it is directed at a congregation’s own children. That is different from proselytizing.

    Both the SBC and J4J have a shocking history of proselytizing Jewish children. By “Jewish children” I mean children who do not accept Jesus as the Messiah, children who practice Judaism, not Christianity. I do not know what either SBC or J4J is currently doing, but both groups targeted Jewish children for conversion in the past.

  37. Friend: J4J have a shocking history of proselytizing Jewish children.

    Founder Moshe Rosen, speaking often at our church before he passed, stated their policy is strictly against this, to avoid lawsuits from parents.

    (Perhaps lawsuits preempted the policy, and were the catalyst.)

  38. 60 Minutes had an SBC interview today.

    The president said they hid a list of over 700 clergy offenses for over 10 years and didn’t do anything.

    Viewers’ response?

    “Boy Scouts, Catholics, and SBC.”

  39. dee: Song of Solomon series

    The Song of Solomon is not about matters erotic, just like Prov 21: 10-31 is not about wives.

    I’m too fed up to look into what the former is about but the latter is about God’s spiritual economy: trading in Holy Spirit talents in order to safeguard each others’ integrity.

  40. The church’s Facebook page indicates that this youth pastor has been placed on “administrative leave” while the matter is being investigated.

  41. Ava Aaronson: 60 Minutes had an SBC interview today.

    The president said they hid a list of over 700 clergy offenses for over 10 years and didn’t do anything.

    I watched the 60 Minutes interview. Pastor Barber (SBC President) covered a lot of issues that SBC is facing – sexual abuse by church leaders being the most horrendous. But not one peep about the New Calvinist takeover of the denomination with its young reformers running roughshod over traditional (non-Calvinist) SBC congregations, which is another form of abuse. I continue to be amazed that this never comes up from SBC executives.

  42. Michael in UK: The Song of Solomon is not about matters erotic, just like Prov 21: 10-31 is not about wives.

    I’m going to disagree with you here. The Song of Solomon is plainly about attraction and physical love between a man and a woman. It can be viewed as allegory, but I don’t understand why God and the Church would comment about each other’s beautiful teeth, thighs, and so on.

    Proverbs 31:10-31 is plainly about wives. I don’t read much Hebrew, but the original is apparently an acrostic poem.

    The Bible does acknowledge the existence of marriage relationships. The story of Jesus at the wedding at Cana illustrates this phenomenon as well. Given the warped behavior of some church officials, we are probably fortunate that Scripture exalts marital happiness in a few places.

  43. Update:
    Looks like the “Hot Youth Pastor” has been placed on leave, and there will be an “investigation.” Looks like the lead pastor is unhappy with social media.

    https://youtu.be/VHPdG9mP0xA

    I bet it will be an internal investigation.

  44. dee: I bet it will be an internal investigation.

    With the results already determined:
    PERSECU%ION!!!!! by Social Media GOSSIP!!!!!

  45. Friend: Michael in UK: The Song of Solomon is not about matters erotic, just like Prov 21: 10-31 is not about wives.

    I’m going to disagree with you here.

    And I’m going to agree with Friend.
    Michael from UK has gotten over-Spiritualized in this.
    Why cannot passages like these have dual meanings? One direct and physical, one illustrating something spiritual?

    Remember outside the Bubble, “Spiritual” does not mean “Superior” but UNREAL.
    With lots of vocal type examples of “Denial of Observable Reality”.

  46. Friend,

    I have not directly encountered J4J, but I have observed the public face of “Messianic Jews” and find very little Jewishness in them. The impression I’ve always gotten is “Calvary Chapel with Hebrew Buzzwords” – “HAVE YOU ACCEPTED YESHUAL HA-MOSHIYAH AS YOUR PERSONAL ADONAI AND SAVIOR???????”

    And part of that appropriated Fundagelical culture is aggressive Witnessing(TM).

  47. Is it inconceivable this is simply poor judgment by an immature and moronic youth pastor? Perhaps he has not been discipled effectively? In any event, jumping to conclusions about grooming is potentially defamatory – for those making such accusations publicly via comments like these, or on Twitter or elsewhere, you should be careful.

    If this guy has done something that violates the law then by all means he should face the consequences. If he were the youth pastor at the church I attend, and it appeared to be a one-off thing, I’d want to see him rehabilitated. If it appeared to be a pattern, he should be fired and I would question the supervision of the lead pastor.

  48. dee: Looks like the lead pastor is unhappy with social media.</blockquote
    A Robert Morris-type response to shame the congregation from spending time on the Internet reading concerns about his church and staff.

    "… I have to say this, um, I’m really concerned about how much time people spend on the Internet. I’m extremely concerned about it. Extremely concerned about it; here’s one thing, just even the blogs that mention Christian leaders, and I’m one of ‘em. Praise the Lord, I’ve made the Satan, Satan’s hit list now you know …" (Robert Morris, Pastor, Gateway Church)

    If it weren't for Christian watchblogs, clergy shenanigans would go undetected for years.

  49. Gus Nelson: Is it inconceivable this is simply poor judgment by an immature and moronic youth pastor?

    Yes, that is possible, and most of us would not want to have an immature moron leading our youth.

  50. Gus Nelson: In any event, jumping to conclusions about grooming is potentially defamatory – for those making such accusations publicly via comments like these, or on Twitter or elsewhere, you should be careful.

    “Nice little effort to protect children you have there. It would be a shame if anything happened to it.”

  51. Gus Nelson: If it appeared to be a pattern, he should be fired

    Next time it will be fridge magnets instead of stickers. Totally different thing, requiring a totally different internal review.

  52. Max: I continue to be amazed that this never comes up from SBC executives.

    Maybe cuz’ they’re in on it?

  53. Friend: most of us would not want to have an immature moron leading our youth.

    And yet this seems to be what qualifies so many for the position. The immature morons make the “senior” pastors feel less immature and moronic.

  54. Friend: Next time it will be fridge magnets instead of stickers. Totally different thing, requiring a totally different internal review.

    And there are so many different items to keep it going: mugs, wristbands, stress balls, keychains, etc.

  55. Gus Nelson: jumping to conclusions about grooming is potentially defamatory –

    It is the refusal of the church to understand grooming behavior. Be careful how you use the word “defamatory.” In US law, it means to lie in order to cause harm to another intentionally. That is why we can write about what we believe to be true. A pastor who deliberately plays a game with the word “hot.” regarding self is worrisome. Yes, it is quite possibly grooming behavior, given this man’s stated problem with porn addiction. It’s time we wake up and face the problem of sexual abuse in the church, which means facing potential grooming behavior.

    YOu then claim we should be “careful.”I’ve been blogging for 13 years and have never been sued. That is because I am careful, but I know my rights. And that sticker reeked of grooming behavior.

    You said this may have been a “one-off,” but you are in error. This man talked to the kids about his pron addiction without notifying the parents. Something is off about this guy who graduated from SEBTS. My guess is that there is more hiding in the bushes.

    So go ahead and be careful. That is just what got the SBC into trouble in the first place.

  56. Headless Unicorn Guy: I have not directly encountered J4J, but I have observed the public face of “Messianic Jews” and find very little Jewishness in them. The impression I’ve always gotten is “Calvary Chapel with Hebrew Buzzwords” – “HAVE YOU ACCEPTED YESHUAL HA-MOSHIYAH AS YOUR PERSONAL ADONAI AND SAVIOR???????”

    And part of that appropriated Fundagelical culture is aggressive Witnessing(TM).

    I’ve always called them Baptists in sheep’s clothing. Many years ago, my then-boyfriend and I were coming out of a Boston T station and a J4J was handing out tracts at the top of the escalator. My boyfriend, normally a mellow, laid-back guy who only kept kosher during Jewish holidays, completely lit into the guy while I stood off to the side, utterly bemused. The only other time I saw ex-bf get similarly upset was when neo-Nazis marched in Boston. He made a point of going out and counterprotesting. The thing both of these had in common is that neither the J4J or the neo-Nazis respected Jews as Jews and wanted Jews to either be Not Jewish or just Not Exist.

  57. dee: A pastor who deliberately plays a game with the word “hot” regarding self is worrisome.

    IMO, we need to stop giving these hot boys a “pastor” title by reevaluating the youth ministry model altogether. Putting a flesh baby in charge of other flesh babies is an accident waiting to happen. Why is it that the first church job these guys get fresh out of seminary is youth pastor? That implies they are not experienced enough, spiritually mature enough, and unproven as a church leader to be any other sort of pastor, so put them over the kids! We don’t think much of our kids when we do that.

  58. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes,

    My parents go to Denton Bible and I’m familiar with Tommy’s Song of Solomon series. It is not directed at underaged kids. It is directed at young adults and is in not predatory or salacious. I personally would not attend DBC because I have different beliefs theologically. However, it is a good church. Nevertheless, I am extremely disappointed in their handling of the middle school pastor situation. They had a Christian moral obligation to look into this more and report this to the police (whether they were required to legally or not). They failed here and allowed this man to go on and destroy the lives of many more girls. I’ve thought for a long time that there is just not enough objectivity and accountability in churches. Every church needs people who can stand up and make the right call despite the fact it might upset the pastor or “tarnish the reputation of Christ”. Parents you have got to report these things to the police. Go to the police first then contact the church.

  59. dee,

    This guy was normalizing “hot mom” culture and he was normalizing “hot youth pastor” culture. How is that not grooming? These are things you want to address with kids in a constructive way that leads them away from these ideas. My high school son told me the other day that he saw an acquaintance at school wearing a shirt that said “I date hot moms”. It gave me the opportunity to talk with him further about the boundaries that are in place between adults and kids.

    All of this suggests that there are likely other issues going on with this guy. Even if he claims his porn addiction is in his past, his actions and behaviors suggest otherwise.

  60. dee,

    Dee: You’ve accused this guy of grooming. Hiding behind “what I believe to be true” isn’t sufficient, but I’m glad you’ve never been sued. Maybe he has been grooming someone and, if so, he deserves whatever consequences he receives. Would I keep him on as youth pastor? No. Presumably we’re in agreement on that. I’m not defending him – at bare minimum he acted in extremely bad taste – but as of now there is no evidence he’s groomed anyone.

    One can be both in favor of dealing properly with sexual abusers and being wise in the handling of such accusations. Every situation isn’t the same.

  61. Longhorn fan: This guy was normalizing “hot mom” culture and he was normalizing “hot youth pastor” culture. How is that not grooming?

    I agree. It is grooming behavior whether or not it is conscious. Given his “porn addiction” there is reason to further be concerned.

  62. Longhorn fan: All of this suggests that there are likely other issues going on with this guy

    Someone should be checking what he has been posting on social media and texts

  63. dee: It is grooming behavior whether or not it is conscious.

    An adult’s presenting himself or herself to children as sexually desirable or discussing his or her sexual feelings with children is always inappropriate and can legitimately be described as “grooming behavior,” regardless of whether the adult thinks so. We can’t base our youth safety policies and decisions on the need to read adults’ minds. Every adult should know the rules and follow them, in any organization.

  64. Max: That implies they are not experienced enough, spiritually mature enough, and unproven as a church leader to be any other sort of pastor, so put them over the kids!

    I think there may be a connection between the idea that women can teach children, but not grown men, and young, not mature enough to teach adults, man can teach kids.

    Aside from that, there is this concept that kids will only listen to someone who is young and hip rather than a stodgy adult their parents or grandparents age. Which can be true for certain teens. Not sure that means you should embrace it.

  65. ES,

    In some churches, the members are supposed to accept every single thing about every man, but virtually nothing about a woman. Keeps things simple.

  66. Cynthia W.: An adult’s presenting himself or herself to children as sexually desirable or discussing his or her sexual feelings with children is always inappropriate and can legitimately be described as “grooming behavior,” regardless of whether the adult thinks so. We can’t base our youth safety policies and decisions on the need to read adults’ minds. Every adult should know the rules and follow them, in any organization.

    Basic common sense. What every professional should know and follow.

  67. dee: So go ahead and be careful. That is just what got the SBC into trouble in the first place.

    Regarding being careful:

    How about the youth pastor being careful with his nonprofessional behavior on the job with the kids in his charge? That’s where being careful needs to be applied.

    Enough with being careful with the predators or perverts or groomers or professionals practicing highly unprofessional behavior (at the very least).

    The professionals need to be careful with their questionable work behavior.

  68. ES: there is this concept that kids will only listen to someone who is young and hip rather than a stodgy adult their parents or grandparents age

    I was young and now am old. Guess I was an exception to the rule when I was a kid. I respected, listened to, and learned much from the adults in my family and church. As a grandfather now, I teach my grandchildren things I learned from my father and grandfather. They respect, listen to, and learn from me … I teach them about the natural world (I was a professional biologist) and the spiritual world, we hike and fish, we identify birds and flowers, we laugh … I tell them we have God, we have each other, and we have today. I love them and they love me.

    I never had a youth pastor who knew much about the things of God; they only offered shallow Bible studies, pizza, and skating parties. I suppose I never was hip, but stodgy even as a youth … to some, I am a stodgy old guy. It’s getting harder to offer wit and wisdom to the Wartburgers, but I’ll stick with it as long as I can to help chase the bad guys from the church; I have my grandchildren to think about.

  69. Headless Unicorn Guy: “Messianic Jews”

    Lots of different experiences here. For us in our neck of the woods? All good. However, not to negate or invalidate what you have experienced. Add to the mix, not negate. No generalizations, IMHO. Broad topic.

  70. Max,

    My personal experience is that if you build a good relationship with a child or teen. One that treats them with respect, they are generally very interested in the input from adults they know and trust. If you treat them poorly, it destroys their trust, and they aren’t all that interested in what you have to say. Kind of like adults! Sometimes, youth groups function as a “corrective” when that process has gone wrong (for one reason or another). Adults who resemble those who have broken trust with the kids cannot build relationships with them.

  71. dee: So go ahead and be careful. That is just what got the SBC into trouble in the first place.

    Why would one tiptoe on eggshells around the lame leaders, instead of protect children and youth?

    Thanks for your post, questioning the unprofessional behavior of another entitled religious leader (and the leaders above him) who are positioned (and paid) in their org way above their competency.

    All the pushback – the leaders might lose their reputation? They destroyed their own reputations. They might lose pay? They’re already being paid too much for unprofessional behavior and poor job performance. Someone might lose their job? Good. They’re not doing their job.

  72. ES: My personal experience is that if you build a good relationship with a child or teen. One that treats them with respect, they are generally very interested in the input from adults they know and trust.

    If you treat them as if they already were what they could be, that’s what they will become.

  73. Max: If you treat them as if they already were what they could be, that’s what they will become.

    Wonderful words, Max.

  74. Max: If you treat them as if they already were what they could be, that’s what they will become.

    Does that also apply to treating them as UTTERLY DEPRAVED SINNERS SINNERS SINNERS?

  75. Muff Potter: Max: I continue to be amazed that this never comes up from SBC executives.

    Maybe cuz’ they’re in on it?

    Privilege of Pastoral Rank (nudge nudge wink wink know what I mean know what I mean…)
    “TOUCH NOT MINE ANOINTED!!!!!!!”

  76. I have an honest question: is it ever appropriate for a youth leader to share a previous porn problem with the students? The scenario I’m thinking of is a female youth director (essentially a pastor, but the church does not allow female pastors) who shared her testimony with several hundred students during a message on a mission trip. That testimony included a porn problem when she was a student herself, and how her own youth leaders helped her to get help for it.

    Is it ever appropriate for a leader to essentially say to a group of students, hey, I’ve been there, and if you’re struggling with porn, it’s okay to talk to me about it? This might not be something students are willing to talk to their parents about.

    Is grooming a pattern of behavior rather than one specific situation?

  77. Headless Unicorn Guy: Does that also apply to treating them as UTTERLY DEPRAVED SINNERS SINNERS SINNERS?

    As a survivor of that kind of prediction, I’d say it did not turn me into a depraved sinner. It did upset and confuse me. I realized I had to figure things out alone, without good examples or guidance.

  78. Sarah: shared her testimony with several hundred students during a message on a mission trip. That testimony included a porn problem

    Personal drama does not belong in messages, especially to young people. The specific drama you describe was a porn problem. Presenting it in public might erode healthy boundaries in those young people. I don’t view this as a healthy way to encourage kids to seek help from a trusted adult.

    A lot of testimonies are exaggerated. Even more reason not to use them to lure people into worship.

  79. Friend,

    Again I pose the question:
    Why are such large swathes Evangelical Christianity so obsessed with human sexuality?

  80. Friend: Given the warped behavior of some church officials, we are probably fortunate that Scripture exalts marital happiness in a few places.

    Friend:
    Michael in UK: The Song of Solomon is not about matters erotic, just like Prov 21: 10-31 is not about wives.

    In consideration of the over done emphasis on sexuality and erotic union in many “Christian” environments and modern culture and media (to the exclusion of other things like good manners and life and breath and doing life together before and beyond sex acts) it would, be good to bring out the non-sexual, non-erotic aspects that are in Scripture where marriage and lovers are mentioned, IMO.

    Song of Solomon: ” I am my beloved’s and he is mine” (exclusive) , “my sister, my bride” (both human, same family, no power differential), “my beloved, my FRIEND”. I have yet to hear these parts of Song of Solomon referred to and emphasized when it’s brought up. Jesus at Cana: he did what his mother thought was important, and asked for, even when it wasn’t “his time.” I wonder if any of the dude bros ever glimpse and see these things in Scripture, or do their wives? I’m just tired of the sex acts priority in church and culture.

  81. Friend: I realized I had to figure things out alone, without good examples or guidance.

    With a lot more danger of going off the rails than if you’d received some good teaching on the subject.

  82. Ella: Song of Solomon: ” I am my beloved’s and he is mine” (exclusive) , “my sister, my bride” (both human, same family, no power differential), “my beloved, my FRIEND”. I have yet to hear these parts of Song of Solomon referred to and emphasized when it’s brought up.

    Not JUICY enough.
    (Paging Deep Throat Driscoll… Paging Deep Throat Driscoll…)

  83. Ella: I’m just tired of the sex acts priority in church and culture.

    ++++++++++++++

    Silly Christian culture, overcompensating for its sexual repression, flailing at tying to look relevant and marketable.

    Trying too hard to be something.

    …maybe some day my silly religion will grow up out of middle school.

  84. Ella: “my sister, my bride” (both human, same family, no power differential)

    I understand in the Ancient Near East, a Sister ranked higher than a Wife in Kinship. Sometimes a husband would formally adopt a Wife as Sister to raise her status and show everyone her importance to him. This might also be a subtext of Abraham before Pharoah passing Sarah off as his Sister, a cultural misunderstanding.

    “my beloved, my FRIEND”

    For some reason this resonates with me. Like today we have separated Marriage and Friendship as two different and unrelated things. Maybe because Sex is involved in one, and Sex is separate from everything else to the point you can’t have both. I do know that when you mix Sex with anything – Art, Fiction, Relationship – it has a way of taking over and turning the other part of the mixture into copies of itself like a virus infecting a cell. And I have always longed for Companionship over Orgasm.

  85. Dee, I’m reminded somewhat of an experience in 2016 when my teens were 12 and 13 and visited a Wednesday night youth program at a church. The youth pastor overshared with the youth about a pornography problem he had when he wad young. He also made a joke about semen. (My son and daughter told me). Said man now makes lots of tweets about church abuse, predators etc and has a fairly large following on Twitter.

  86. Headless Unicorn Guy: Sometimes a husband would formally adopt a Wife as Sister to raise her status and show everyone her importance to him. This might also be a subtext of Abraham before Pharoah passing Sarah off as his Sister, a cultural misunderstanding.

    Interesting. I had a sense of the higher status, but didn’t know the ANE culture info. Thanks for the ANE info. It’s interesting to me that “My sister, my bride” has “my sister” first, like that’s achieved and recognized and demonstrated before the marriage. That seems like a good order to me. And in “my beloved, my friend” the “my beloved” is first. In a past church, a couple tried to get a few laughs(IMO) by reversing the order of Isaiah’s “your maker is your husband.” This was before the coming deceptive takeover. I didn’t laugh at the skit, maybe should have written a letter then, too, but would not likely have prevented the deceptive takeover.

    Headless Unicorn Guy: I do know that when you mix Sex with anything – Art, Fiction, Relationship – it has a way of taking over and turning the other part of the mixture into copies of itself like a virus infecting a cell.

    This sounds like a very unloving nightmare.

    Just watched, for the first time, “The Secret Life of Bees,” an uplifting, hopeful story of family/community companionship in the midst of harsher realities.

  87. Elastigirl: maybe some day my silly religion will grow up out of middle school

    I like your word picture. Sad, but a lighter way of describing the problem than I can do. Thanks.

  88. Sarah: Is grooming a pattern of behavior rather than one specific situation?

    It’s a pattern, but usually one incident is too much. Last time my “minister” talked about “fantasies” somehow “involving” an underage girl, he “negotiated” (over the head of his boss) a subcontract in beach preaching. That was just the beginning of the end of my esteem for that particular denomination, but sadly I didn’t yet twig how bad for us hanging around within such a model of “fellowship” is (and I sought out replicas). And there is the “discussion lesson” I’ve described (see below).

    Friend: I realized I had to figure things out alone, without good examples or guidance.

    Not having met my grandparents, and what with Mum & Dad being shy of mixing themselves, this is the result for me of authorities imposing their version of sexual revolution without sufficient prayer backup. A couple of classmates were conditioned to “accept” intimat e intrusions by older people, according to what they let slip when we were 15. If that was the atmosphere in their upbringing that would be typical planet earth, it just didn’t need the kind of overt official endorsement Foucault comments on, and it didn’t benefit from religion thinking prayer untrendy.

    So now, ladies and even other gents for example, don’t know how to explain to someone like me how to relate with them. The model of “conquest” and inscrutable coyness or blatant come-ons doesn’t work for those not competitive minded and works remarkably badly for those who are.

  89. Michael in UK: It’s a pattern, but usually one incident is too much. Last time my “minister” talked about “fantasies” somehow “involving” an underage girl, he “negotiated” (over the head of his boss) a subcontract in beach preaching.

    Beach Preaching(TM) too all those Teens in Teensy-Weensy Bikinis (Jiggle JIggle)?
    Depending on his paraphiliae, that could become his personal porn show all out in the open WITHOUT blowing cover.

  90. Marie: The youth pastor overshared with the youth about a pornography problem he had when he wad young. He also made a joke about semen. (My son and daughter told me).

    At the very least, that is WTF/TMI on Steroids.
    Sometimes it’s best to NOT “Let It All Hang Out” in both senses of the phrase.
    Sometimes you end up learning more about something (or someone) than you EVER wanted to know.

  91. Headless Unicorn Guy: Sometimes you end up learning more about something (or someone) than you EVER wanted to know.

    My most recent example of such a “WTF? TIM!” moment was around 10 years ago, when I was getting involved in My Little Pony fandom; my main interest being not the show itself, but the accompanying huge volume of derivative fan works (fanfiction, comics, art. music, fanimations) “expanding the universe”.

    I observed that fanfic ran in fads where a lot of fics would get onto the same subject at the same time; for example, every time a Final Fantasy XXX or Skyrim or Team Fortress 2, released, there’d be a flood of crossover fanfics for the next couple months. (There was even a short-lived fad at one point to write all the main characters as closet serial killers. Bad Craziness) When one of these fads hit YouTube or DeviantArt or FIMFiction.net, about all you could do was strap yourself in and ride it out.

    Well, ten years ago the show was between Seasons 1 & 2, with a LOT of room in show canon to fit your original fics, and it got into a fad of Shipping (writing erotica about two characters in the show) gone Slashy (same-sex Shipping, since the majority of MLP characters were female).

    Let’s just say that 10 years ago I learned more about the Mare/Mare Gay Scene in the Magical Land of Equestria than I EVER wanted to know. The one that really got me was the fic where the shipped mares had to keep hiding from herds of Straight ponies on a Holy Crusade to smell them out and trample them all, quoting chapter and verse from a “Book of Celestia”. At which point, I went “Yeah guys. Like you couldn’t be more Obvious?”

    Epilogue:
    Some years later, someone in Bronydom came out with a truly insane Pipes-style card game based on the whole ship/slash fad – a hilarious plot-a-fic game called Twilight Sparkle’s Secret Shipfic Folder (http://www.secretshipfic.com/) and its expansion packs. The plot relationships in the cards managed to get more insane and over-the-top ridiculous than the actual Shipfics that inspired it.

  92. Don’t they get grooming or are they just plain not serious about sexual abuse?

    Hard to get serious about that sort of thing whey you’re personally Reaping the Benefits (nudge nudge wink wink know what I mean know what I mean…)