“Conflict, when handled correctly, strengthens.” Benjamin Watson
Today’s post took me on a journey into my past. Over the last year, I have become increasingly aware of God’s gracious leading of me that would one day result in this blog. As many know, I grew up in Salem, Massachusetts. My love of history was forged in playing hide and seek in Salem’s Essex and Peabody Museums which have now been combined. Students in Salem were allowed free admission. Most of my friends and I lived within walking distance of these sites, and we gave the guards a run for their money. (I repent, but I had the best hiding spot.)
I lived a block from St James Church, a Catholic Church that, in better days, had a nunnery, rectory, school, and a beautiful church. It had a huge, concrete parking lot, and when school/church wasn’t in session, Fr. Joseph Birmingham allowed us to race go-karts there. He even invited us into the rectory, offering cold drinks and snacks. He was so nice to us that I told my mom I wanted to become Catholic.
However, read the link for St James Church.
The priest pedophile scandals have especial resonance for St James Parish, for it was here that one of the first priest sex scandals came to light. The Rev. Joseph Birmingham molested dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of young boys during his tenure at St James in the late 1960’s. It was one of those molested, Paul Cultrera, who went public in 1992, causing dozens of others to come forward with their stories of molestation at the hands of Rev. Birmingham. The Catholic hierarchy naturally suppressed Cultrera’s disclosures, an effort abetted by Birmingham’s “fortunate” premature demise in 1989.
It was not until the Spotlight team at the Boston Globe revealed the multitude of priestly molestations in 2002 that the Birmingham crimes again came to light. The full shocking story is ably covered in Hand of God, a documentary put out in 2006 by Joe Cultrera, brother of Paul, and a film that should be must viewing for all Salemites. Bonus credit to any viewer who grasps the sexual pun in the title.
I would later learn that he molested one of our friends. I have often wondered about the other boys in our group. Birmingham preferred boys.
I called my mom today since I still have to distance myself due to Covid. She turns 94 this coming week. When I brought up the story, she said it upset her too much to talk about it.
.Of course, I saw the movie Spotlight, and my parents shared with me the information from the Boston Globe. I spent quite a bit reading about Birmingham and have written about this here.
So why this long history? I had become aware of something that the RCC did when this scandal became known. They offered a hotline where victims could call and report their crimes. The phone was being answered by lawyers and associates whose job was to protect the RCC. I was shocked by this. I am thankful for the work of Jeff Anderson and Associates. Jeff kindly advised me regarding the legalities of libel/defamation when I began blogging, and I have been forever grateful to Jeff and the good people of SNAP.
SBC’s ethical dilemmas: Does Rachel Denhollander wear two hats, and is this a conflict of interest?
(Christa is a retired appellate lawyer, and Denhollander is also an attorney.)
Given my background, I became concerned when I read the following post on Baptist New Global written by Christa Brown: SBC’s sexual abuse hotline raises an ethical issue. This was a difficult post for Christa to write. I, too, hesitated, but Christa speaks truth graciously. Rachel Denhollander is a respected abuse advocate who was also molested. Who can ever forget her role in bringing Larry Nasser to justice? At the same time, who can forget Christa Brown’s sexual abuse in the SBC and the decades of work that she has devoted to bringing this travesty into the public eye? She is the mother of all sex abuse victims and advocates in the SBC. I cut my teeth by reading Stop Baptist Predators.
The SBC Hotline: Denhollander’s first hat.
Remember what I said about the RCC hotline in the early days? Abused people were unknowingly speaking with lawyers for the RCC. Therefore, it is incumbent on the SBC to take that knowledge and do a better job. As of now, it appears that the SBC might have a conflict of interest in how it functions.
Callers to the Southern Baptist Convention’s sexual abuse hotline are often routed to a person who also serves the SBC’s abuse reform implementation task force.
Did you know this? I’m betting most of you didn’t. It’s information about the hotline that has not been widely disseminated. And that’s troubling.
For clergy sex abuse survivors, whom church and denominational leaders have often lied to, deceived and betrayed — again and again and again — maximum transparency about the entirety of the reporting process is essential for cultivating trust.
According to Brown, who has confirmed this information with Denhollander and Guideposts, here is what currently happens.
- Guideposts Solutions runs the hotline. This is a bit confusing for me. Weren’t they the ones who did the investigation? Why are they running the hotline as well? Has the SBC hired them to perform this function?
- Guidepost then refers abuse victims to Denhollander.
- Denhollander helps them to evaluate press and legal options.
The SBC’s Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force: Denhollander’s second hat
- If I understand correctly, this task force appears to be under the purview of the SBC, not Guidepost Solutions.
- The SBC has formally retained Denhollander as an adviser to the task force.
Since I get health care, not legal stuff, I looked up the definition of the word “retain” in the Legal Dictionary.
” To engage the services of an attorney or counsellor to manage a cause, at which time it is usual to givehim a fee, called the retaining fee. The act by which the attorney is authorized to act in the case is called a retainer.”
…There is an implied contract on the part of an attorney who has been retained, that he will use due diligence in thecourse of legal proceedings, but it is not an undertaking to recover a judgment.
Two roles? A conflict of interest?
The question raised is interesting. Does Denhollander wear two hats, and is this in the victim’s best interest when considering contact with the SBC? According to Brown, she may be, wittingly or unwittingly, occupying “dual and potentially conflicting roles.”
(1) as the designated advocate for individual survivors who make sexual abuse and concealment reports involving the SBC and its affiliated churches; and (2) as an adviser to the SBC on its handling of sexual abuse and concealment.
One of the reasons I refuse to accept advertisements, kickbacks, etc., is that I want to avoid any claim I write to make money. However, I didn’t realize that a conflict of interest can occur whether or not the person (in this instance, me) involved is being paid.
When there is a conflict of interest in the legal field, attorneys and judges will recuse themselves from one of the conflicts. Could this possibly be a solution here?
The bottom line: This is about garnering the trust of survivors.
I bet you think I am saying that one cannot “trust” Rachel Denhollander. Not at all. This has little to do with trust. I am saying that we must go out of our way to avoid any appearance of conflicts of interest by setting up standards that keep us in accepted lanes. The SBC cannot afford to look like RCC 2.0. Survivors need transparency.
- Who am I talking to?
- Are they on my side of the institution?
- Will what I say be privileged, or will it be discussed with the institution, with or without my name?
- Can one person effectively serve the institution’s goals and the goals of dealing with my abuse? What if they conflict? (They most likely will during this process.
- When push comes to shove, whose concerns will be primary?
The SBC is not without continued scandal. Therefore, it must strive to work within accepted legal standards in order to bring order to the continued chaos.
Christa wrote another column in August 2022 for BNG: Skepticism holds seeds of hope: The SBC and clergy sex abuse.
I am unapologetically skeptical about the sexual abuse reforms passed by the Southern Baptist Convention last June in Anaheim. It is a skepticism founded on the SBC’s documented “damnable” history in this arena and on the fact that details of the new reforms are deeply troubling.
…At the very core of my skepticism rests a belief that transformational change may yet be possible within the SBC. If I didn’t believe that, I would not bother with repeatedly voicing my skepticisms and criticisms and would simply walk away, as a great many other SBC clergy sex abuse survivors have very rationally done.
…We all yearn for happy endings. But if we allow our own yearning to cause us to trust in words without concomitant deeds — to see what is not yet there in reality — then we do a disservice to the countless people who have suffered and sacrificed to try to move this faith group toward accountability and care. And we do a disservice to future generations of church kids as well.
To be clear, my skepticism is not necessarily a reflection on the individuals who comprised the Sexual Abuse Task Force, nor on the individuals who comprise the newly appointed Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force.
Rather, it is a reflection on how deeply entrenched these systemic evils are within the institution of the Southern Baptist Convention — the sexual abuse of kids and congregants, the absence of clergy accountability, the cover-ups by churches, the maltreatment and bullying of survivors, and institutional betrayal at all levels.
The SBC has its work cut out for them. I have also voiced my concerns that the SBC may not be able to make significant inroads in preventing sexual abuse in its churches. Recent chatter on social media has focused on the “autonomy of churches” within the SBC family. I believe that the SBC is between a rock and a hard place. I am concerned that this belief can, and will, interfere with the ability to make significant strides in fighting sex abuse in a denomination that is quickly being viewed as the RCC of evangelicalism.
Denhollander’s critical role must be carefully defined and limited.
This is not about “liking” or “trusting” Denhollander. As Christa said (and I agree),
My purpose is not in any way to degrade Denhollander, an individual for whom I hold great admiration and gratitude for all she has done in broadly raising awareness about the dynamics of sexual abuse.
It is no surprise to me that these groups contract and retain her. However, the SBC and Guidepost Solutions should agree that scrupulously following accepted legal standards and practices regarding conflicts of interest will go a long way in garnering trust in the victims, the “autonomous” churches of the SBC, and a weary world which is looking on.
I think David Bumgardner got it right.
your point is clearly made here:
‘appearances’ are of primary concern when an institution is attempting to publicly and openly correct wrong-doing
There is NO excuse for the failures of the RCC when the earliest attempts to hush up ‘what had happened’ led to further years where predators were given chances to abuse and even more children were harmed than might have been
had the Church done ‘the right thing’ . . . . NO EXCUSE for this, NONE, EVER
the lessons of the RCC:
transparency breeds trust
if the SBC can set up a ‘conflict of interest-in-appearance’,
they have NOT learned the lessons of the RCC tragedies
perhaps Rachel Denhollander’s situation needs to be re-examined and presented openly using terms and guarantees that PREVENT any appearance of conflict of interest – that would seem like the minimal amount of work needed at present – a good beginning,
but only a beginning
Dee, good work in clearly presented a difficult problem and yes, it was done without casting suspicion on Denhollander for any personal collusion or wrong-doing – that was important, yes
“I cut my teeth by reading Stop Baptist Predators.” That makes me proud, Dee! Grateful for all the work you’ve done in bringing truth to light.
That is one tangled web. Thank you for being able to slog through that.
Don’t call SBC …call 911
“You can trust us” rings hollow right now.
Does Denhollander’s husband work for or within the SBC?
In any case, the two hats practice had disastrous results in the Mafoff crime world. The newly released Netflix doc series unpacks well the malpractice of two hats. Fox “guarding” the henhouse is up to no good.
Would the SBC hire Christa Brown to work for them? Would she even consider a career with the SBC … take money from them?
In Genesis 14, Abraham refuses any gifts or compensation from neighboring kings, saying that he does not want even the appearance of their contribution to his success. This glory was to be clearly reserved for God alone. To Abraham, appearances mattered. Genesis 14.
Ava and Christiane, both of you are spot on regarding even the appearance of conflicting interests. Abraham refused any compensation, since “he does not want even the appearance of their contribution to his success.” He set the example for us to follow. See also 1 Thessalonians 5:22 (KJV): Abstain from all appearance of evil. Can it get any clearer than that? What doesn’t the SBC understand?
I thought about this for a while, then realized I was wasting my time.
Given the decades that SBC elite protected and promoted predators, covered up abuse, ignored the abused, and how current elites have tried to CYA fairly recently…..
………. an SBC Sexual Abuse Hotline would be the last number I would call if I were being abused and the last number I would recommend to anyone who has been or is being abused.
I agree with Max. Call 911, the police, or sheriff’s dept.
This made me think about something that is rarely talked about in Christemdom. It is not really even talked about here. Who are those who love Jesus, the real One? Who are His friends? Who are His greatest enemies? Has anything changed over two millennia?
Didn’t Jesus say that those who really love Him are “those who keep His commandments?” Those who really love His Father in both word and action are His friends. His enemies were not the brutal Roman Emperor dictator. They were not the soldiers of Rome who were just as brutal. But the Word states that His enemies were the Pharisees, who sat in Moses’ Seat of authority, and the Scribes. The religious authorities and the lawyers of His day were the great enemy. The Romans would not have killed Jesus without these two groups forcing the action.
So why does no one bring this up and dare to consider that absolutely nothing has changed? Could it still be that those now sitting in Moses’ Seat and their hired experts in the law are still His biggest enemies? We constantly talk about the abusive pastors who are doing the same exact things these Pharisees did 2,000 years ago here. But what about those pesky lawyers? Take one lawyer as an example. A victim walks in and hires him and now they are on the side of the abused. But what if the Neo-Pharisee beats him to the door first? Then the same one is on the other side and is, by definition, protecting the abuser. Is this righteousness? Does the lawyer really care about what is right or wrong? Or is it only about who is providing them with a bundle of Mammon? Did Jesus not say that you cannot serve both God and Mammon? In this case, the Mammon is what is corrupting the process of justice. Is it not?
I say this because very few men go into law for any reason other than the ability to make a lot of Mammon. Can a person serve Mammon and Jesus in law? According to Jesus, no. Can I dare to ask if the lawyer at the center of this possible conflict of interest needs to decide whom they will serve? Can she make a lot of money and at the same time be a true advocate for victims? Or are these things at complete odds with each other? I think Jesus says yes they are in hopeless conflict. I do not expect to see many lawyers in heaven. And likely not one who made a bunch of Mammon on this earth. Serving Jesus costs you on this planet.
And I agree with both you and Max.
Two hats or two-faced?
Two hats or forked tongue?
Two hats or double-dealing?
Two hats or click bait?
1. Appearance = reality. What you see is what you get.
Otherwise mental reservations are liable to start occurring.
Hazing in forces is another thing that never gets a look in from outside.
2. I have read with my own eyes “bibles” that have printed in black and white inserted passages stating that chapter 14 doesn’t belong in the Bible.
How the three good Amorites helped when help was needed. How even the people of Sodom (minus its “generously posing” king who had somewhere to slope off to) got saved (what from, is worth pondering).
Is there anything the SBC does well? In light of Prov 14:4 (Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest (NLT)), it seems like the SBC has all the drawbacks of oxen but none of the strengths. Does the SBC provide anything good that makes cleaning up the BS worth it?. I cannot find any good reason to ever step foot again into a SBC church.
Speculating freely, if RD’s retainer defines her functions along the lines of “helping SBC entities better serve the interests of abuse survivors”, I think that it would be possible to “wear both hats” without conflict.
It will be interesting to observe, if we are able to observe, what recommendations are made and whether/how these are implemented.
For 150 years, the SBC had a strong international mission program under its non-Calvinist preaching and teaching of “whosoever will may come.” Millions of members and thousands of churches rallied around the “Cooperative Program” to fund mission outreach at home and on foreign fields. That all changed when the New Calvinists took over, recalled a thousand foreign missionaries, and directed millions of dollars of CP funds to plant NeoCal churches. The focus is now to plant reformed theology around the world, instead of Gospel churches.
“Is there anything good left within SBC?” Certainly! There are still millions of members and thousands of churches which have not bowed a knee to the new reformers. Most are in rural locations where a faithful people with real-deal pastors, love the Lord and their neighbors, where they minister to the lost and hurting in their communities, and teach Bible truth to their children. Individual Southern Baptist churches are worth salvaging … I’m not sure the national SBC entity is worth it any longer.
Is Rachel’s husband still working on hid PHD at a SBC seminary?
I have not heard him comment on this recently. I’ll try to find out.
I hope that there will be positive implementation. I have to admit to being a bit jaded regarding their chances.
He just completed his ThM, is not completing his degree at SBTS and is instead moving to Wales to complete his doctrate there.
It’s not worth the risk to investigate. I’m done with SBC churches.
From the main article up-top:
Two roles? A conflict of interest?
Nah, I think Denhollander just wants to have her cake and eat it too.
Dee, thank you for sharing your history. I already knew you grew up in Salem from other things you said.
I guess I missed the part about St. James Church and Father Joseph Birmingham.
I have yet to watch Spotlight and The Hand of God. May get to them eventually but making no promises because I just recently watch The Keepers. And I’m still getting over that one.
It is sad that SBC is so judgmental of the Catholic Church but has been guilty of the same thing. Pot calling kettle black.
Anyway, keep up the good work. Churches should be places of healing, not dens of predators hiding themselves and each other and abusing with impunity.
I totally agree!
The only contact I would have with an organization in which I was abused would be by way of the police and my lawyer putting a call in to their ‘hot line.’
Same here … between the unspiritual ole boys and the rebel new kids on the block, SBC is largely doing church without God. After 70 years of trying to make a difference in SBC, I joined the Done ranks (done with SBC, but not done with Jesus). However, I can say that most of my 7 decades as a Southern Baptist were spent with folks in the pew (and some pulpits) who genuinely loved Christ, in spite of the shenanigans of national SBC leaders. I grieve for the millions who are still hanging on, while the New Calvinists take them for a ride and sex abuse scandals swirl around them.
What?! Leaving Mohlerville, ground zero for New Calvinism?!! Could it be that he saw the light about the aberrations of NeoCal belief and practice? Is this a hopeful sign that Rachel will not have to live a life in complementarian bondage?
Thank you for your comment. I watched The Keepers, and it was disturbing.
Can you see me on my go-kart? I was fast.
some of the most conservative theologians come from the UK. Did you read my series on him?
I forgot to add that Spotlight won the Academy Award fro Best Picture of the Year!
I agree. The first call should be to the secular authorities. That could be the police or sheriff, or it could be to the local child protective services. In any case, the first call should NOT be to a church or to a church-run hotline. Because those exist to make things better for the church, not for the child. I could say a whole lot more, but I need to deal with my favorite (read ONLY) office chair breaking and it’s cramping my typing style.
“Conservative” doesn’t always have to mean “Calvinist.” I’m one of the most conservative people on the planet, but I had enough spiritual sense to know which theological fork in the road to take when I got there.
and all God’s children shouted AMEN! (or should have)
Agreed. Poor choice of words on my part.
I knew what you meant … he is most likely continuing his higher (?) education in reformed theology in Europe … although there were other reformers there who did not hold to that theology.
Further update. They are staying in Louisville.
Loyalty to the employer is a powerful thing. I’ve never dealt with anything as complex as church abuse cases. However, I have dealt with people who felt harmed or just unsatisfied with an organization where I was a worker or volunteer. As an insider, I always knew far more about the organization’s ideals and achievements than about the unhappy person. It’s hard to scrape all of that aside and listen, starting with empathy and a blank slate.
“WE THANK THEE,LOOOOOOOOOOOORD, THAT WE ARE NOTHING LIKE THOSE FILTHY ROMISH PAPIST ‘PRIESTS’ OVER THERE…”
— the SBC
“an organization in which I was abused” – and for those abused in families, it’s a very bold choice. Churches can be [like] families. Again, bold choices.
I would add, these are bold choices that no one wants to make.
However, in Hebrews 11, there are folks who pack up and leave … family.
This can be very complicated. Consider Moses.
Stakes can be high. Consequences serious.
Did Denhollander volunteer for one or for both positions, or is she just doing what she has been asked to do???
Ya know, like a good SBC submissive wife would do.
She does have to straddle an awfully big fence between her religion and her profession.
Hmmm. Kind of like Costi Hinn starting a PhD(?) program at The Master’s Seminary (John MacArthur’s outfit) but also keeping his church over in Chandler?
Potlucks. I miss church potlucks…
And the little old ladies giggling about how the pastor’s favorite dessert at the last potluck was the rum cake.
I think the best way to answer the above question would be to sit down and interview Ms. Denhollander if she would be willing to do so. A couple of questions I would ask are;
1. Would you encourage a person reporting abuse to call thr police, if not why?
2. What is done with the info reported, where is it stored and who gets to see it besides you.
3. Who do your loyalties lie with, the victim or your employer.
That would be a good start. It does seem to be a conflict of interest but maybe she feels that her position could affect the most change
Oh yeah! Church wimmenfolk competing for bragging rights on their favorite dishes was the highlight of my SBC experience! Some SBC pastors went into the ministry only for the potlucks.
Most likely couldn’t bring themselves to leave Pope Mohler.
The men at my church put on dinners every Wednesday night during the school year.
We were members of a SBC church for 10 years. It never had a potluck while we were members, and I don’t believe it has had any since we left. That church is no more than about 25 years old, so potlucks appear to be a tradition from a earlier generations. I have not seen potlucks mentioned in any of the recent SBC guides for how to run churches.
Denhollander’s original engagement with child sex abuse was in the arena of gymnastics, the Olympics, and a team doctor.
There are similarities and differences in coming from that arena and then dealing with a church + denom. – a church one grows up in, where family is engaged, where husband is getting his education, where husband is seeking his career and profession, etc.
The SBC bringing her in as an authority, a speaker, a consultant, an employee, a spokesperson may be to their advantage.
What does it do for the problem of the violation of children in churches?
Notably, the SBC hasn’t brought in Christa Brown, who is also an attorney, in the same capacity.
What is the relationship between Christa Brown and Rachel Denhollander?
Working for the SBC, has Denhollander brought Christa Brown onto the platform? Has Denhollander addressed the 700+ cases the Houston Chronicle documented? The predators in the SBC? Do the actual victims of SBC clergy get to share the SBC Denhollander platform? Their voices? And then their predator pastors get their day in Court like the day Dr. Larry Nassar was confronted by Denhollander?
If by “change” you’re talking coin – then I’m tracking with you.
“As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs.”
-friar Johann Tetzel
Spotlight is a great film and deserves all the accolades.
What blew me away though was the investigation occurred in 2001 and the journalists were treating RC clergy child abuse as “new” discovery.
By that time it had been more than a decade since the Mount Cashel orphanage scandal had blown abuse wide open in Newfoundland (in the early nineties the CBC did a fictionalized version of the story “the Boys of St Vincent” which highlighted the collusion between the church and both provincial and federal levels of government)
I read Jason Berry’s book “Lead Us Not Into Temptation” around 1994 and multiple court cases had been initiated in North America. Berry’s book was given to the journalists by a survivor in the Spotlight film.
I just felt these investigative journalists were a bit behind the 8 ball.
That being said, you see what you want to see especially if you believe your church body (whichever one) has a mandate from heaven. Then the “church” and “god” become inseparable.
This may be the conflict of interest in the post
Going after a secular sporting federation is easier than taking on the church where your husband may be a pastor or maybe they believe that the only way to change their denomination is internally. I don’t know enough about the SBC.
What I do know is I don’t trust god to look after my kids at a church camp. We’ve never let them go.
I’ve had questions about this for awhile and have been confused about Rachael’s involvement.
Survivors are at great risk engaging with the SBC. There isn’t healing or restitution coming from the institution – the SBC doesn’t have the emotional intelligence and conscientiousness nor expansiveness to afford or provide it. Instead it’s an endless cycle of rinse, repeat, something looks hopeful, almost something looks okay and like it might happen, and then disappointment and crash and burn and trauma all over again. For years and years. These same discussions will be going on five years from now with barely an inch of movement at best.
There has been no general institutional self-reflection. The SBC’s ethos and relational culture doesn’t allow or ask for that ind of self reflection in any area, not just sexual abuse. They will ice you out and ghost you and provoke you then play the wronged party when you ask what’s going on and then devalue/discard you. I mean in my case I was devalued the whole time I was around them for being self-differentiated and questioning anything about them. But there’s usually a final devalue that let’s you know you’re not really welcome here even though they won’t use those exact words they’re just hoping you’re picking up on the message through all the social clues they have been repeatedly sending your way.
The SBC will give the appearance of wanting to discuss something such as an institutional issue but it’s a bait and switch where you can only say certain things they have already predetermined are okay to say about an issue where they are still ultimately in control of where everything goes. The conversation is already typed out and approved and you can only play a role and they need to be the one who officially hands you the conversation making you think you’re able to come with your own words and ideas and as your own separate self. If you go off script they’ll let you know in that very passive aggressive and withholding way. They’ll usually point you to the golden child over there who is very good at staying on script and if they don’t point you to them as a way to insinuate that you need to adjust your trajectory or *else* – you’ll know who they are because they’re the ones receiving support and open doors while you and others are left out in the cold wondering what you did wrong. You need to know that you’re very wrong even though no one can even point out or say what exactly it is that you’re so very wrong about.
A church system that has Pressler and Patterson as generational grandfathers – passing their ideologies and abuse and abuse enabling (abuse of all kinds) and spiritual abuse intertwining all of it – is not a trustworthy system. The sexual abuse and coverups are encoded in that system DNA and some of the theology that supports their mistreatment of others acts as the body and structure to keep it all going and reproducing.
I would always point survivors elsewhere and ask them to use extreme caution.
Oh definitely. This is true of SBC national leaders regardless of their theological leaning and is certainly New Calvinist modus operandi. They will give you the right to parlay before your predestined excommunication.
… she must tread lightly
Horror of horrors!
They’re over-stepping the bounds of their god-ordained gender roles!
those are true men, with a servant’s heart
It’s a small world. He studied at what was Wales Evangelical School of Theology and is returning there I think or further studies. It’s now called Union School of Theology and Michael Haykin of SBST is an adjunct professor. I studied there when it was called the Evangelical Theological College of Wales (in the 1990s). If they’re staying in Louisville, is he doing distance learning? When it was WEST it developed ties with a Korean megachurch (SaRang), nominally linked to and is the largest church in the PCA (Sa Rang Anaheim). Ho hum!
I also agree that the SBC hasn’t learned the lessons of the RCs’ disastrous handling of their abuse problem. But why would they? The RCs still haven’t learned them themselves.
As I’ve commented here before, it’s in their best interest to inform law enforcement first.
I say that because sooner or later there’s gonna’ be a landmark case in which the usual cover-up tactics won’t work, and SBC big whigs will go down for complicity.
Better for Chester the molester to take the fall rather than their higher ups.
I wonder if they’re smart enough to see that?
Looks like Jacob Denhollander is pursuing a PhD at the University of Wales.
Muff, you know the story of Narcissus, right???
Thank you, Emily, for stating this so clearly & bluntly. I’ve seen this exact pattern many times. The SBC is an endless trauma-generating machine. Rinse. Repeat.
Remember there are still Paige Patterson understudies floating around in SBC leadership … “Break her down”
I have little trust run the SBC leadership.
My mistake – the elder one got subsumed in tarpits and the son tried to get Abraham into his employ (he saw Abraham as owing him).
Remember Rachel Denhollander confronting Larry Nassar in Court on behalf of herself and other victims violated by the predator doctor? Then came the sentencing. The bigger picture then engages the whole Olympics & gymnastics orgs.
Those violated by clergy justly would be given the same opportunity, and the clergy predators, like Nassar, would be jailed. Then there’s the bigger picture of the SBC and RCC orgs.
Where’s the clergy that violated, for example, Christa Brown? In Court? In jail?
This doesn’t require a hotline. What advice is there, other than “See you in Court,”? Instead of in church or the doctor’s exam room.
Hotline, consultation, advice … Nonsense.
LE, DOJ. Yes. However, even among lawyers, it took Jeff Anderson of Anderson Associates to hold RCC accountable. As the Spotlight film showed, not all lawyers seek justice by getting predators out of circulation. Some lawyers work for the other side. Some lawyers wear two hats.
Jesus never wore two hats. He never worked for the other side. Jesus settled that issue in the wilderness at the outset of his ministry.
My former SBC passport has proof positive I used to be one: the. best. pecan pie recipe. ever.
I bet during the marriage supper of the lamb I get asked to make it! (Cue evil laugh now.)
Thug, bully, scoundrel, ruffian are not names that one usually associates with ministry leaders … but here we are.
Nothing to add!
My favorite! In my neck of the woods, church potlucks would also include gooseberry and strawberry rhubarb … I had to sneak up on those 🙂
Any “man of God” worth his ordination would do the same. Yet, the American pulpit is full of compromise.
Those guys are just as much in love with themselves as they are with their theology.
I have an idea. We could have a TWW potluck. We each contribute the recipes of our favorite church potluck dishes.
Max–hubby likes rhubarb pie without strawberries. I like it both ways, but unfortunately as I have aged rhubarb doesn’t like me. Cannot even prep it for the freezer without problems. Oddly, I can make him rhubarb sauce and use the leftovers instead of banana pulp in banana bread and it gives me no troubles. I love gooseberries, but have not had any since I was a kid. Haven’t even seen any. Never had them in pie. I also make a mean chocolate pie, fry up great chicken and quail, and my dumplings are really old time southern ones. Really excellent with squirrel meat, lol. My homemade tortillas are good, and when anyone asks me the NM state question, red or green, I answer yes.
Now you don’t get more SBC than that. Survived Sunbeams, got my cotton balls finally glued to that pesky little lamb sheet, and taught Mission Friends through t ball season.
I expect to be seated at the Supper right between E Y Mullins and Herschel Hobbs.
I once asked a dear church lady for the recipe of her most famous dish. I swear she left the secret ingredient out so my attempt wouldn’t turn out as good.
Hey Dee, you are a Carolina girl now ……. so do you make Brunswick Stew??
I use a recipe I found years ago in a 1996 Southern Living booklet. We had guy who moved to Ky from NC at our church who hunted me down to tell me that this was the best Brunswick Stew he’d ever had!
Wartburgers haven’t lived until they’ve eaten old-fashioned squirrel & dumplings! I used to harvest squirrels with my Dad’s .22 to fry or make dumplin’s.
You couldn’t find a better seat. They would talk your ears off about soul competency, priesthood of the believer, and other such truths that Southern Baptists used to believe before Pope Mohler took over (I guess Mohler didn’t eat enough squirrel & dumplings growing up).
Good boy, Max. I hate picking little bitty lead balls out of squirrels and rabbits…. and doves.
Yeah, I’ve lived. Squirrel and gravy is pretty good for breakfast, too!
Do tell. Do share. Yum.
Where there’s clergy criminality, there’s only one question: How long should the sentence be? (NOT how long until the clergyman is “restored”, or how long in “rehab” for the man of the cloth, but how long should the predator preacher spend in jail?)
Well, hitting squirrels with a .22 is one thing … but rabbits on the run and a dove’s flight acrobatics are quite another! I’ve pursued them all, along with quail, pheasants, and ducks … but with 12 and 20-gauge. I used to whisper to squirrels when I hunted them “If you stop, you’re a target.” (I’ve applied that to everything in my life, to keep me moving forward)
Ava, it is under copywrite so I cannot post it. But it is southern pecan pie from the OLD, not new, Better Homes and Gardens red and white checked cookbook. If the recipe calls for light Karo or light corn syrup, it is the wrong recipe. You want the one that calls for dark Karo or dark corn syrup. Double the amount of pecans called for, and to make it extra good if you like add in some chocolate chips. Top it with homemade ice cream.
Oh my yes some fried squirrel with gravy on grits, be still my soul!! And fried quail, blue or bob white, just the thought makes my mouth water. Good cream gravy with it, over fried taters. Serve with farm fresh eggs. “Fried” apples to go with it, and some biscuits with my aunt Mac’s fig preserves.
The way breakfast is meant to be!
And yes Max, that would be a very good seat indeed, and the discussions would flow!
I forgot: SBC moderates were known to add a drop or two of elixir that ages in casks in Kentucky, and keep the pie from the young’uns.
Of late, I encounter milieux lacking in a concept of answer to prayer (as if a “god” isn’t allowed to show them up). They help, God doesn’t.
I have that cook book….. 1968 edition. That’s the same recipe I use, except I use hickory nuts instead of pecans most of the time. I use light corn syrup…. We don’t like dark syrup.
When I bake a pecan pie, I put it in a cold oven and then turn the heat on. If I preheat the oven, the middle part of the pie doesn’t set.
And yes, the more nuts, the better! I usually put in about 1 1/2 cups, rounded a little.
I have also used walnuts in the recipe, along with about 1/4 t. maple flavoring. Good if you like walnuts.
This recipe is on the BHG website, but leave out the vanilla!
Differences of degree from Rachel’s situation technically, but risk of “bleeding” sympathies (and it does mean “roll” not “role”):
i – Is there such a thing as “escrow” in America?
ii – I knew of an international denomination where a most colossally disgraced personage was sent on a “service” rather than “ministry”.
A church trustee I know of in England is also a civil servant (whose boss has a dual career), is a head of a second public body, and a trustee of a cooperative.
I heard of a church “chief executive” in England who has a role in several visible charities as well as a government job.
Experience and skill is one thing, but beyond a certain point it must be a conundrum, which ball they are to take their eye off, on which day of the week.
Apparently this sort of thing is called a “portfolio career” and I don’t think it is a matter of being short of pin money. People who are struggling to feed their families drive vehicles, stack shelves and patrol fences at night.
There must be people equally qualified to step into some of those roles to widen the pool / dilute the coterie.
In our family the saying was only “healthens and yankees” use light syrup. Whenever possible we would choose ribbon cane syrup, but that is hard to get these days. I also start it in a cold oven for the same reason! We love hickory nut pie, but they are extremely hard to get. This year we did find one tree with sweet, not bitter, nuts. Not one of our trees, but one very remote a couple of counties over. DH lavished me with about 1/8 cup shelled nuts to go on top of some homemade coffee ice cream with homemade chocolate sauce for New Years Eve.
Now, that’s a running debate in my family. I’ve been trying to reinvent my mother’s long-lost recipe. I’ve tried both light and dark Karo with mixed results. I won’t be able to call it “Max’s World Famous Pecan Pie” until I work that out (my grandsons have labeled all my dishes “Max’s World Famous …”). Linda, you appear to have mastered pecan pie!
Aha! That’s what I’ve been doing wrong!! God bless you, Nancy!
But, darn it, it calls for “1 cup corn syrup” without specifying light or dark. So it’s still a mystery to me. Linda makes great pecan pie with dark syrup … Nancy makes great pecan (and hickory nut) pie with light syrup. It sounds like the difference between Baptist and Methodist to me.
Well, if you just don’t want to go to the trouble to whip up your own, the best store-bought pecan pie (in my humble but accurate opinion) is the one Walmart sells in their bakery section for $5 … just put it in the oven and warm it up a few minutes … it tastes as good as “Max’s World Famous Pecan Pie.”
Since the pie thread drifted us off-topic from the blog piece, I just wanted to say that SBC sex abuse hotline is not a good idea … report church sex abuse to civil authorities, not SBC … it’s a crime.
Max, the recipe in my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook (1968 Ed.) specifically calls for dark corn syrup. But, like I said, we don’t like dark, so I use light.
Hey! Maybe you should make 2 pies….. one with dark and one with light…… and let the grandkids taste-test and vote!
“…ribbon cane syrup…hickory nut pie…about 1/8 cup shelled nuts to go on top of some homemade coffee ice cream with homemade chocolate sauce…”
can i come over?
(and then you can explain what ribbon cane syrup is, since i don’t know about such things, much less hickory nut pie)
“Ava, it is under copywrite so I cannot post it.”
well, there’s this:
“Courts have generally ruled that recipes are functional and therefore not able to be copyrighted. …”identification of ingredients necessary for the preparation of each dish is a statement of facts,” which is not copyrightable. The court also stated that the directions were not protected by copyright, because they are a “procedure, process, [or] system,” and copyright does not extend to those things.”
I must be a heathen, then. I am a Kentuckian, as in 22 miles north of the TN state line.
We have a hickory tree in our front yard, then several more scattered around here and there. Every autumn, the battle is on with the squirrels!
Michael in UK,
My point being – which I didn’t make clear – that in some cases – this can otherwise make for elbow jogging of wouldbe good pastors by outside interests.
Apologies for omission.
Max, I still say you’d like Lake Michigan perch and walleye from the Wisconsin lake country.
Ribbon cane syrup is a southern syrup made with, and you want it made ONLY with, ribbon cane. Not just sugar cane, and really not with sorghum. When I was a kid cans of it were sold every fall even out in NM. Here in the Ozarks I know of only one store that sells it, and then only in the fall. No curbside service at that store, and the town it is in has refused all mitigation measures for covid. But my DH said he just searched for “Old Timey Ribbon Cane Syrup” and my brand popped up, so he had some shipped. Comes in pint canning jars straight from a farm in Alabama. Also wonderful on hot rolls, biscuits, and of course corn bread. Right out of the jar it tastes like a good pecan pie filling.
Hickory, or as my family calls them, hicker nuts, are a close cousin of a pecan. Some trees produce bitter nuts, others produce sweet nuts. Mine are bitter so I let the squirrels fatten on them so they are not wasted lol. I also love to gather native wild black walnuts. DH kindly tends to the drying and hulling and shelling, presenting me with bags of shelled nuts every Christmas. He hates nuts of all kinds, so this is a real labor of love.
Sorry for the thread drift.
My brother lives in Arizona, but spends summers in Wisconsin at his daughter’s lakeside home. While there, he fishes a LOT – catches yellow perch, crappie and walleye to fillet and fry. He speaks fondly of perch and walleye fillets.
Adrift threads are needed – they keep us human.
… and keep us from being overwhelmed about the condition of the American church and its leaders
No apology necessary…. 🙂 I’ve been enjoying the conversation. 🙂 🙂 🙂
“… and keep us from being overwhelmed about the condition of the American church and its leaders”
i’d say homemade hickory nut pie, homemade coffee ice cream, and homemade chocolate sauce are the perfect antidote for such things.
even just reading about such wonders.
I’m so bad that I could consume all those delicacies at the same meal!
“But my DH said he just searched for “Old Timey Ribbon Cane Syrup” and my brand popped up, so he had some shipped.”
is Old Timey the brand you like from Alabama? i want some shipped here… clearly i haven’t lived yet.
(now to find a hickory nut pie….)
Yes it is the brand name. MMMM so good!