Perspectives: Stephanie Drury

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572 Responses

  1. Michael says:

    Good job, Reuben!

  2. Joe Marino says:

    I cannot explain why, but my first, instant response to this article is great sadness.

  3. Papias says:

    This post is going to split people down the middle.

    If you agree with Steph in terms of the evangelical Chrsitian church and Republicans and how they misrepresent Jesus, then you will like this article.

    On the other hand, disagree with her at any level and you will be made to look intolerant and unloving.

    Choices, choices….

  4. Babylon's Dread says:

    I live and work in the very shadow of a Mars Hill satellite site…

    I didn’t even know Stephanie existed… thanks… now I gotta find her.

    Joe is weeping … I am alternately trembling and laughing my gizzard out.

  5. Reuben,
    I think her “Perspective” is off centered just in the first answer.

    “they were asking me why Christians identify with the Republican party, which I could tell them all about because I used to identify as a Republican.”

    Christians do not identify with the republican party – not at all. A segment does, but Roman Catholics do not – theologically liberal Christians do not – the black churches definitely do not. I highly doubt that emergents identify in any great numbers with the Republican party. I am sure that their is a whole host that I have not mentioned.

    Now, if she walks it back to “evangelicals” – well she is just speaking to a loud minority of whackos – but – she needs to broaden her “perspective”.

  6. Josh Hamrick says:

    “Christian Culture” pretty much means evangelical.

  7. Joe Marino says:

    I think that these are the things that are making me sad about this. First of all, I see my kids as being like this disillusioned young lady. Second of all, it makes me all the more frustrated with the Christians who grab the latest trends and run with them, like substituting “Christ Follower” for Christian, or who go from the latest Christian book to the latest Christian book and make it their spiritual hobby horse for the time being until they tire of it and go to the next one (whether it be WWJD or Prayer of Jabez or whatever). Maybe I am just weary from it all, but you know what: You can be a Republican and care about the poor. The Pro-Life movement has made one big mistake, which is to be more pro-birth than pro-life. If we are going to insist that people should have the children, we should help to support them in that endeavor. Great organizations, such as A Woman’s Concern does a great job of truly being pro-life. The whole “Republicans hate the poor” argument is a straw man anyway, which makes it all the more frustrating.

  8. Rob Murphy says:

    When hip, holy and disdain collide . . . hip and disdain elbow holy right off the court.

    It’s definitely inter-church warfare, not intra-church refinement . . . two types of believers will enter the cage, none will walk out.

    If Jesus came down and handed out jerseys for His True Church, would I want to wear it if “that” guy/girl was given one too? I always hear I’ll be surprised who is in Heaven. I really wonder if I got a glimpse of the residents list, would I even want to go? When I consider that God’s mercy is intolerable for some, I seldom set myself in the subset of some.

  9. Reuben says:

    MLD, there is no center to this interview. This is why it is titled “Perspectives”.

  10. Michael says:

    I only have a minute, as usual…

    MLD, while there are many who don’t identify with the Republicans, the loudest, largest, and most influential do.
    Joe nailed it…the younger people have this perception of evangelicalism and it completely clouds over the message we’re supposed to be bringing.
    We can quibble over how accurate the perception is, but we ignore it at our peril.

  11. Shaun Sells says:

    Great interview Reuben. I have never heard of her or blog, but I will probably check it out sometime.

  12. Michael says:


    I think you’re on to something …something awful, but real.
    We’ve gone beyond division and we’re approaching war…this is what I said last week.

    How do we pull back and start to heal the divide?

  13. Lutheran says:

    Nice job with the interview.

    I was on Stephanie’s site. It’s a hoot. Hard not to laugh at some of the stuff she came up with. I was overcome with a wave of nausea at one point. I think it was from all the evangelical moralism she shines the light on.

    My favorites are #209 — Perceiving persecution and #222 — Steve Jobs. Still mystified as to why Big Steve was so worshipped by evangelicals. Meanwhile, Bill and Melissa Gates have helped millions of people but are ignored. Maybe because they’re Catholic and not Republicans.

  14. summer says:

    Thanks once again, Reuben! Awesome interview.

    “Most people wake up to manipulation and absence of relationship for the sake of the Gospel eventually. It usually causes a pretty severe crisis where they have to reassess their identity as a believer and the fact that many of their church friends won’t stay in relationship with them if they leave the church.”

    This couldn’t be more true with my experience! And it is a ‘severe crisis’! To say the least. Will I ever get over the last 33 years of CC mind think? I don’t know…..I hope someday I can overcome and undo the unhealthy mindset that I learned. It is a very confusing and sad state that words cannot even begin to express.

    But, life is beautiful still and I thank God for sites like Stephy’s!

    Thanks, Reuben!

  15. BrianD says:

    Reuben great interview, and Stephanie great responses!

  16. Rob Murphy says:

    Michael – I don’t think there will be any pulling back. Can any two walk a path who do not agree? If two can’t pick a trail to hike, there’s not likely to be healing of any divide.
    It’s that whole civil war analogy come to life. We’ll sing Christmas Carols across the field of battle and then commence to shooting the next day.
    Lately I feel that Eeyore is my patron saint . . .

  17. Josh Hamrick says:

    Joe Marino’s #7 is all over it. Well said Joe!

  18. Em says:

    there is, to me, something very insidiously evil about how the word “evangelical” has devolved in society today – if one is a Christian the prime reason you’re on this earth is evangelism, i.e., ambassadorship; making the case for our King

    and i don’t think Evangelicals found the Republican party, so much as it has found and exploited us and our ideals

    “The Pro-Life movement has made one big mistake, which is to be more pro-birth than pro-life. If we are going to insist that people should have the children, we should help to support them in that endeavor” – amen, the operative word is “support” – love Joe’s posts today

  19. Joe Marino says:

    As a Christian, I believe it is the job of the Christian and of the Church to care for the poor. As a Republican, I believe the same. That is why I have a stranger from a strange land living in my home (we took in a J1 Student Worker from Kyrgyzstan), volunteer to promote Katelynn’s Closet , am an active member and recent Past President of Kiwanis of Lower Cape Cod , participated in raising thousands of dollars for Project Eliminate to help eliminate maternal neonatal tetanus in third world countries, among other things (and I do not share this to brag of what I do, but to make my point) all in my spare time as a father, person who works in ministry, and person with two jobs living just above the poverty level. On top of that, you want me to vote for people who want to take more out of me in taxes, which will curtail my ability to do all of the above? NO THANK YOU!

  20. Shaun Sells says:

    Hey Reuben,

    I just spent 30 minutes on sccl blog. It was a hoot, although I only read the headlines.

    I think it would be fun to turn her headlines into a quiz, i.e., you might be an evangelical hipster if…

    You use the word “just” over and over.
    You think abortion is murder, but war is ok.
    You think using “omg” is breaking Gids heart.
    You vote Republican.
    Your church has a fake Starbucks.
    You call claim you married beyond your ability.
    You think Romney is more Christian than Obama.

    Etc., etc.

    You get the idea.

  21. Another Voice says:

    I’ve said this before. I believe to the fullest of my being that the liberal economic policies of the past have INCREASED poverty, not helped the poor. They have also destroyed the family, especially in minority households.

    I’m talking since the 1960s, War on Poverty, Great Society days – lest anyone want to quiblle about only the last four years and whether Obama or the tide from Bush is to blame for the rise in poverty since 2009.

  22. Em says:

    AV, i was there and we couldn’t stop the Lyndon Johnson train-wreck from happening, the country was on such a feel-good binge … it had nothing whatsoever to do with the Faith, that was and is a red herring, a Pied Piper tune … it had to do with common sense – what my Grandmother called ‘horse-sense’ (not the other horse product) – too bad we didn’t just use some Aesop fable to reason with the unbelievers: The Grasshopper and the Ant would have worked

  23. Josh Hamrick says:

    Now for the truth about Stephanie Drury : She’s just copied an idea that 100 hundred other people have already copied, and many have done it better.

    The first post on her site should have been – “Stuff CC likes: Stealing a secular idea, but giving it a Jesus twist.”

    How interesting.

  24. Shaun Sells says:

    Ok, I made through all 230 headlines, and I would say I am guilty on about 25%. I was also appropriately outraged by a few that I was ready to type answers to why, but then I remembered that never has worked for me. Instead, I assured myself I had good reasons for what I believed and moved on to the next headline.

  25. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    Thanks for The Post!

  26. GREAT INTERVIEW! So much truth in there. Amazing. Great job Reuben.

  27. Nomansapologist says:

    Great Job, Roobs! Thanks to Stephanie for sharing her thoughts with us!

  28. Josh Hamrick says:

    I should retract my #25 – It was good interview, and she has some valuable viewpoints. I’m just a little grumpy.

  29. Em says:

    Stephanie is a pain – one of those ‘once is enough’ people; another smart-mouth becoming a cliche – like all the Foxworthy-ites – a jump from one mindless state into another mindless state of cliches

    however, i am grateful for this post as it linked to Leonard Cohen and a lovely, romantic moment (not to be confused with lust – God is merciful to old people)

  30. Nomansapologist says:

    We love you Josh… Even when you’re grumpy. 🙂

  31. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    Bottom line is people need to stay in the Word and the let the Holy Spirit guide them into all truth. This will keep them from falling into abusive situations in the Church.

    John 16:13-“”However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”

    Phillipians 2:12-Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;

    We will be responsible for our workming out our own salvation. We can only play victim for so long. I am big on self accountability.

    Mars Hill, Calvary Chapel and The Catholic Church can only continue their abuses as long as people keep drinking the koolaid and don’t think for themselves. I know it’s tuff to leave a comfortable situation but at the end of the day our souls are too precious to be in deception.

  32. Rob Murphy says:

    Em @ 22 – thank you, that ‘horse sense’ then parenthetical made me laugh. My Grandfather used to say “some folks are short of horse sense and full of horse . . .”
    You gave me a great memory with that little turn!
    so good

  33. Josh Hamrick says:

    @ 30 – Thanks noms!

  34. Em says:

    as we’ here on the West Coast have been praying for Nancy and all on the Eest coast …

    for those who won’t pollute their computers with this news-site or, like me don’t have TV, these pictures are worth the compromise of a visit today, i think:

    prayer continues

  35. Pardon my naïveté, but who is Reuben?

  36. Josh Hamrick says:

    The guy who did the interview. And commented at #9. And is a moderator here.

  37. Thanks. I was wondering if I missed a byline or something.

  38. Scott says:

    I will have to give Stephanie’s blog a visit to see what I’ve been missing.

    Cool looking glasses and red lipstick, is that pic photoshopped? 😉 Gotta get my wife to change her glasses and lipstick, that way she can look hip too.

    Speaking of my wife, I heard a funny oneliner by Henny Youngman the other day, “my wife is on a coconut & banana diet, she hasn’t lost any weight but has gotten really good at climbing trees!”

    It’s just a joke!

  39. Chris Rosebrough has been doing the same thing as Stephanie for the past 5 yrs with his Museum of Idolatry. Note, he doesn’t call it Christian Culture – he calls it what it is. And I think his are funnier. 🙂

  40. Ixtlan says:

    Interesting interview, although I thought it a bit thin…..

    Two weighty comments that bear greater consideration

    Mr. Murphy:
    “When hip, holy and disdain collide . . . hip and disdain elbow holy right off the court.”

    How true, but it is not recognizable by most because hip and disdain are cut from the same cloth and can cloud our judgment.


    “Joe nailed it…the younger people have this perception of evangelicalism and it completely clouds over the message we’re supposed to be bringing.
    We can quibble over how accurate the perception is, but we ignore it at our peril.”

    Perception is everything, and will beat out truth 8 out of 10 times. It places many between a rock and a hard spot where you are either a closed minded bigot or a compromiser without much longittude in between.

  41. Em says:

    “Perception is everything, and will beat out truth 8 out of 10 times. It places many between a rock and a hard spot where you are either a closed minded bigot or a compromiser without much longittude in between.” hmmm – did we make a mistake deciding that Faith was a mindless, unreasoning virtue? did/do we teach our children to vacuously believe and not think? not to enjoy developing their perfectly good and God-given brains?

  42. Em says:

    visited MLD’s link @39 and got as far as, “someone at Southwestern Baptist Seminary apparently thinks “Saint” Rick Warren worthy of a stained glass veneration.”

    to quote Saint X: “Lord have mercy!”

    for the record, i like Rick Warren – “like”

  43. Reuben says:

    I have followed the SCCL fan page on Facebook for quite some time. I read some peoples stories there, and I am reduced to tears. Christian culture is producing some very hurt people. They find a voice in places like SCCL.

    What shocks me, is that people see these rants, and immediately respond much the same way people did to Michael in the early days. They respond like they do publicly to Alex. They are labeled trash, and trash collectors. They are further alienated from the church, and the spiral to anything but Christianity becomes what we see in the Pew Forum polls.

    When I read things like, “When hip, holy and disdain collide . . . hip and disdain elbow holy right off the court.” I have to scratch my head. Hip is what the church sought to become. Disdain is what resulted. So Rob, I love ya, but it was not their fault. That is the thing that I learned reading SCCL, and reading the piles of comments from hundreds, and hundreds of severely angry and wounded people.

    One could begin to see that stuff like SCCL is a by-product of Christian Culture.

    We are only beginning to see the long term effects of fad churches. Those results are boiled down to one thing. People in crisis.

    “Most people wake up to manipulation and absence of relationship for the sake of the Gospel eventually. It usually causes a pretty severe crisis where they have to reassess their identity as a believer and the fact that many of their church friends won’t stay in relationship with them if they leave the church.”

    I was floored for days after reading that response. There is such a level of truth to that, and I would dare venture out to postulate that the modern hip evangelical church culture created it. I think they know, because the hip/holy church responded by attempting to create a sense of “community”, and lets ask BrianD how those “community groups” work out in the end.

    Is it any wonder that agnostics walked out of the modern evangelical church? To me, the message of the cross has become so obfuscated, because to understand it, you must become a RPG character on the stereotypical board of Christian Culture. Walk like a duck, quack like a duck. If you don’t…

  44. Thanks for talking to me Reuben, it was super fun. And because someone asked, that photo is extremely photoshopped!

  45. Reuben,
    You keep calling it “Christian Culture” and as I said way up the thread, it is not “Christian Culture” – it is an aberration of Christianity.

    When you toss out the formality and the liturgy of church – this is what you end up with. It is really just modern American evangelicalism and it is like a boil on the backside of the real church – but everyone just notices the boil.

    So many of these churches are not working at proclaiming Christ, they are working at being more relevant than the guy down the street. In my opinion, they are totally relevant… but Christ free.

    I don’t care that people think that I lump evangelicals together – that is their common thread.

  46. on another thread i mentioned a movie that is on Netflix: “Beware of Christians” if my memory serves me … i found it heartbreaking to see these young men raised in American churches seemingly still to be searching for the relevance of our Faith in the real world – praying that we haven’t drown our young in artificiality – phony and ripe for ridicule by the next generation’s group of hipsters – if we’re going to receive ridicule, let it be for the right reasons

  47. Reuben says:

    MLD, I don’t disagree. Sorry for the confusing terms. Stephanie identifies the objects of her blogging affection as “evangelical Christianity”. She said that, I agree, you agree. Nuff said.

  48. “On top of that, you want me to vote for people who want to take more out of me in taxes, which will curtail my ability to do all of the above?”

    Yes. Because your ability to help whatever people that you help is drastically outweighed by the detriments of a society without progressive taxation…a system of redistribution of wealth from the poor and working poor to the people who will always have what they need and always want more.

  49. Ixtlan says:

    “…the fact that many of their church friends won’t stay in relationship with them if they leave the church.”

    No kidding. Like that is something new? Been that way for as long as I remember. What we have here is someone who for some time now has met the New Boss…..same as the Old Boss…… I love Roger Daltrey, …. and I love you too Reuben……. however, Rob is making an observation that has played out time and again. What I see here is the hip and disdain criticizing the hip and disdain…. but I’ll put my money on Stephanie over Driscoll…..she’s a helluva lot smarter and perceptive…

  50. Ixtlan says:

    BTW, I went to SCCL fb page and saw that figurine of Jesus teaching that kid how to bat and I laughed for a good five minutes. I need that figurine for my study along with a picture of Jesus with a crew cut…

  51. Reuben says:

    Ixtlan, you have been in this game one helluva lot longer than me. That may well be the case.

  52. BrianD says:

    Linkathon will post sometime on Wednesday.

  53. Reuben says:

    Stephy @45, it is completely my honor. You are fiercely loved.

  54. AnnaRebecca says:

    Hello all,

    I’m a newcomer to this site, via SCCL’s facebook page, where I am a regular reader, although I don’t comment all that frequently. I’ve read the interview with Stephanie Drury and the above comments with great interest and looked around your site a bit to try to understand your community better, but obviously I don’t know you well. However, I’d like to talk a little bit about my own experiences with church and respond to some of the comments.

    About me: I was raised in an evangelical Christian home that grew steadily more devout and ‘set apart’ as I grew older. By that I mean that in my late childhood and adolescence I had very little contact with “secular media” or people who did not identify as evangelicals. After being pulled from public school in the third grade, I attended Christian school through high school. I come from a privileged, upper middle class background and grew up in a quiet suburb full of other white, upper middle class, evangelicals. My mother has never returned to the workforce since my birth, and we did not celebrate Halloween or read Harry Potter. Dr. James Dobson was a veritable saint, my mother listened to Chuck Swindoll and Tony Evans every morning on Christian radio, and I received Brio magazine in the mail ever month (Focus on the Family’s magazine for adolescent girls). I attended church practically every time the doors were open, was highly active in the youth group, and volunteered at Christian camps, vacation Bible school, retreats, you name it. I was a ‘good’ girl, I didn’t ‘dress slutty,’ and I didn’t drink. I considered carefully each altar call to confirm that I was indeed saved and did not need to go forward. I tell you all of this because I believe my childhood, while ‘extreme,’ was based on the kind of family life and child rearing practices that were subtly encouraged, if not out and out preached, by many of the Christian organizations we were affiliated with as the way to raise godly children into godly adults. And yet, in terms of producing a Bible-believing, church-going, on-fire-for-the-lord adult, my childhood is an abject failure. I certainly don’t identify as an evangelical, or even a Protestant, and some days I don’t think I’m really a believer of any kind.

    Now, obviously, evangelicalism is clearly not the only force to blame for my lack of adult faith. Other key factors include my parents’ abusive parenting practices (not outlined here) towards my brother and myself, and my sexual victimization by a member of the evangelical clergy. Also, maybe I’m just intrinsically “bad” and “faithless.” I don’t think so, but it wouldn’t be first time someone has suggested this as the reason for my lack of “surrender to the lord.” 😉 In terms of my sexual trauma, while it obviously fuels my lack of trust in evangelicalism, I don’t generally blame the church for it. Should church leaders have had better policies in place, should they have been more careful, of course. (This was before the Catholic sexual abuse scandal broke, and it is my understanding that the church at which this took place now has much more strict rules regarding the interaction of clergy with minors.) But I also think I was victimized by a highly disturbed individual who took advantage of / actively sought out highly deferential minors to prey upon, and I lay a lot of the trauma and heart ache and horror of that experience at his door. However, when I think of the terrifying altar calls (Are you sure of your eternal destiny tonight, brothers and sisters? Are you sure, if you died right now, that you would be welcomed into Jesus’ loving arms? Are you sure your heart is right with the Lord? Can you be 100% certain that if you died on your way home tonight, you would not go to hell?), when I think of the ‘Judgment Houses’ where I had to watch the souls tortured in hell, or the agony of endeavoring to discern that I had truly “surrendered all of selfish ego to God’s perfect will,” when I think of having demons cast out of me for having (developmentally appropriate) sexual thoughts, when I think of the judgementalism, the racism, the manipulation … when I think of tortured hours I spent at the hands of spiritual leaders who “only wanted God’s best for me!” I am filled with disgust towards the church itself. Not one evil person, not even one misguided organization, but evangelicalism as a whole, and as a culture. Because I have no desire to be a part of that kind of manipulation and abuse ever, ever again.

    I know that this is extremely long!, but I wanted to share all of that because I hope to give you a glimpse of my experience and where I am coming from, when I say that the SCCL community resonates with me very much. I see in the above comments several contemptuous statements regarding Stephanie’s satire as being poorly done, as saying the same thing over and over again, etc. , and I guess I feel it’s important to say that I and many others find SCCL’s ‘repetition’ to be so helpful and healing because someone is speaking back to us the terrible experiences we have had within the church, is saying, “yes, those terrible things did happen, they happened to me too!” and is then utilizing humor to reduce the power those experiences hold over us. I think that’s why we never get tired of SCCL. So, if SCCL is not for you, that’s fine, but as some, such as Michael and Joe, have said in the comments, I think you dismiss SCCL and the experiences of Christianity it represents (such as mine) at your peril. Do you want young people to have faith and be involved in churches? Well then, you have to listen to us, and to our “hip, holy disdain” (not at all sure where Stephanie was manifesting that!, but if that’s what you want to call it), and most of all to our pain, and not dismiss it. Even if you don’t like it.

    Because people like me don’t go to church any more.* People like me don’t pray, because when I pray I immediately think of all the ways God could “answer” my prayer that would make things worse and “teach me a lesson” (because God doesn’t always answer our prayers the way we want, God answers them with what he thinks is best for us!) and I then find myself begging God to ignore my prayers and leave me alone! People like me certainly don’t read the Bible, brimming as it is with traumatic memories. The Way Things Have Been in evangelicalism isn’t always producing quite the godly adults that were promised. And evangelicalism is going to have to realize this, and reflect upon the ways it has contributed to this, if it wants things to change.

    You want to know the funniest thing? I still love Jesus. Jesus brings me to tears. When I think of him in the garden of Gethsemane, I know he cares about me, that he cries with me, that he loves me and understands my suffering. And my god, if he and I could just stay in Gethsemane together forever, I think maybe I could be a Christian. But I don’t see how that’s possible, because Gethsemane only lasted for a night, and the second I walk out of Gethsemane and into a church, I am accosted by the judgment, and the racism, and the fear tactics, and the screaming from the pulpit about wifely submission and the godly family. And then Jesus is gone, and I am alone and terrified. But you see, I want to believe. And I have no idea what to do with that.

    *Admittedly, I do go to church with my Catholic husband. But I didn’t before we got married, and if I wasn’t married, I probably wouldn’t still.

  55. John says:

    As a regular (and far saltier than Stephy) commenter over at SCCL, I’m quite accustomed by now to the very reactions I’ve seen in these comments from those who wish to express their disdain about the prevalent disdain of church culture found over there. It’s disheartening. To be sure, many who have commented here appear to take to heart the pain of many of us who have left the evangelical movement (and some of us, myself included, who have left the faith altogether). However, there still exists a strong urge among occasional visitors to resist the practice of draining the puss from the wounds in a place and in a fashion that makes that rather disturbing sight public. I suppose that’s an understandable reaction, but the problem lies in the fact that it is a reaction rather than a response. Responses require consideration of not only what you would say and do to the person to whom you are responding but also of what motivates many of us to say these things to which you react so strongly.

    I think of one commenter on this thread (my apologies but I’m typing this comment on my phone and scrolling to find a name was unfruitful) who mentioned that the SCCL community, in general, and Stephy, in particular, label those who disagree with what we discuss (and often rant about) in SCCL’s comment threads as oppressors and victimizers. (Again, since I couldn’t find the comment I’m forced to paraphrase. I realize those weren’t his words exactly.) I really must take issue with that characterization. The commenters on SCCL range from deeply sincere believers in Christ all the way to avowed atheists such as myself (although I have a decades-long history in the church). We are nothing if not an accepting bunch. Typically, the folks who show up in the comments from time to time who seem determined to invalidate our very personal experiences and hurts are the people who end up being shouted down, so to speak. They also are usually the ones who become most critical of the things we do and say. In short, if you wish to join in in a sincere effort to understand what we’re about and engage us respectfully that respect is sure to be returned. If, however, your purpose is to criticize us and deny our experiences and perspectives (or if, as has happened on numerous occasions, your goal is to instruct us as to how we should feel and think about our experiences) then you’re not likely to be received warmly, and you may even evoke some outright hostility from some quarters. The primary reason for such responses (and, yes, some reactions as well) lies in the fact that many of us have heard precisely those very things from people who have hurt us. The bottom line is that you must remember who comprises the group you’re choosing to address. Do that and you’re golden.

    I invite all of you who are interested to join in our discussions, but please leave your judgements at the proverbial door. In this case, open ears, minds, and hearts will serve you much better. We’ve had enough judgement to last us a lifetime.

  56. Mark Burns says:

    #39: MLD: I’ve been following Stephy for a little while now, which is how I found this interview. What you may not fully grasp in your flippant dismissal of her is that–beneath the funniness of the SCCL observations–I have found that she really has a much deeper purpose that she is smuggling in through the facade of humor. It has become apparent to me that she has a very soft and pliable heart for the pain and suffering of others.

    SCCL is just a vehicle to foster the healing process for many people. Essentially, she doesn’t just advocate for relationships with hurting people, she actually does it. The church could learn a lot from her example if it would only take the time to listen rather than give her a once-over with a snarky remark about how someone else is doing it better. You’ll know better how to compare when have a better sense of what she’s actually doing.

    #43: Reuben clearly understands exactly what I’m saying. Good on you, Reuben, for endeavoring to expand the myopic perspectives that are entrenched in the fundamental/evangelical community.

  57. Mark Burns,
    Odd that you thought I was dismissive of her. I just pointed out someone who does the same thing – but calls it Idolatry, and not Culture.

    Since I didn’t say someone was doing it better than her, as you suggested, I will just roll my eyes a little. Now I did say funnier and if you looked over that site you would agree, but funny is a qualitative word and I am allowed my opinions and tastes. 🙂

  58. Xenia says:

    SCCL is pretty funny until you find a photo that’s being made fun of and you recognize someone you love in one of the photos. Then it’s not so funny anymore.

  59. Josh Hamrick says:

    Wow. SCCL folks are rather…verbose 🙂

  60. Yes, and they use a lot of words in their posts also. 🙂

  61. I think that it is a bit funny that all these people come out of the woodwork talking about abuse in the churches – as if that kind of mind control abuse is a standalone proposition. It isn’t. I don’t think that the pastors set out to abuse and control, but the evangelical mind of the pastors get so twisted by the way that they have been taught to twist scriptures, that it becomes the predicted outcome.

    I will give an example – evangelicalism only knows how to preach the law back to it’s congregations. Many here have said in the past, preaching the gospel to the church is like telling them to get born again over and over again.

    This is malarkey! Christians need to hear the gospel continually – they must be reminded that Christ died for them, because we forget during the week as the world beats the crap out of us in our daily lives.

    So, in evangelical churches, you show up to church all torn to shreds and what do you get – your to do list.
    you need to witness more
    you need to clean up your life
    you need to clean up your mouth
    how is your thought life?

    And you never get, and you should get it weekly – Christ died for you – and the “for you” is the key.

    If anyone doubts me, post your message from last Sunday or your pastor’s message from last Sunday and let’s see if you / he preached the work of Christ for the congregation?

    So, the evangelical churches turn out people like those who visit SCCL and the myriad of other like minded blogs..Preach “Christ For You” and the problem will go away.

  62. Critique says:

    “SCCL is pretty funny until you find a photo that’s being made fun of and you recognize someone you love in one of the photos. Then it’s not so funny anymore”

    Except that’s the point. These aren’t strangers, and everyone knows it. These are family members we all know, friends, colleagues, what have you. It’s not meant to just be funny. If it were, the mission of SCCL would fail. It’s meant to be humor in the midst of pain, humor as a way to deal with a pain that can be overwhelming sometimes. If you think the point of SCCL is to make fun of people with no other purpose than to be bullies, then you have completely missed it. And if you think that loving someone means you should shield them from any critique even when they are dead wrong, then you are part of the reason I and others have been hurt by the SCCL. Healthy critique is a vital part of Christianity, and the same Jesus who threw over tables of money in the temple is one who supports that.

  63. Josh Hamrick says:

    A lot of truth there MLD (good morning, sir!). However, a few issues that aren’t as cut and dried and you think…

    1.) You do realize these modern churches started as a reaction to the churches you love, right?
    2.) Not sure what evangelicalism is. My pastor definitely preached the gospel this week, and does most weeks. He preaches the scriptures though, and sometimes they tell us how to act.

  64. Good morning Josh – how was the hurricane weather in your parts?

    1.) “You do realize these modern churches started as a reaction to the churches you love, right?
    Yes, and the little brat teenager next door became a little brat teenager in reaction to her parents trying to raise her right. So i agree – they reacted poorly.

    2.) Can you post his message? Because if he did, I want to publicly applaud him – I would love to hear a message of “Christ Died for You” preached to the church and not at an evangelism rally.

  65. Josh Hamrick says:

    1.) Whether the reaction is poor or not is not my question. Your statement was this: “Preach “Christ For You” and the problem will go away.” I’m telling you that the problem you see is a reaction to the very churches you call the solution.

    2. ) Nah. We don’t post the messages. We don’t even have a website. We record for the shut-ins, but no publicity.

  66. Josh Hamrick says:

    Thanks for asking about the weather, MLD. Wasn’t bad at all for me. Some closer to the coast got it rough.

  67. Babylon's Dread says:

    Ok I went to Stephanie’s blog and tried to comment on the taking the Lord’s name in vain post… tried repeatedly to leave a comment and … no matter how many times I tried to please the demands of “prove your not a robot” by typing in the letters. I could not get the Satan D@mned thing to accept my post… could not apparently read the Satan D@mned letters.

  68. Shaun Sells says:

    Seriously MLD, you are very out if touch with evangelism.

    I preach the gospel to believers every week. I constantly remind people that they are not righteous in and of themselves but that they have the righteousness of Jesus Christ applied to their lives. The result is that God does not see our sins when He sees us, He sees the righteousness of His Son Jesus Christ. I regularly tell people they are pleasing to God because He is pleases with His son. I remind them regularly that their sin is forgiven, cast as far as the east is from the west, buried in the sea, thrown behind Gods back, trampled under His feet, remembered no more, and that the God who is all knowing remembers your sins no more. Just this Sunday I spent the whole sermon expressing that checklist Christianity won’t work, we need simple pure devotion to Jesus Christ.

    I get that some churches do what you are describing, but that is not the only face of evangelicalism.

  69. Josh, actually I respect your church for not posting the sermons – we don’t either. Our thought on the matter is that the sermon is a meal, prepared at a certain time and to be consumed at a certain time – after that it is leftovers or garbage.

  70. Josh, I don’t know any modern church that is in “reaction” to the liturgical churches. I will use Chuck Smith as an example – he left his church, by his own testimony because he did not get his own way.

    I think most have done the same.

  71. Faith says:

    Thank you, AnnaRebecca, for being so vulnerable and putting your story out there. My experience growing up was very similar to yours and I have found a measure of healing at SCCL.

  72. Shaun,
    Sorry, but “we need simple pure devotion to Jesus Christ.” IS NOT the gospel.

    Don’t you understand that we cannot do “pure devotion to Jesus Christ.” this kind of preaching is what puts people on guilt trips and drives them start looking for the checklist “how to live pure devotion to Christ.” or go in search of a preacher who will preach the checklist.

    The gospel is what Jesus did for us – not what we are to do for Jesus.

  73. Tim says:

    @70 –
    MLD, that’s an awful cynical view to take. I know you’ve quoted Luther from his writings to his barber before. Yet that was written to a certain person at a certain time, and not necessarily meant for the greater body of Christ. Is that just garbage or leftovers?

    I agree that a sermon needs to be prepared and given for the congregation who is present. Too many pastors (IMO) preach to those who are not there, rather than those who are there. But to think that a sermon is worthless after that point is ludicrous.

    And that’s not just evangelical protestants…just ask Xenia how many sermons from centuries past are presented in the eastern orthodox churches.

  74. Shaun Sells says:

    MLD, argue with God and Paul not me, those are their words not mine:

    “But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”
    2Corinthians 11:3

    Next you are going to tell me that devotion to Christ is not what Paul really meant.

    Love how you ignored everything else I said, about being pleasing to God because of Christ, and focused in on one little phrase, then twisted it to mean something that was not said. Are you sure you are not a pastor?

  75. Shaun,
    I don’t mean to be argumentative, so I will try to be a bit more irenic. We must have a difference of opinion of what the gospel is. To me, the gospel is the good news of what Jesus has done for us and excludes anything we try to do for God. You seem to hold that the gospel is anything said by a new testament person – hence your Paul quote.

    “Next you are going to tell me that devotion to Christ is not what Paul really meant.”
    Nope! that is exactly what Paul is talking about… but that is not the gospel.

  76. Ixtlan says:

    Welcome to all the SCCL people.. I found your posts rather interesting and also disturbing from so many different facets. What you may or may not know is that there are many one this blog who understand a whole lot more than you give us credit for. Most of us are spiritual abuse survivors in one way or another. There is a long history here on the PP.

    What I find interesting about cyber space is the perceived ignorance that so many attribute to other posters. Guess it is to be expected as I feel no compulsion to carry my resume of experience into every conversation nor do I expect it from anyone else.

  77. Shaun Sells says:

    MLD – I did not call simple devotion the gospel.

    It was intended to be separate from my comments on the gospel in response to your comment about to do lists. Maybe a paragraph change would have been good there, but I am typing on an ipad while trying to help my son do math and my daughter carve a pumpkin. I guess that is the danger of commenting on a blog, clarity is difficult.

  78. Shaun Sells says:

    Simple devotion is our response to the gospel.

  79. Tim,
    Perhaps it is just Lutheran sermons that go stale. 🙂
    Also, there is a difference between a SERMON / HOMILY and a Bible study. Perhaps there is more value to an archived Bible Study.

  80. Em says:

    “I invite all of you who are interested to join in our discussions, but please leave your judgements at the proverbial door. In this case, open ears, minds, and hearts will serve you much better. We’ve had enough judgement to last us a lifetime.” hmmm
    i am a little more experienced with the SCCL mindset than one might think that a 76 year old could be … my mother was the daughter of a minister involved in the holiness movement at the turn of the century (1900) – i was brain-washed to believe that my grandparents were self-righteous and cruel people and when i became a Christian i informed my Grandma and Grandpa that, yes, i had become a Christian, but i was not like them … so unloving and judgmental …
    they forgave me, my mother never did … i don’t have to read much of SCCL to see mother

  81. Xenia says:

    Except that’s the point. These aren’t strangers, and everyone knows it.<<<

    I bet they are strangers to the author of SCCL. I think she found that particular photo on the Internet somewhere. She doesn't know if the people in that photo are abused; on the contrary, they look quite happy. Chances are excellent that they are not being abused at all. You may not want to hear this, Mr/Mrs/Miss Critique but the vast majority of Evangelicals love their churches and are devoted Christians despite what you read on the Internet. You are having a bad time, I understand that. Don't assume everyone is.

  82. AnnaRebecca says:

    This time around I’ll try to keep my response a little shorter! We’ll see how that goes.

    @ Faith: Thank you for your kind words. It is always healing for me to hear that I am not alone, and others are on this journey of rebuilding and repair.

    @ Ixtlan: My apologies for not fully understanding the nature of this site or your typical discussions, with regards to spiritual abuse. I could not find an ‘about us’ section – altho that could certainly be because I missed it! – and in my quick perusal of other posts they did not seem to discuss spiritual abuse. However, with regard to the “perceived ignorance” of issues of spiritual abuse, the tone of many comments in this thread is not exactly indicative of understanding that the church, evangelicalism, whatever your preferred name, can deeply wound its people. The alternately dismissive and defensive statements suggest a strong rooting in evangelical tactics.

    @ MLD: From what I have read here, it seems that you think that liturgical churches, and in particular your own, somehow get a pass with regards to spiritual abuse, manipulation, and other follies of evangelicalism. While I attended a Baptist school, my spiritually abusive church was strongly liturgical. Perhaps your “it’s not me, it’s those other people!” stance needs to be re-thought?

    @ Reuben: Thanks for your efforts to discuss and understand SCCL, your openness shines through!

  83. Shaun Sells says:

    Thank you so much for saying that Xenia. I think thought gets that gets lost in the discussion sometimes.

  84. Josh Hamrick says:

    Somebody is going to have to tell me what an evangelical is before I cop to being one.

  85. AnnaRebecca,
    you talk about your heartache so openly. Bless that heartache. It’s the same ache that Jesus carried his whole life. He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and when we grieve what you just talked about, we are with him in the garden. I know what you mean about wanting to stay with him in Gethsemane. I think the Christian faith IS being in the garden, with him, feeling our grief and begging the Father for help and hope. He left the garden with unimaginable reluctance, it was such an act of faith for him to go through with what he was told to do. That was trust and faith and the Christian faith is doing the same thing, with him in the garden, then stepping out in trust and feeling our reluctance. I would love to be with you in some way on your journey. Thanks for being so beautifully open about your heartache.

  86. Solomon Rodriguez says:


    Reading post like yours makes me thankful that I grew up with parents that were not overly religous. My heart goes out to you or anyone that grew up in an environment like that. I grew up Catholic and was bpatized, communioned, confirmed, altar boy, went to St. Martha’s from 1st-6th grade, all those things were done from a willing heart by me with the exception of baptism (i was an infant) and confirmation (I was 16 and my interests in life was girls, football and wrestling). My mom let me go to public school after 6th grade as I wanted to experience that type of setting. During my walk with the Lord I have encountered many so called self professed leaders try to Lord their authority over me but I refuse to let them do that. See I don’t go by any of these man made labels such as Calvinist, Protestant, Arminiast, Baptist, Evangelical as I simply call myself a Born Again Christian or a Saint. Your post above is also why i have chosen to leave Organized Religion. onc eyou realize the Church means Ekkelsia ‘Called out ones” not some Religous Organization then your dependence on the confusing World of Church Denominations lessens a great deal. Remember God is not the author of confusion. Where two or more are gathered and it doesn’t have to be in one of these Stated services held in a stained glass building but it can be at a Dennys, at the park, at the beach or in someones house. The Bride of Christ is not confined to mere buildings or organizations but it is a living breathing organism.

  87. AnnaRebecca,
    Perhaps I could make myself more clear.
    1.) First anyone can be abusive and can turn any situation into an abusive one.
    2.) My point is that evangelicals seem to be more prone in this area – although someone can troll the internet and find some, you don’t see widespread lists of spiritual abuse blogs from the traditional, confessional liturgical churches.
    3.) I have said this before here (and the crap flies when I do) I don’t give much credence to all the spiritual abuse talk. Evangelicals, both behind the pulpit and in the pews are fiercely independent and no one wants to submit or listen to the other – so everyone get’s their feelings hurt when they don’t get their way or, they get disillusioned when mega land isn’t really Disneyland.

    But hey, that’s one man’s opinion. 🙂

  88. jlo says:

    I would be hard pressed to see that this was a blog of wounded believers, had I not been around for the last three or four years, and had the opportunity to read the old archives. I see this blog as revitalization of our faith, in our wounding we were beaten down but not destroyed. While we are at various points in the rebuild, most of us are well into the process.

    The post from the SCCL folks reminded me somewhat of the old days on the PxP, when our wounds were still raw, and we were all a bit prickly. Seems that Stephanie is looking to provide the same healing that Michael provided for so many of us.

  89. Em says:

    as a part of the true Church, i pray that the wounded souls of our children do look for Christ, call out the evil in our midst that have been inflicted on the innocents …
    i pray they turn their backs on the silliness that we’ve subjected them to in our egotistical, manipulative and ambitious bent …
    i pray that their energies bring them to spiritual life – up out of the ashes to see the dynamic, powerful beauty of God the Creator and Redeemer – The Way, The Truth and The Life …
    i pray that they come to the cross and walk in it’s shadow ever aware of their worth to Him, but never forgetting the jeopardy that their sorry, sinful selves will carry on the journey
    i pray that God supply them with leadership, with tested teachers/shepherds in submission to Him and dependent on Him
    i pray that their wounds heal and their hunger be fed – spiritual and satisfying

  90. AnnaRebecca says:

    @ Stephanie Drury: Thanks for your kind reply. You and SCCL are already with me on my journey, but I would love to be in further contact with you as well, I can pm you in facebook if you’d like. Often when things are particularly bad I will read through old SCCL posts on the facebook page to remind myself I am not crazy, and there is hope. Thank you so much for your kind words above. They remind me that my longing for faith may not be as hopeless as it sometimes feels, and to have patience with myself! They also remind me, for the millionth time, of the value of grief.

    @ Solomon Rodriguez: Ha! I agree that having overly religious parents is not always quite the blessing it’s perceived to be! In terms of what on earth I’m going to do with my faith or lack there of, thanks for your words of encouragement regarding a journey that doesn’t have to be Officially Affiliated.

    @ MLD: There you go again with the dismissive and defensive!

    @ jlo: Thanks for the clarification, I was not aware of this, perhaps I should go look at the archives.

    @ Em: Thank you for your prayers for healing for those who are wounded. It’s a difficult journey, as perhaps many on this site are aware.

  91. Josh Hamrick says:

    AnnaRebecca – I came to this site myself 4 years ago when I had been chewed up and spit out by the church machine. Most of us here know what it feels like to be burnt by Christianity, and to end up wandering and losing hope. I know it’s major cliche, but hang in there. Endure. Persevere. It really is beautiful here outside the camp, but the wilderness you have to search through to get here is scary.

    There, really are some sweet, caring people at this site. Unfortunately, Me and MLD are not among them 🙂

  92. Lutheran says:


    Thank you for sharing your story.

    I hope you’ll find this place to help and not hinder your healing. That’s why many of us are here — at least I am — to be some type of help or just to listen.

    I was raised in a “mainline” Protestant church. I still like those churches a lot. They don’t tend to be sectarian and anti-worldly, like many fundagelical churches. I’m thankful for being raised in a very normal family (some would argue that there’s no such thing, but that’s another issue). Church doesn’t have to be the focus of one’s life. I think the word
    is “totalistic.”

    When I was in my late teens I “accepted Christ” and that started a 25-year involvement in evangelicalism. Thankfully it wasn’t all bad. I was in an InterVarsity group in college which was a good experience. We had a lot of refugees from fundamentalism. I wasn’t among them. I remember mostly feeling sorry for them.

    Later unfortunately I got involved with CC. It was a real bad experience. Now I’m a Lutheran.

    I guess I’m trying to say that lots of people here have been through a lot of churches. I hope you won’t feel like you’re the only one on your post-evangelical pilgrimmage.

  93. Does anyone here have trained reconciliation leaders in their church? We have a lay team that handles “issues” between” members and low level issues member & pastor.

    The circuit and district have reconciliation teams to work with larger issues between the church members and the pastor(s).

  94. Joe Marino: It takes an illusioned kid to become a disillusioned young person.

  95. Ixtlan says:

    Thanks for your response. Tone can be hard to read on blogs, but I will give your due on this one. What you think to be the typical church resonse may be due to the fact that some have not been the abuser themselves and take some issue with being lumped together with “them”. As for me, I’ve think I’ve gone past that (not perfectly mind you), and that has freed me to hear and hopefully speak clearly. I always remember that I do not want to become like those whom I separated myself from, and that seems to be inevitable with some. Those who forget their past are condemned to repeat it; they just change their place at the table, that’s all.

  96. Another Voice says:

    Is it fair to say evangelicalism is mostly an American creation – as opposed to other traditions and mainline denominations. I’m working some of this thread into a message

  97. Lutheran says:



    It’s not just American. For some insights on the American version since, WWII,
    check this book out by a church historian.

    There is such a thing as American evangelicalism. But its roots go back several centuries to Europe. As just one example, there’s such a thing as British evangelicalism, typified today by Anglicans such as John Stott and JI Packer.

    Evangelicalism is usually associated with pietism. This Wikipedia article says:

    Evangelicalism is a Protestant Christian movement that began in the 17th century and became an organized movement with the emergence around 1730 of the Methodists in England and the Pietists among Lutherans in Germany and Scandinavia. The movement became even more significant in the United States during the series of Great Awakenings of the 18th and 19th centuries, where it drew far more members than in Europe. It continues to draw adherents globally in the 21st century, especially in the developing world.


    The need for personal conversion, or being “born again”
    A high regard for biblical authority
    An emphasis on teachings that proclaim the saving death and resurrection of the Son of God, Jesus Christ
    Actively expressing and sharing the gospel

  98. Josh Hamrick says:

    “The need for personal conversion, or being “born again”
    A high regard for biblical authority
    An emphasis on teachings that proclaim the saving death and resurrection of the Son of God, Jesus Christ
    Actively expressing and sharing the gospel.”

    So who disagrees with those? If that is what evangelical means, why does the word recieve so much scorn?

  99. Another Voice says:

    Thanks Lutheran. Let me rephrase. Is ‘evangelical’ when used in a negative manner basically an American idea – specifically the last few decades?

  100. Another Voice says:

    Specifically Stephanie used ‘evangelical Christianity’ and ‘evangelical culture’ in this interview somewhat interchangeably, much like MLD and many others do. I don’t think anyone is thinking of Packer or Stott when they say so. When Stephanie said she got the idea to write about evangelicalism, it is through an American lens, correct?

  101. Josh,
    I wouldn’t argue against evangelicals being evangelical in the way Lutheran defined it. I would only point out that those who identify themselves as evangelicals (I know, I shouldn’t lump) manifest themselves in some pretty funky ways. (scroll through my link at #39)

    I would like to comment on one of the phrases in the description – ” the Pietists among Lutherans in Germany and Scandinavia.” As I am sure most here know that Piety and Pietism are 2 completely different things.

    Pietism, the bad manifestation, is a gift given to the Christian world in the 17th and 18th centuries by Lutherans – it took 200 yrs but we got out of it and left a stain.

  102. Lutheran says:

    Why don’t you ask Stephanie?

  103. Em says:

    “Evangelist Billy Graham” – that was the term and the headline used to promote him in the 2nd half of the last century … as far as i know he was extra-church as far as his meetings were concerned
    for some reason there was a real “religious” focus in Southern California (i suspect in some cigar smoke filled room a plan was hatched, why i am not sure – anti-communist possibly?) – the effort seemed to involve the movie community as well as the powerhouse Hearst Publications … Jews, Catholics, and some Protestants, Four Squares included.
    The Protestant establishment looked down their noses and wanted no part of the emotional, shallow ignorant “sawdust trail” brand of Christianity … but then Billy became the news of the day and his big old tent became filled with curious folk who were not prepared to find themselves reacting emotionally to being told that there was indeed a hell and without Christ they were headed there, not prepared to find that they wanted to “go forward” and receive Christ – but they did the act in droves – i suspect that there really was a harvest of souls …
    suddenly THAT was EVANGELISM, Billy Sunday was back and it probably was a good thing with great potential, but …
    after folk made their decision for Christ, Billy G. had no problem with them picking out their own home church … all the sleepy, dry churches wanted a piece of the action – to be “evangelical” … and “evangelical” became the buzz-word and the sought after label of the time …
    local churches were only too happy to do follow up for Billy and much good was done, i’m certain – sadly it wasn’t always good …
    likely some had come for the picnic – John 6:25-27 – and were deluded tares in the wheat field – dunno
    i like the quote @ 95 because i am sure many were simply the “illusioned” and did become the “disillusioned” and soured …

  104. PP Vet says:

    Someone is going to have to explain to me this “I lost my faith but I still love Jesus” thing.

    Is that like a new religion or something?

  105. PP Vet – I agree, I think these people think cross eyed.

  106. The subheader on the Stuff Christian Culture LIkes blog defines Christian culture as “American evangelical culture.”

    The absence and dismissiveness demonstrated here by MLD is the reason many run from the church.

  107. “The absence and dismissiveness demonstrated here by MLD is the reason many run from the church”

    I think you are spiritually abusing me.

  108. Reuben says:

    MLD, is that really necessary? Lay off.

  109. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    Just went through Stephanie’s blog, still busting my gut laughing. I relate to a lot of these as it use to turn me off that people would turn Christianity into a White Washed CandyLand. It’s Milk and Cookies Christianity at it’s best. I mean the whole sex by the numbers thing with James Dobson was hilarious and absurd at the same time. Leave it to him to take all the joy and spontineity of Love and turn it into a mundane emotionless excercise. Also the scheduling sex thing is so sad but true. I was at CCM Mens breakfast and the guest speaker from CCCarpenteria was telling us men how he would send his asst pastor home to go take care of his wife.I mean I don’t want to discuss my sex life with my pastor and I don’t want him picturing me and my wife in bed. Oh yeah and the whole “I’ll pray for you” catch phrase is just another way of saying “don’t want to hear your drama anymore, goodbye!!” (a lot of time not all)

  110. Stephanie,
    My first objection in the interview (see my #5) was the way you described Christian identity. I said that only a segment of Christianity identified with what you stated. I even said that if you wanted to walk it back to evangelicals, then that would be fine.

    I think the examples on your site are right on. No one on this site pokes at the modern American evangelicals like I do – ask anyone here. But my poking at evangelicalism goes both for the leaders (the pulpiteers) and the followers (the pewsters)

    As I said in my #88, I think most of what people look at as spiritual abuse is really immaturity, unrealized expectations and a good old dose of American crybabyism. Some, perhaps a good portion is legitimate.

    But why isn’t my position sound and reasoned (although different from yours) but instead must be crumpled and toss in the trash bin as dismissive?

  111. Reuben – 3 times I have been called dismissive for holding an opposing position.

  112. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    The Worship Leader Conferences post is so true, actually just about any Chirsitan conference.I mean the prices at a lot of these things is embarrassiing and these so called Leaders spend more time glad handing and back handing each other as tho they are part of each others mutual admiriation society. They sell you on the premise that these Conferences are life changing but usually they are what they are, a day to get away and listen to these so called leaders pontificate about how great they are.

  113. PP Vet says:

    Martin Luther’s 95 theses may seem complicated, but they really boil down to:

    I lost my faith but I still love Jesus.

    Stephanie, blessed is she who is not offended in Me. That same principle applies to us all.

  114. Xenia says:

    I wrote a long post which Xenia’s good angel advised her to delete.

  115. BrianD says:

    Hi PhxP, and welcome to all of our newcomers and guests.

  116. John says:

    @ Em: I’m curious to learn what you believe this so-called SCCL mindset to be. Based on your account of the strained relationship between you, your mother, and your grandparents, it would appear your focus is the perceived lack of a forgiving nature at SCCL, but, assuming my understanding is correct, you might just as well assert that Jesus had an unforgiving attitude toward the Pharisees. What you seem to believe is unforgiveness would, I believe, be more accurately described as indignation or perhaps outrage. I personally have never witnessed a commenter at SCCL vow never to forgive. It might have happened, but you’d be hard-pressed to find an example which would necessarily make it an extraordinarily rare occurrence considering the sheer number of comments.

    I would never attempt to divine your mother’s reasons for her animus toward your grandparents, but I’m sure she had them. Whether they were justifiable is a separate matter, but I suspect she might have been better equipped to move beyond her reasons and into healing had she been able to find an environment in which she could have received both open ears and arms. While the end result of healing is beautiful, the process is often quite ugly, and it requires the freedom to be entirely honest without the lingering fear of rejection. That, in a nutshell, is the SCCL mindset. I hate that you don’t see it. Truly, I do.

  117. Another Voice says:

    American Evangelical Culture – Thank you for answering.

  118. Another Voice says:

    I wrote a long post which Xenia’s good angel advised her to delete.
    I would have liked to have read that post… 😉

  119. Xenia says:

    But I will say this:

    When I went to the SCCL site, I saw a lot of stuff that was dear to my family over the years being mocked. I looked at that stuff and sure, some of it is goofy and trivial but I can tell you what, I prefer the innocent, naive attitude of people caught up in that culture over the cynical, mocking attitude I see everywhere these days. When I looked at the photos on SCCL I had a trip down memory lane. My family, when my kids were growing up, cared about all that stuff. We were a very happy family and all that “stuff” was part of it.

    Yes, it goes both ways.

  120. Xenia says:

    Here I am defending evangelical Christianity once again.

  121. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    I prefer more of a biblical christianity than a watered down Brady Bunch version that is obsessed with the Outward of Man

  122. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    When I read the Bible I see a griity cast of charachters that would not fit in todays “American Christian Mold”

  123. Xenia says:

    If people don’t like their church, just leave it for a better church. You can do it, I did. I left behind my family and every friend I had in the world, a nice job and a position of leadership. and changed churches. it’s hard to image anyone being more entrenched in my old CC than I was yet I was able to get up and leave.

  124. Another Voice says:

    OK…brief thought. Whenever Michael has posted from Hebrews 13, about obeying those in spiritual authority recognizing they have a responsibility for your souls…there is a LOT of pushback.

    However, I think Xenia is not bothered by such a verse in God’s Word. Nor would those from other traditions that predate America.

    Likewise, the leaders in such traditions don’t see themselves as business owners of a church, the boss who calls the shots. Entrepeneurs.

    The combination can be troublesome.

  125. Another Voice says:

    If people don’t like their church, just leave it for a better church
    Xenia is allowed to say this, as one who already blazed that trail.

    If a pastor says it, all hell breaks loose.

  126. Xenia says:

    I prefer more of a biblical christianity than a watered down Brady Bunch version that is obsessed with the Outward of Man<<<

    You know, this is insulting to all the fine Christian people out there who attend evangelical churches.

    "I am thankful, O Lord, that I am one of those "gritty" Christians, not a "Brady Bunch" kind of Christian" like those church-going evangelicals over there."

  127. Xenia says:

    It’s so easy, I’ve done it myself so often, to mock American evangelicalism. It’s a big, sometimes goofy-looking target. But I have met some of the finest people I have ever known in those churches, people who will have a spot closer to the Throne that I ever will. I am going to say this loud and clear: I appreciate American evangelicalism. I thank them for all the years they nurtured my family. I thank them for all the years of Bible teaching (some of which I still agree with!). I thank all the Sunday School teachers, worship leaders, Bible school helpers, parking lot attendants, coffee brewers, nursery workers, casserole-bakers, preachers and teachers for giving of themselves for the sake of the Lord for me and my family. THANK YOU.

  128. Solomon Rodriguez says:


    The problem is this, the very same American Evangelical Chruch that you are thankful for has also rejected many who don’t fit the mold and have left them for dead spiritually. Not everyone is going to be as thankful as you are.

  129. Nonnie says:

    I had a laugh (often at myself) whilst reading SCCL. Some of it is very funny!
    But I tend to agree with Xenia about the attitude. Maybe it is because of my age…..I have lived a long, and sometimes, a hard life…I have made plenty of mistakes, but experienced the marvellous grace of God. I have learned that God uses broken people.

    One statement that made me sad, in particular, was the mocking of “I’ll pray for you.” As someone who has been the recipient of a lot of prayer recently, (for our criticially ill grandson and his parents), I have taken those promises very seriously. I have also experienced that the vast majority of my Christian friends that said they were going to pray, have indeed, prayed! AND they have continued to pray. I take it very seriously when I tell someone “I will pray for you.” More ofen than not, I just pray for them right then.

    “I’ll pray for you” is a precious gift, a verbal embrace, we believers can give to one another. How sad to mock it.

  130. Lutheran says:

    I think everybody needs to be careful to not think that everyone else has had their experience. In logic, it’s the “brushfire fallacy.”

    It’s also called “Your Mileage May Vary”(YMMV)

    Yes, I’ve outgrown most or all of the evangelical culture. I’ve found a more grace-centered place to be involved with church. It’s not totalistic and for that I’m very thankful.

    But that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate at least some of my evangelical heritage. I do. I’m grateful for the good things.

    I think It’s a mistake to look at anything in total black-and white. That can polarize your thinking and fuel a lot of maybe unnecessary anger.

    Bill Clinton spoke this summer in my area. One of the things he said was, “Even a broken clock is right twice a day.”

  131. BrianD says:

    Nonnie and Xenia, this may be in part a generational thing.

    Older people come from a generation where talking frankly about a given subject and subjecting it to, if necessary, satire and mockery was not practiced. Stephy’s generation, and the younger one behind hers, doesn’t seem to have that issue.

    THat said, I don’t see Stephy mocking the core ideas of faith, church, family, prayer, etc. What she is doing is pointing out the hypocrisy and brokenness in what goes on too often in the evangelical world.

    For example: “I’ll pray for you.” What Nonnie says about that statement is correct. But take that comment, put it in the mouth of someone who absentmindedly or glibly says it in response to someone who is, at that moment, in trouble, pain, under pressure, etc. Are they REALLY going to pray, or are they just feeling sorry for you? Do they say that because it sounds like the proper thing to say, and in their mind, saying that and having good intentions is enough? Are they saying it as a way to make the other person feel good, and end that conversation, so they can move on to more pleasant things?

    There are professing Christians who will genuinely pray for you. I don’t think Stephy is mocking that.

    There are professing Christians who will tell you they’ll pray, just to end that conversation on a good note, make you feel better and so they can get back to watching Real Housewives or looking for Rick Warren’s new book or talk to another friend about football, shopping, Romney or whatever.

    That I think is what Stephy is bringing attention to, and as far as I am concerned she can mock it as much as she wants.

  132. John says:

    @Nonnie (#130): I don’t see mockery at SCCL of the sincere, loving pledge to pray for someone you care for deeply about which you speak so earnestly. I do see a very potent indictment of the use of “I’ll pray for you” as the American evangelical equivalent of a brushoff, condescension, or, worse, an outright dismissal. Far too often in my time in the evangelical movement, I witnessed people use that very statement in a far more sinister manner. It was applied as a condemnation of another with whom the speaker disagreed (often angrily). That, in my experience, is the American evangelical equivalent of the trusty middle finger, and, in my mind, constitutes that most blatant form of blasphemy possible.

    I’m quite happy to learn that you have never experienced such an occurrence, but it does happen and probably more often than you might wish to know.

  133. Xenia says:

    We’re young! We’re hip! We mock!

  134. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    “#213 Forbidding your husband to have female friends ”

    Sadly so so true in the “Church”. Many times the Wives (and yes “:Husbands” too) will demonize their Husbands healthy opposite sex freindships and she’ll sick the leadership on her Husband too if He doesn’t see things her way. I see nothing healthy or Godly about eliminating friends of the opposite sex just because your spouse is insecure. I did this once to a female friend just because my wife was insecure and I have regretted it and I vowed that I would never do it again. I mean we are all sisters and brothers. And yes many evangelicals propigate the “Every Man’s Battle” syndrome that says every man is a raring Lion seeking a female he can devour. I would like to think that I don’t need a baby sitter as I am an adult responsible male and I want to be a Husband to my wife not a “piece of property” that she owns.

  135. It probably is an age issue. Me, em, Xenia and Nonnie were the ones who threw up objections (some lesser than others) but we are 4 of the – how should I say it? – we have blown out more candles than most here. 😉

  136. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    #211 Taking pictures with poor foreign children on missions trips

    OMG, This had me rolling on the flloor. So So true!!!!

  137. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    Everybody is looking at me right now, wondering what I’m laughing about

  138. John says:

    @Xenia (#134): Would you consider calling teachers of the Law “whitewashed tombs” to be mockery? I certainly would, and it’s mockery without even the slight sweetener of humor to accompany it. Satire, which at its core is itself a form of mockery, is hardly a new phenomenon only just discovered. Western civilization, and especially Western literature, has a long, storied (no pun intended) tradition of satire used to address injustice and absurdity. Let’s face it. Some things not only induce mockery but deserve it as well.

  139. Xenia says:

    Candles? On cake?! Don’t get em thinking about cake again!

  140. Another Voice says:

    To Brian’s point – in that scenario to whom is someone pouring out their heart? Some stranger who says ‘Hi’ on the patio or the pastor or another leader within the church. That is a pretty important distinction.

    A lot of this comes back to phrases accepted as common courtesies. Like saying ‘How you doing?’ when you pass somebody on the street. Do you expect the guy to stop and talk to you for 10 minutes about how he is doing?

    I remember when some ministry student said ‘How you doing Romaine’ and he barked back ‘You don’t care’ and then proceeded to give an object lesson of the importance of our words in ministry leadership.

    But not everyone is a leader. And there is onus on believers who speak words that edify others too – and not just be the constant Eeyeore to everyone who accidentally makes eye contact.

    So yeah, if leaders are saying they’ll pray with no intention to, that is wrong. (Everyone who wants to bash this, read that again as long as it takes to have it sink in)

    But how exactly does one end such a conversation that one was not asking for in the first place? Even if you say ‘sorry that is happening to you’ is that any more sincere?

    Maybe rank and file evangelicals should just bluntly say ‘I’ve got as big of problems as you, but I don’t lay them at the feet of strangers’. Maybe we should all just ramp civility down more and more?

  141. Rob Murphy says:

    @132 – I disagree, BrianD.
    So be bold enough to tell those shallow, absentminded, glib guys that are using “I’ll pray for you” as a byword and dismissal to their face that they’re being dismissive – if that’s what you believe is happening. Do it then, to their face, by the power of grace and divine conviction.

    The assumption now is that it’s an empty cliche and assumes ill motive rather than good. It leaves no room for someone being truly overwhelmed and not knowing what to say and simply trying to convey connectedness and concern. I’ve been told things that take my breath away, and I say “I don’t know what to say, let me pray for you” and I pray because I don’t want to demean the person. Any problem that can be solved in two minutes isn’t much of a problem. I don’t want to make someone else’s struggle small. Sometimes, all we can do is take our heart or another’s heart to the Lord.

    The demeaning of “I’ll pray for you” goes both ways – the speaker can demean it, but the hearer can be dismissive and demeaning, too.

    So there’s now a whole new layer of shibboleths that must be met to meet the demands of the new generation’s expectation for interacting?

    I agree with Nonnie and Xenia . . . and I’ll add it seems to serve more for degrading those who are potentially sincere.
    Sincere seeking is a two way street, and it’s onerous to assume that only the new generation has been wounded. Someone with a grey crown is likely to have endured more than the latest pet offense of the tragically hip of today.

    See, I get sarcasm and can convey it – but how helpful is it? If we’re all holding each other hostage to past and expectations, how far we gonna get? I’ll answer that rhetorical – just as far as we want to, and I’ll quote myself from earlier –
    It’s definitely inter-church warfare, not intra-church refinement . . . two types of believers will enter the cage, none will walk out.

    “Mocking something as much as” we want . . . how does this do good?

  142. Lutheran says:


    I don’t agree with your observation. Back in the 70s and 80s, the best thing ever in terms of Christian satire existed — the Wittenberg Door. Back in the day, they combined sophisticated satire with a biting critique of evangelical culture. The interesting thing is that Mike Yaconelli and the rest of them were part of what they were critiquing, but they were also smart enough to see through the superficiality and goofiness. Anything Mike wrote is still well worth reading.

  143. Another Voice says:

    1 Cor 10:10 is a fascinating verse. Idolatry, fornication, tempting Christ and…what? Really?

    Surely God did not want Paul to include that one. Surely Paul was misinterpreting the history of the children of Israel.

  144. Nonnie says:

    I was just trying to make the point that the term, “I’ll pray for you” should not be thrown away just because others abuse or mis-use it.
    If I honestly believed that someone was glibly saying that, I would probably look him/her in the eyes and gently say something like, “Do you really mean it? Are you really going to pray for my baby boy? Please don’t promise something that precious, if you don’t mean it.”

    Shall we not be teachers and encouragers to one another. Looking for opportunities to gently correct or teach an erring brother or sister rather than just laughing behind their backs.

    Anyone who knows me, knows that I enjoy humour, I enjoy good satire…I love to laugh… but some things are precious folks…..some things are reaching out to holy ground.

  145. Xenia says:

    I think 99 percent of people who say “I’ll pray for you” actually mean it at the time they say it. Trouble is, they forget. When someone says they will pray for me, I assume they mean it and I am grateful. When they forget (and how do I know they’ve forgotten?) I remember all the times I said I’d pray for someone but forgot.

  146. Another Voice says:

    I was just trying to make the point that the term, “I’ll pray for you” should not be thrown away just because others abuse or mis-use it.
    Amen. Same with the term ‘evangelical’ 🙂

  147. Em says:

    John, i guess i should address your kind consideration of my post, which post obviously was not clear enough: “Whether they were justifiable is a separate matter, but I suspect she might have been better equipped to move beyond her reasons and into healing had she been able to find an environment in which she could have received both open ears and arms.”

    She (my mother) lived in an atmosphere, of forgiveness, forbearance and grace – she was extra-ordinarily intelligent with the instincts of a CIA agent, but she was arrogant, proud (2 different things) and judged Christianity as an ignorant and dangerous religion. True, she was a child of the depression and, like so many, she bore scars and wounds. Reasons are not excuses.

    i have come late in life to understand why God hates pride – IMO – He hates it because it separates us – mostly it separates us from Him

    At the request of my children and some of my cousins, I have just come off of a year long study of the history of my maternal roots – it’s a story fresh in my mind – it would take a book to tell the story of these people

  148. Em says:

    Satire for the masses … back not too long ago a major part of life – along with home milk delivery – was the newspaper – Sunday comics – front page: “Lil Abner,” now that was satire, funny and cruel – we make a mistake thinking that wit and satire = clear thinking and honesty, tho – sometimes yes it is, sometimes it’s distorted for humor’s sake and sometimes it’s plain wrong – but wit is fun, but is never, never a virtue in itself

  149. Reuben says:

    If we are going to fight over, “I’ll pray for you”, let it be known, I have been told as much, and I know what they pray. It aint peace and prosperity.

    This is a praying community. I believe it when someone here says they will pray for my wife, who is devastated that her cat is about to die. Not so much outside the comfort of this community and people I know.

    What BrianD is attempting to relay here is not false. He has been in the american evangelical culture.

    People here have been escorted out of Calvary Chapels with the pastor and elders saying, “I’ll pray for you…” and we all know what they mean.

    It is a mocking term in younger generations. It means, in short, “sucks to be you…” and move on.

  150. John says:

    @Rob (#142): I’ll turn it back to you in much the same way I turned it back to Xenia. How did Jesus calling the Pharisees “whitewashed tombs” do good? I would suggest it didn’t do the Pharisees much good, but I’m certain it did quite a lot of good for people who were subjected to their chicanery. Furthermore, what might the shock of hearing someone you generally disdain refer to you and your life’s pursuit in such a manner do to you if you were a Pharisee? If the reactions of the present are any indication (and there’s no good reason to believe they’re not) I would have to say the mostly likely reaction would be to dismiss and further disdain–to refuse to accept that there’s anything possibly amiss with the way in which you have been conducting yourself. However, for a humble person, another possible response would be to take a long, hard look at what the person calling you a whitewashed tomb was talking about in the first place and perhaps reevaluate to some degree or another. Sometimes, the only way to penetrate the veneer of self-righteousness and self-satisfaction is through shocking words. I personally wouldn’t recommend that technique as Option A, but when you’re faced with an intractable audience it often becomes the only remaining option. What’s more, it’s a technique endorsed and put to use by Jesus himself.

    What I would recommend (not that anyone asked) is that–rather than assuming the mockery is directed at you, someone you know, or someone you generally respect–you consider to whom the mockery is specifically addressed. More important still would be to consider why it is being addressed to anyone at all. Not all disaffection is unwarranted. I understand fully that it’s far easier to criticize people who are bringing up uncomfortable subjects than it is to criticize the people who are the uncomfortable subjects, but when you hear the cries of people in positions of relative weakness wouldn’t it be wiser, more Christ-like to turn toward the weak if for no other reason than to understand their cries? At this point, it seems likely that the cries of those of us who have either exited the faith or been given the Right Foot of Fellowship (or both) will reach the level of cacophony before all is said and done. It’s a growing issue for Christianity, and one that has produced no end of hand-wringing in the Church. Why are the young identifying less and less as believers? Perhaps a good place to begin to answer that question would be to listen to what the young (and not-so-young) are saying even if you would rather it be said differently.

    None of the above is to suggest that you, Rob, or anyone else who raises objections here would fit in with Pharisees. I don’t have sufficient knowledge to make such an implication. That said, if you find the mockery disturbing perhaps it would be advisable to ask yourself why it disturbs you so. Is it, as seems to be the case, that you have simply misunderstood the intent and the object of said mockery, or is it that something about that mockery hits a bit too close to home? Again, I don’t have that answer for anyone but myself. It is, however, a very important question.

  151. Em says:

    Xenia, i’m thinking cake 🙂

  152. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    LOL!!!!!!!! The Dry Wedding Post is a hoot! My and my Wife had a wet wedding and it was funny to see most of the Christians leave as soon as the worldy music started blaring from the DJ Booth

  153. Em says:

    ‘i’ll pray for you” …
    good grief, it isn’t the words, it’s the person saying them … like “the checks in the mail” or “have a nice day” or “oh, hi!” or “Jesus loves you” or ….
    labels and generalities are not good things to take seriously in most cases

  154. Reuben says:

    SolRod, sometimes, I really want to hug you.

    I expected people to be offended, even if they don’t associate with any form of modern evangelicals. What I did not really expect was that people would enjoy her blog, and even have the opportunity to laugh at themselves a little.

    I like that!

  155. Another Voice says:

    Your explanation above effectively eliminates bigotry from society. That’s an incredible accomplishment and I commend you!

  156. Another Voice says:

    My 156 was addressed to John’s 151.

  157. In light of John’s comments 15 min ago, I don’t feel bad now telling Stephanie that she was spiritually abusing me.
    I now feel like I was Jesus speaking to the Pharisees.

    Thanks John for the freedom.

  158. Reuben says:


    I think someone may have eluded to this earlier. I only had time today to skim stuff, was very busy. SCCL is a very modern version/variation of PhxP in the old days. I would hope that with the stories floating around here, people would have a little more understanding. I have read some stuff here recently that makes me sorta sad to have asked Stephy to do this.

    If you dig deep, SCCL is full of you. The approach is different, but the hope is the same. There will be hurt folks out there, who just got drilled by the mega-super-duper-church they attended, and they find SCCL, and elation sets in. Others have experienced the same things I did, and it was not ok, and I know that now. The process of healing is made a little easier.

    I am going to connect with someone else later on, who was trashed by a BIG Calvary Chapel. It happened that I connected with them through Stephanie’s personal Facebook page. We get to share, and gripe, and feel a little better, knowing that someone else out there knows, and believes, and cares.

  159. Reuben says:

    MLD, that was a cheap shot. And you compound cheap shots. Please lay off.

  160. Reuben says:

    I am going to go trick or treating with my son.

  161. Em says:

    “trick or treat” – we used to have a neighbor who would answer us, “no treats, let me see your tricks” (not the contemporary off color version) and he was serious … wonder what youthful hurt he was getting even for? lol

  162. Scott says:

    On the prayer discussion, one of my former truck driving students has become a good friend of mine over the past 7 mos. He is a self-proclaimed heathenistic atheist.

    He knows I believe in God, I told him as much. That reality has never gotten in the way of our friendship. In fact, he recently asked me to pray for him to get this local job he really wanted so he could be home every night with his wife. I told him I would and assured that God would answer my prayer. I said a sincere but short prayer for him after we hung up. Guess what? He got the job! Starts tomorrow.

    He never did thank me for praying or God for answering, however, that doesn’t bother me a bit, because truthfully, I’m just as unbelieving and ungrateful as he is much of the time, and I’m a believer 😉

  163. Reuben says:

    Batman got bored with free candy.

    Scott, love it!

  164. Scott says:

    On that note, this experience of becoming a truck driver has forced me out of the church cocoon to a great extent. I’m surrounded by some pretty salty dudes in this industry. However, I’ve found many opportunities to just befriend them. No ulterior motives, just to befriend them. Perhaps many folks in the church have become so isolated in their settings & and culture, they no longer even know what it means, or, how to be the salt of the earth?

  165. BrianD says:

    Working on Linkathon now.

  166. erunner says:

    Erunner stands for Evangelical runner. It was the name I created when I posted on a running forum. I was saved in 1976 at a CCCM Saturday night concert. I attended CC’s for over 30 years.

    I heard language that made fun of and mocked the traditional churches. Early on that made me happy to be a part of the non denomination that had it right. It took me longer than I care to admit before I realized something was wrong with the attitude I would hear from the pulpit and friends.

    I was a blank slate before being saved and it never dawned on me to question the man in the pulpit who was representing and speaking for God. I stayed in that bubble for many years. My idea of being a Berean was going to the church bookstore and buy a tape or book to make sense of things.

    I was so in love with God in my early years and all I desired was to reach people so they could be saved as I was.

    It was much later that I began hearing and reading about disagreements among Christians. Initially it was cheap grace and lordship salvation. The list grew to include everything under the sun. I rarely came away feeling edified from this stuff. It almost seemed political and it turned me off.

    I took the name Evangelical because I didn’t know another way to identify myself. Calvary Chapelite?

    Now the word Evangelical seems to be a byword among some of my brothers and sisters. It seems at times that we (the church universal) is more fragmented than the world we’re here to reach.

    I understand that Evangelicals have been guilty of a lot. I’ve seen and experienced some of it.

    People are buzzing about Governor Christie and President Obama coming together as a result of the unspeakle tragedy that our nation has experienced. In this case there’s something that transcends politics.

    I hope and pray that it doesn’t come to pass that the only way we’ll love one another as we should is when something unspeakable happens.

  167. John says:

    @Another Voice (#156): Please don’t take this response the wrong way, but I’m unconvinced of your sincerity. However, sarcasm is difficult to discern in online settings (as I have learned the hard way) so I’m certainly willing to accept that I’ve misjudged your intent.

    Now that I have that out in the open, please allow me to ask a question. To what explanation are you referring? I have carefully re-read the comment you reference, and I cannot find a single explanation of anything. I see a couple of rhetorical questions. I see some discussion of possible answers to those questions. Mainly, I see an attempt to elicit a conversation about different modes and applications of mockery–most specifically about such modes and applications found in the scripture I reference–but I see no attempt in your response to take part in such a conversation. I’m likewise confused as to how you extrapolated the elimination of bigotry in society from what I wrote. My primary theme was fairly obvious, I believe. Namely, it’s a good and useful thing to listen to your critics. I never said anything along the lines of accepting your critics at their word in all cases. Listening and consideration do not necessarily equal accepting the conclusions on offer, but they do require a certain degree of grace and humility.

    Based on your somewhat coy comments back in #144, it strikes me as likely that you see no legitimate role for mockery, but you miss a very important clause from 1 Corinthians 10: 10. The clause is question would be, “as some of them did”. That qualification refers back to verse 6 which states, and I paraphrase, that we should not crave evil things as some of the Israelites did on the journey out of Egypt through Sinai. So, the takeaway in this instance seems to me to be avoiding grumbling for the reasons the Israelites grumbled as opposed to avoiding grumbling in general, but I digress. What I find interesting is how quickly you dismiss the topic I broached in favor of what appears to be advocating for people to stop complaining about wrongs done to them even though the scripture you cite says nothing of the sort. The Israelites grumbled because they didn’t like that they had been in the desert for so long, and they really started thinking bondage looked pretty good in comparison what with the fresh onions and so forth. What the Israelites were most decidedly not grumbling about was Moses and Aaron and the Levites taking sexual liberties with the youngsters or dipping into the tithes for that extra sweet camel with the tricked out saddle they’d had their eyes on for a while or threatening people who had become aware of their malfeasance with personal destruction and ultimate damnation if they exposed that malfeasance or any of the other criminal acts and immoralities available to a person in a position of authority. It’s just that sort of thing that gets aired at SCCL, and, to be frank, the implied message of #144 is ever-so-familiar to many of us over there: “You need to put a lid on it, or God will strike you down.”

    Just to be clear, I am in no way equating you with people who do despicable things to the weak and vulnerable. I have no basis for that accusation. What I am trying to do is give you a little insight as to how what you’re doing plays with those of us who have suffered real injustice at the hands of people who say things very much like what you implied. It may strike you as a subtle bump to get our attention, but we hear you like a thunderclap. We also hear the echo of everyone who ever did something horrible to us in Jesus’ name then entreated us to keep quiet so that our souls (never theirs) would be preserved. Usually, those entreaties were accompanied by (misapplied, to be sure) scripture.

    I also acknowledge the possibility that you were mainly fishing for a reaction in which case I surrender. You win.

  168. reading the thoughts here on “pray for me” and or “I will pray….”
    the older i get, the harder it is to bite my tongue when someone who thinks i’m a nice old lady with a nice benign crutch of religion says, ‘pray for me’ or ‘prayers appreciated’ … i know that they are just patronizing me for being concerned and maybe wanting the forces of nature lining up on their behalf – how can i say, ‘i’ll pray for you?’
    What i want to say is, “I’ll lift you up before the God of the universe and beyond, in the name of His only begotten Son and our only hope of mercy and redemption … I will sincerely ask for Him to show you grace and mercy … but you’ll have to take your chances on how He’ll respond.” … er, something like that 🙄

    God keep

  169. Nonnie says:

    Reuben, your 150 is talking about abuse/misuse of the term ” I will pray for you.”
    How tragic that the younger generation of Christians ( as has been referenced here) would thumb their noses at a sincere person who is wanting to bear another’s burden in prayer. After all, isn’t that what we do here day in and day out? Am I to now assume that any of you under 50 is not sincere when you say you are praying or will pray for the requests here?

    I will admit, that I usually will pray for the person right then, as I’m old, and may forget if I put it off til later. 🙂

  170. Mark Burns says:

    Reuben: Your tolerance of MLD reminds me of a conundrum I’ve heard from teaches about their children in school: 10% of the kids require 90% of the teacher’s attention. His obnoxious behavior is casting a dark shadow over what you seem to have hoped to be an open dialogue to help others see a different perspective (hence the name).

    It would seem that, for some people, there is only one important perspective: their own. I suppose we can’t change the world, but thanks for trying. I hope that most of your readers are able to see past his asinine behavior.

  171. Well, I guess that it is the view of the SCCL folks that if you voice a different opinion from theirs that you will face direct attacks.

    I said I disagreed with Stephanie calling it Christian Culture and asked her to walk it back to Evangelical Culture and I was attacked and called dismissive.

    I made a comment to Anna Rebecca that I didn’t believe that most spiritual abuse was real and that I thought it was immaturity, unrealized expectation and crybabyism – but I did allow for a good portion of it to be real – I was attacked and called dismissive. (yesterday being Reformation Day – could you imagine Luther or Calvin complaining about spiritual abuse?)

    I posted a link to a site similar to Stephanie’s that I like very much – that calls out evangelical behavior as idolatry and I was accused of criticizing Stephanie’s site by comparison and then again called dismissive.

    What can I say – the SCCL people have morphed into what the complain about. If you disagree with them, they will conspire to malign you and they will steamroll and marginalize you.

    Reuben for his part has stars in his eyes because he got to interview a celebrity – so I must excuse him.

  172. Mark I will ask you this – if you are so much for “open discussion” why do you try to close down my part of the “open discussion”?

    These SCCL people are so narrow minded, they can see though a keyhole with both eyes.

    It must be a love fest at their site and no one has ever said to them “have you ever looked at it this way before?”

  173. Josh Hamrick says:

    “His obnoxious behavior is casting a dark shadow over what you seem to have hoped to be an open dialogue to help others see a different perspective (hence the name).”

    Come on, man. Doesn’t “open dialogue” mean that MLD can air his opinions as well? Geez.

  174. Critique says:


    “You may not want to hear this, Mr/Mrs/Miss Critique but the vast majority of Evangelicals love their churches and are devoted Christians despite what you read on the Internet. You are having a bad time, I understand that. Don’t assume everyone is.”

    I didn’t say every Christian in a church was having a bad time. You just intuited that into my post. Nor did I say they weren’t devoted Christians. You can be a devoted Christian and be dead wrong, for that matter. You can also love your church and be in a church that really damages people. Just because you’re enjoying it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily beneficial either. I personally can’t see enjoying something if I find out that it’s hurting other people.

    I don’t honestly care if other people are having a great time, and while I have no idea of your tone in this post, it certainly seemed dismissive of those of us who aren’t. Perhaps I misunderstood, but I’m pretty sure Jesus is not interested in a statistical correlation (only 10% of you have negative experiences and since the 90% have a wonderful experience it negates the experience of the 10%). I am the 10% of evangelicalism that got so burned having a relationship with god has cost me years of struggling, alone. Maybe you don’t like SCCL. But that was the first place I met people who didn’t just say, “Yes, right, you got hurt, but God says get the heck over it and move on. We’re all happy so you need to pretend to be happy too.”

  175. Xenia says:

    Yes, critique, get over it. From personal experience I can tell you it’s the best thing for your soul.

    If something so bad happened that you need to call the police, call them.
    If people are making your life at your church intolerable, forgive them, get up and leave.
    If the doctrine at your church is in error, get up and leave.
    If none of the above is true, stay where you are and worship the Lord.

    Mocking and continual criticism does nothing but corrode our souls. It’s a psuedo-comfort. The sooner we can move past this stage the better it will be for us and all those in our lives.

  176. Xenia says:

    Mark Burns, we discuss things over here on the PP. We are people with different points of view. MLD is presenting a POV that is contrary to what you want to hear. He is one of the most valuable members of the PP community and it is not for you, whoever you are, to suggest that we should not tolerate him.

    Maybe your unique POV was not tolerated at your church? Isn’t that what I hear so often? “The pastor didn’t like what I had to say so I was asked to leave?” Isn’t that what you are doing yourself with MLD? You don’t like what MLD says so you want to “escort him off the property?”

  177. Another Voice says:

    I find it interesting that the arguments above go agains A) EM and Nonnie, two of the sweetest people in this community and B) Xenia and MLD, two of the strongest non-evangelical culture commentators

    Not that complete strangers to the community three days ago would know these things.


  178. j says:

    @Xenia, so you are saying that a child who is forced to attend church without complaint or a bad attitude their entire life, and is being sexually abused secretly by the leadership of that church should call the police, get up and leave, and forgive? a whole lot easier said than done. let’s have some compassion and get rid of this “get over it” mindset please. the best thing for my soul is contemplation, real relationship, and naming what harmed me….and sometimes that takes a long time to make happen. so just get over it? i am sorry, but healing of the soul doesn’t happen in a day.


  179. Josh Hamrick says:

    j – You did a lot of twisting there to Xenia’s words, which isn’t cool. She wasn’t alking about kids being sexually abused, and all that. And you know that.

    BUT – I will say that yes, the best thing for you is still to forgive, and move on. And before you make assumptions, I was a sexually abused kid.

  180. Mark Burns says:

    Mark Burns, we discuss things over here on the Golden Calf. We are the Elect with different points of view. MLD is presenting a POV that is dismissive and insulting to anyone with whom he disagrees. He is one of the most valuable members of the Golden Calf community and it is not for you, heathen infiltrator, to suggest anything about how we worship our Golden Calf.

    Maybe your unique POV was a completely supposed (and, if it were possible, even more incorrect) position? Isn’t that what I project on to others so often? “My church probably does this thing in my quotes which is why I projected it on to you (and, incidentally, it is a documented psychological phenomena that, given a lack of information, people tend to project onto others things that they would have a tendency to be guilty of doing themselves)” Isn’t that what you are doing yourself with MLD? You don’t like what MLD says so you want to “escort him off the property?”

    I made exactly one comment in this thread up until recently. MLD quickly dismissed everything I wrote of importance (the healing that happens under the surface at Stephy’s page) in favor of taking issue with one sentence where he feels I mischaracterized him. The thing about open dialogue is that it requires listening to others rather than just talking. My lambasting of him in my comment to Reuben is how people tend to react when you act like a self-absorbed and asinine jerk. I know the Christian community isn’t used to such bluntness, so I apologize if it’s a hard pill to swallow.

  181. Josh Hamrick says:

    “Mark Burns, we discuss things over here on the Golden Calf. We are the Elect with different points of view. MLD is presenting a POV that is dismissive and insulting to anyone with whom he disagrees. He is one of the most valuable members of the Golden Calf community and it is not for you, heathen infiltrator, to suggest anything about how we worship our Golden Calf.”

    That gets the award for the stupidest thing ever written on this board.

  182. Xenia says:

    The PP has a long history. I think every one of us has a painful story to tell about a church experience. Do not be dismissive of what many of us have endured and especially, don’t be dismissive of the fact that most of us found healing in forgiveness and moving on, as cheerfully as possible, to the next phase of our life. Yes, “getting over it” turns out to be the cure. Don’t be dismissive of that.

  183. Oh No says:

    WOW! These people come loaded with an attitude! Mark Burns, your post editing leaves much to be desired.

    AV, your 178 is spot on!

  184. Oh No says:

    Well said!

  185. Josh Hamrick says:

    And that’s saying a lot, considering some of the drivel I have posted myself 🙂

  186. Xenia says:

    I know the Christian community isn’t used to such bluntness, so I apologize if it’s a hard pill to swallow.<<<

    O yes, master rhetorician, show us the way.

    Notice folks: When this fellow is rude, it's bluntness and a pill we must swallow. When MLD says something, he must not be tolerated.

    So… why is your "bluntness" some kind of virtue, here-to-fore unseen in the Christian world but MLD's bluntness must not be tolerated?

  187. Because he’s not being engaging or curious, he is erasing validity and attacking from the outset.

    And he’s also wrong about me being a celebrity. Ha.

  188. Josh Hamrick says:

    Ah, you’re the closest thing we’ve seen to a celebrity since Ted Haggard dropped by that one time.

  189. Xenia says:

    Stephanie, he doesn’t have to be “engaging or curious.”

    He’s a long-time member of this community and he’s been plenty “engaging and curious” in the past.

    “Erasing validity”….. Good grief.

  190. Another Voice says:

    Attacking from the outset….

    Interesting choice of words…

  191. Xenia says:

    I’ll tell you why your blog ticks me off so much. I’ve been a serious critic of evangelical theology/ culture for the past ten years. I went to your site and scrolled through the photos and smiled and chuckled until I came to a photo of a group of happy young people and by golly, I thought one of them was my own son. Looked just like him. Suddenly your whole blog turned sour for me. I realized that I was laughing at people who didn’t deserve to be laughed at, that you were using their photos to mock them. I don’t care how “abused” you feel you were in your church, you yourself have turned around and are doing the same thing: You are being dismissive of other people.

    (Turned out he wasn’t my son. I called my husband in and we decided it wasn’t him after all. But he’s somebody’s son. And of course, the caveat that I am not talking about sexual abuse.)

  192. Stephanie,
    “Because he’s not being engaging or curious, ”

    I was very engaging and curious. Each time, II stated clearly what I thought and why I thought it. You (and your followers) on the other hand were the ones who wouldn’t engage – I was called asinine and dismissive and told that I worship Golden idols.

    But I guess to you, engaging and curious goes only one way – full agreement with your position.

  193. Wow. He doesn’t have to be “engaging” or “curious”? What is the Christian life about then, if not about relationship? Relationship requires engagement and curiosity about how things are for the other person. What is their story? What has their experience been? How did that land with them? How can you be with them in it? If you don’t do this then you erase others’ validity. You only have room for your own perspective. That is the opposite of relational.

  194. Josh Hamrick says:

    I feel like we’ve gotten off on the wrong foot.

    So, welcome to the PhxP! Tell us a little about yourself…your name, age, and favorite gangsta rapper!

  195. Hahahahahahahaha – “I was very engaging and curious. Each time, II stated clearly what I thought and why I thought it.” That is the opposite of engagement and curiosity! hahahahahahahahahahaa

  196. Josh Hamrick says:

    Question for you then:

    What is MLD’s story? Has has his experience been?

  197. Mark Burns,
    I have only addressed one of your comments, in my whole life (and I am 63 yrs old) – the one from late last night #171. I don’t know how you could say that I dismissed all your other comments.

    What is it with SCCL? Are you guys having a contest over there to see who can use your “word of the day” the most times in a sentence?

  198. Em says:

    i agree that MLD is a blunt, often wrong – IMHO – pain … his journey to a sold out strong stand for Christ is a miracle of God – i wish i was more like him … in some ways … sometimes … not often, tho as he’s going through the Tribulation – just sayin, cuz i can; to to quote a member of this community now “missing”

  199. Hi Josh! Thanks for having me! My name is Stephanie. I’m 37, and I like Eazy-E. I know all the words to “Gimme That Nut.” This is in part due to my autism-spectrum tendency towards gangsta lyric memorization. I also have this disorder as it relates to memorizing commercials. Please feel sorry for me because it honestly sucks! Ha ha. How about yourself? What is your name, age, favorite gangsta rapper, and color of curry? Where are you from? Did you grow up evangelical or religious in any capacity? If you could have any job, what would it be? Do you have a faith community you are involved in right now, and if so, what’s it like? If not, could you tell me a little more about why not? You don’t have to answer any of this but I honestly want to know. Geez, verbosity here, signing off. For now. Hee.

  200. Xenia says:

    Relationship requires engagement and curiosity about how things are for the other person.<<<

    Well, if that is true, how about "how things are" for the people in the photographs you use? Did you ask that young man (who turns out not to be my son) how he feels about being on a worship team, if he finds it fulfilling, etc etc? Before you posted his picture so you and your friends could mock him?

  201. Mark Burns says:

    MLD: I was admittedly not very nice in my characterizing of you being flippantly dismissive. It didn’t lend itself to productive conversation. However, I stick by my guns in what I said more recently. You disregarded my main point in favor of nitpicking at the rude comment I made. If you’ll go back and reread what I wrote, ignoring the insults, you might see instead the larger point I was trying to make. I won’t speak for Stephanie, but I suspect that the recurring theme of dismissiveness comes up with you for such reasons. You did, after all, completely ignore my main point to take issue with an admitted unfair characterization, but still a characterization that had nothing to do with the bigger topic I had addressed to you.

  202. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    “The PP has a long history. I think every one of us has a painful story to tell about a church experience. Do not be dismissive of what many of us have endured and especially, don’t be dismissive of the fact that most of us found healing in forgiveness and moving on, as cheerfully as possible, to the next phase of our life. Yes, “getting over it” turns out to be the cure. Don’t be dismissive of that.”

    I agree that “getting over it” ultimately is the best thing for our souls but remember we are to bear one anothers burdens. If someone isn’t “getting over it” due to the abuse they suffered then maybe we can bear their burden and have patience with them while they go thru their process.

  203. Oh dear – I’m sorry you feel I’m being dismissive of someone by using their photo. Did I black out their eyes? I usually do that with the photos. Can you tell me more about why you feel that using their photos is dismissive? Do you feel it reduces them to objects in some way? I use the photos the way other blogs and sites use photos, to show an image. Everything I write about I have willingly participated in at one time of my life or another so I feel a kinship with the pictures I post and the subjects I write about. That has been me, and is still me much of the time, is how I feel about what I write about and the pictures that I post. I’m interested in hearing more about how you feel using the pictures is mocking and unkind. Thanks for sharing those thoughts with me.

  204. Mark Burns says:

    #57 and #58, respectively, for your reference.

  205. BrianD says:

    Amen Solomon!

  206. Josh Hamrick says:

    HAHA! Now that was good. Josh – 37 – early Snoop Dogg. Certainly not the new Snoop Lion. Actually think he peaked on Dre’s Chronic album…but whatever. Color of curry? Did not realize that curry had colors. I’m gonna go with silver.

    I was not raised in any particular religious environment, though being from a small town in North Carolina, its kind of just part of the culture. Kinda came to faith in my late teens in one of the seeker sensitive type churches. I’m a musician, and they gave me an opportunity to play. After about ten years I burnt out on the superficiality of all that, and wandered for a while. I was surprised to find myself at home in a very small, very old baptist church. We are a small tight nit family. Mostly very poor, multi-ethnic, addicts and recovering addicts. Been there for four years, and absolutely love it.

  207. Em says:

    i’m glad the salty, and the sour too, of SCCL are coming by here to state their case(s) – i hope they continue – they’ll win some and they’ll lose some …
    up to this point the one thing that they don’t seem to have picked up on here is that no one is disagreeing with the flaws in churches that they are spotlighting and no one is belittling anyone’s pain …
    we have a good horse going through a great deal of pain right now; it has cancer and would have been put down if it had flailed and bitten and kicked – it’s real and we know anatomically that it hurts, even though we can’t empathize, we treat him for a number of reasons; one being a saucy little mare, who is his stable-mate of 14 years and would be lost without him …
    all the pain that is brought to the Phoenix Preacher is tolerated and, sometimes, “treated” successfully, too. …
    BTW – some statements seem to think that we attend churches for “enjoyment” … that’s wrong (hopefully a side benefit, but wrong reason)

  208. Ha! I love Snoop! Every Monday morning when I walk into work I sing to myself “guess who’s back in the…” (if you know Snoop you’ll know that line, I don’t need to type the whole thing. 🙂 There are green, red and yellow curries that I know of and red is my personal favorite. Your church sounds awesome. I love the tight-knit family vibe you talk about. Recovering addicts are my favorite people, they are just so deeply sweet.

  209. Mark Burns,
    That is what I am talking about- you made the accusation – ” it would only take the time to listen rather than give her a once-over with a snarky remark about how someone else is doing it better. You’ll know better how to compare when have a better sense of what she’s actually doing.”

    My reply in comment #58 was to the effect that I did not claim the other blog was better – I only pointed a blog I like, and that they do the same thing and call it idolatry – not culture.

    My response again for you to read;
    Mark Burns,
    Odd that you thought I was dismissive of her. I just pointed out someone who does the same thing – but calls it Idolatry, and not Culture.

    Since I didn’t say someone was doing it better than her, as you suggested, I will just roll my eyes a little. Now I did say funnier and if you looked over that site you would agree, but funny is a qualitative word and I am allowed my opinions and tastes. 🙂

  210. Josh Hamrick says:

    Ah, I forgot to answer my dream job…I honestly think it would be teaching at a Seminary. I have known so many friends who have gone through seminary, and came out with no faith. I would like to see the whole model changed to where you are encouraged and strengthened in seminary. Give them a little room to spread their wings, Set them free.

    I completed the line. See, I’m still in the part of Christian Culture that sings Snoop songs and subs non-dirty words. Lame, I know, but I have small children too, so I’m careful. 🙂

    What would your dream job be?

  211. Josh Hamrick says:

    I was the one who made the snarky “better” comment at #23, but then apologized at #28.

  212. Mark Burns says:

    Okay, MLD. You’re right. You didn’t dismiss me. I’m sorry for impugning your reputation.

  213. Josh Hamrick says:

    Mark, your link says you live in Afghanistan? Military?

  214. Hey MLD, tell us about what it’s been like for you. What has your journey been like?

  215. Brian says:

    I have been a follower of SCCL’s blog and Facebook page for probably 2-3 years now… more out of morbid facination and a relish for religio-philosophical discussion than an identification with her perspective.

    Stephy is a nice girl (I almost said “sweet” but that isn’t quite right) who has been deeply hurt and means well by trying to reach out to those who have been similarly hurt. I have almost never completely agreed with her on her criticisms… they are often far too overstated for me to agree with. That and I am still a practicing christian and worship leader. I’m not one of her primary targets… those that have left the institutional church and find catharsis in bantering over how unchrist-like it is.

    But even in those times when she and I have directly butt heads with one another, it has usually ended with us identifying with one another, and reaching a sort of kumbaya-moment of mutual understanding. So I appreciate her spirit, even if I mostly disagree with her assessment.


    However, the one problem I still have… and probably always will with SCCL… is that the humor and criticism IS so badly overstated or over-generalized. I have to constantly look for the legitimate message burried underneath cynical, eye-rolling, sarcastic jabs that are taken at the easy targets within the church.

    …But if I have to work so hard to sift out the legitimate messages coming out of the SCCL community, I see none of that being practiced by the SCCL community when they look at Christian Culture. They have essentially become their own clique that mocks outsiders… namely the insiders of evangelicalism. Their is no attempt to understand the other side’s good intentions… only to laugh or rage at how stupid they all are.

    AND the one thing I see most from Stephy directed at those who take issue with her statements is “ONCE AGAIN YOU ARE MISSING THE POINT.”

    But nobody ever attempts to unpack “the point” separate from the cynical cliches and mockery. If there is a point, it is often unclear and poorly articulated. The criticism generally is limited to surface statements and never goes deeper into pointing out where so-and-so has missed the mark biblically. They just note that “this is so stupid” or “that is such antiquated thinking” or “this is really offensive”… without ever taking a moment to say “here is what the Bible says about this.”

    That, apparently, would kill the buzz.

  216. Mark Burns says:

    Hey Josh! I know I pissed you off with my snarkiness too, so let me take the opportunity of your genuine interest to open with an apology to you and the broader community here.

    I’m not in the military now. I am a veteran of 8 years, but am now working as a civilian firefighter in a contract job for the DoD. But I’m leaving very soon… home bound 🙂

  217. Josh, totally. I’d love to get my M.Div. My dream job would probably to be to be in seminary. What the heck, right? If I could find a way to get paid to stay on the internet all day while hooked up to an IV of morphine then that would be my dream job. I have small kids too! 7 and 10. They are not allowed to listen to Snoop or Dre. 🙂

  218. Josh Hamrick says:

    No problem, Mark. We get a little testy here at times.

    Wow. That sounds like a tough job. Glad you’ll be headed back soon.

  219. Another Voice says:

    Our church is filled with recovered addicts too, including the pastor. I’ve also encountered plenty of addicts who refuse to get sober, and point to the past abuse they suffered as justification for bad behavior. At some point, no matter how horrific, if there is ever going to be healing and sobriety (two related but distinct things), that abuse needs to be taken to the place where The Savior said ‘Father forgive them, they know not what they do.”

  220. Josh Hamrick says:

    I kind of of have the “on the internet” all day job. No morphine though. Yet.

  221. Stephanie,
    Short story –
    Raised in a non religious Jewish home
    Married at 18 to a Lutheran girl
    Kept her away from her faith for the next 14 yrs
    I received Christ at a Calvary Chapel in 1981
    Spent 25 yrs between CC and SBC churches
    Loved every minute in each church, never left one unhappy
    Taught in CC and SBC churches on and off for that period of time
    Got turned on to Lutheran theology in 2003
    Self catechized myself for 3 yrs
    In 2006, I caught myself teaching Lutheran theology in a CC class.
    Resigned the 2 classes I was teaching because I didn’t think it was fair to teach contrary to that churche’s belief.
    Joined a Lutheran Church LCMS in 2006
    And I lived happily ever after – the end. 🙂

  222. Brian says:

    And just to be clear… many of her criticisms are, in their essence, legitimate. But there are also many which are not legitimate, in my opinion. And when all the criticisms are kept at the surface level of sarcasm and snarky one-liners… it’s hard to separate the legitimate points from the empty rants.

    … and after awhile, it’s no longer worth the energy to try and figure out which is which. One can only take so much cynicism after all.

    The reality is, all churches are made up of people. And being the sinners we all are, we’re not going to represent christ very well all the time. There are plenty of examples of failing to love like Christ did. But that is seen in every church in history, as well as on SCCL.

    Better to focus on Christ and getting out his message and loving like him, than focusing on how others are failing to to do so.

  223. Em says:

    hey Mark, you owe me … cuz i have been praying for everyone over there for more years than you’ve been there … no, you don’t owe me … i just pray because it is Christian duty to pray for the world, but when i get to Afghanistan and it’s surrounds, i hit a snag and ‘supererogate’ … that and the fact that many here have their hearts over there for many reasons

  224. I posted this yesterday –
    “Does anyone here have trained reconciliation leaders in their church? We have a lay team that handles “issues” between” members and low level issues member & pastor.

    The circuit and district have reconciliation teams to work with larger issues between the church members and the pastor(s).”

    just wondering if anyone looks into these matters before they blow up. I am sure that my church has the same issues that others do, but we handle them “in house” and don’t blog about them.

  225. Xenia says:

    How is posting a photo dismissive….

    Let’s say you move next door to a nice, middle-aged lady. Let’s say (for maximum emotional impact) she comes over to your place with words of welcome and an apple pie.

    Being “curious and engaging,” she asks you what you do. You tell her you have a blog about Christian culture. She asks to see it. You take her to SCCL and start scrolling with her through the photos. Then she comes to a photo that shows her own son, who she can clearly recognize despite the tiny black rectangle on his eyes. She wonders why her son is an object of ridicule on your blog. She reads the commentary and comments. She is hurt by what she reads, comments of strangers making fun of her son.

    Can’t you see this as being dismissive? You are dismissive of an entire culture and by extension, all the people who dwell therein.

    I am very critical of many things about evangelicalism. And I said some things my first few years out that I profoundly regret. But no lasting joy comes from mocking. As I said earlier and from personal experience (which I hope you won’t dismiss) mockery is a psuedo-comfort. It is illusory.

  226. Mark Burns says:

    Many people appreciate your prayers, Em. Thank you for that.

  227. PP Vet says:

    ” If I could find a way to get paid to stay on the internet all day while hooked up to an IV of morphine then that would be my dream job. ”

    I really really really like this person. 🙂

    I get paid to be on the Internet all day while tokin’ the Ghost.

    Escaped from a mental institution in Middletown, CT in 1971 and never looked back.

    Been in a church, been in a visitation, and they ain’t the same.

  228. Josh Hamrick says:

    “I get paid to be on the Internet all day while tokin’ the Ghost.”

    Oh crap. Leave it to Dansk.

  229. Em says:

    MLD,”Resigned the 2 classes I was teaching because I didn’t think it was fair to teach contrary to that churche’s belief.”
    now that was cowardly, you should have stood for sound doctrine and made them throw you out … or maybe not … going home probably blessed Mrs. MLD

  230. Em says:

    “tokin’ the Ghost” – i need a translation … if that reference is to the Holy Spirit, that is pithy … but even my educated guesses are out of date these days 🙂

  231. Josh Hamrick says:

    Em, yes, its a silly thing some neo-charismatics do. Gettin high on Jesus. Getting drunk on Godka. All that garbage.

  232. Xenia said in #226: “As I said earlier and from personal experience (which I hope you won’t dismiss) mockery is a psuedo-comfort. It is illusory.”

    But Xenia also said in #134: “We’re young! We’re hip! We mock!”

    I was reading comment #134 in a mocking tone. I know I could be wrong but it sounds exactly like what you’re saying SCCL does.

  233. Em says:

    not directed at me, but we’ve all been young, done our share of mocking/calling out hypocrisy … well, maybe not ALL of us … some stay firmly, unquestioningly entrenched in Evangelicalism … i read Xenia’s comment to mean that is just how life evolves

  234. Xenia says:

    Em, yes.

  235. Xenia says:

    And if if it were mockery (and I will admit there was an element of mockery, if only self-mockery) it was a pseudo-comfort and illusory. It only irritated people and was not productive although it did provide me with a short-lived feeling of satisfaction.

  236. Kevin says:

    Xenia: Stephanie is not mocking anything, she is criticizing Christian culture. If she wanted to dismiss it, her blog would be a lot shorter. She is using satire to investigate Christian culture and to examine how often it operates contrary to the callings of Jesus. Satire necessarily relies on humor, but it is NOT the same is ridicule. Satire is about exploring moral shortcomings, not dismissing them. That’s called black comedy. You may not get the joke, but you are wrong to say that it is dismissive.

    Second, saying that dismissing the culture by extension means she dismisses the people in it is both logically fallacious and demonstrably untrue. Why is it logically fallacious? Because it is like saying “you hate smoking so by extension you must hate smokers.” It simply doesn’t follow. I hate smoking. It causes cancer and death and it is ruining, even killing, people I know and love. But I love them in spite of the fact that they smoke.

    How is it also demonstrably untrue (besides the fact that she is here engaging with you)? I know Stephanie personally. Some of her close friends and loved ones come from this world. She does not dismiss them. She cares for them. She empathizes and feels for them. She cries with them. She loves them even when they get mad at her, as you are doing, for following her conscience. She has taken more abuse for this blog than most people I have ever known, and yet she continues to do it because she cares. That is clearly not dismissal.

    Now, you can disagree with the content of her blog and you can disagree with her approach. But by taking a single photo, radically decontextualize the photo from its content, and then saying that this ONE photo means that her whole blog is “dismissive” (and should therefor be dismissed), THAT is dismissive. Really, it just seems like your reaching to find some reason, ANY reason, to dismiss this blog. That’s fine, but dismissing it by calling it dismissive is cheap, hypocritical, and unsustainable.

  237. Xenia says:

    Ok, well, today is the first day of NaNoWriMo and I have a novel to write!

    Talk to you all later.

  238. Josiah says:

    I’ll try to give my reason why SCCL is good and important and healthy for me. I know some of you just don’t get it so maybe this helps. I’ll try not to rant on too much.
    It gives me a place to vent. To shout and be angry at all of the ways that people abuse the message of Jesus and the institution of the church. It’s a space that reminds me that I am not alone in my outrage over the way people are treated in the name of God. To hear other people struggles, some which I share.
    WIth out that room to be able to react, without being judged – Christianity means nothing to me because it doesn’t allow me to feel honest emotions and confront them.
    I need the room to give my anger and pain and frustration a name and a face before I can move on to the important stuff.

    MLD – I’d just like to say that your opinion that spiritual abuse isn’t real, that it’s people just getting their feelings hurt. That’s pretty insulting to many people who have suffered abuse. I’m not saying you are wrong, just that your words impact people.

    Xenia – I’ll say right out that you annoy me. I’m sure you are a very nice person so I’ll try and ignore it so I can make a point, so here goes.
    God forbid Steph use a photo with someone you may or may not know. How then could we possibly seperate the issue at hand with the person that we may or may not know in the picture??
    What sours me to Christianity is people like you who tell me I am doing something wrong by working through my issues by sharing community with others who understand me. God knows you don’t understand me. You don’t understand my “friends” who may or may not be mocking your “son”. You somehow missed the good that comes out of the process of healing that SCCL is really about and that is just sad.

  239. Danica says:

    Xenia – you said, “I’ve been a serious critic of evangelical theology/ culture for the past ten years. I went to your site and scrolled through the photos and smiled and chuckled until I came to a photo of a group of happy young people and by golly, I thought one of them was my own son. Looked just like him. Suddenly your whole blog turned sour for me.”

    I think that perhaps you should consider that you may be experiencing some cognitive dissonance here. At first you stated that you identified with Stephanie’s critique of evangelical culture. And then you said that, after thinking you recognized your son in one of the pictures, the blog turned sour.

    I can understand and appreciate a woman’s ‘mama bear’ instinct, but I think maybe, when you thought you saw your son, it suddenly hit too close to home. You went from being objective about an issue that you yourself admitted to having been critical of, to being defensive. Perhaps you were made aware of a log when you set out to search for specks?

  240. Em says:

    Josiah (my youngest grandson’s name), “I know some of you just don’t get it …”
    i think you mean that kindly and are showing patience, but … this writer excepted, this is a very smart and quick on the uptake group, don’t mistake disagreement or another point of view as ‘not getting it…’ and please, please don’t see disagreement and differences here as intolerant (i know you didn’t say that); one thing for sure that i have seen over the past 6 or 7 years that they have tolerated me here is that this is the most tolerant group of opinionated, Truth loving, people on the planet – IMHO

  241. Josh Hamrick says:

    Hey SCCL folks, welcome to the Blog!

    You guys practice a little patience with Xenia, and you will find her to be a treasure like the rest of us have. If you can listen to her, despite initial disagreements, I promise there is much to learn. She is a wise and caring woman.

  242. Brian says:


    You said, “Second, saying that dismissing the culture by extension means she dismisses the people in it is both logically fallacious and demonstrably untrue. Why is it logically fallacious? Because it is like saying “you hate smoking so by extension you must hate smokers.” It simply doesn’t follow.”

    Your smoking analogy falls short of being relevant to the charge. You may not hate smokers, but if you go up to somebody with a cigarette in their mouth and tell them how much you hate smoking… they’re not going to feel your love or them… they’re going to feel as if you’re shaming them, hating them, maybe even demonizing them.

    You can’t mockingly criticize an entire movement without also effectively alienating all the people within that movement.

    Satire is intended to ridicule or shame people into changing… but that never works. If you want evangelicals to listen, your criticisms against them cannot be dressed in a sneer or mocking laughter… which satire necessarily does.

    Satire works only to entertain those who despise the subject being criticized. It does nothing to reform or improve anything. It serves only to drive a deeper wedge between the audience and the subject… making any reconciliation impossible because creates a caricature of the subject that features only flaws and evils… effectively dehumanizing the movement and people within it.

    They are no longer people… they are just crazy “evangelicals.” You may still love them in spite of their flaws. But none of them can feel your love. All they feel is ridicule, whether you intend that or not.

  243. Em says:

    Xenia has a book to write and i have a huge flow-chart to put back into the computer working with iMacs’ Pages – i hate it as it’s another learning curve, but … that’s what i get when i don’t use my external hard drive (not about to go to Cloud – ever, even tho i’ll probably die before that system crashes – but it will)
    i’ve fired this thing up all week to get on it and ended up emotionally involved with God’s family here instead – all week
    i thank Xenia (a good role model for us ladies) for the goad – if i post any more comments here today, please someone say something demeaning and snarky about my self control problem 😆

  244. Josiah says:

    Thanks Em! I appreciate your response.
    I did mean that kindly and that was an honest try to let some people know that SCCL does help many people to grow in their faith. I included my annoyance comment so I could communicate that fact that even though Xenia’s comments angered me, I really do care about having a conversation because without it we both can’t understand each other.
    I don’t see Xenia as intolerant. I don’t know her so that would be foolish of me. I do think that she choose a bad issue to make a stand on. There is so much more than mocking going on. I hope that she can see that.
    I really appeciate the people on here who are seeking to understand first.
    Thank you!

  245. Xenia says:

    I personally have been the victim, I guess I’ll say, of two occasions of church abuse, one of them a jaw-dropper and if I chose to, it could have been the subject of a blog of it’s own. Both these things happened many many years (and don’t involve my former CC) and I have had many years to think about these two events and my own responsibility.

    1. The first, less serious case of Xenia-abuse was entirely the pastor’s fault. I won’t go into details but he was under the thumb of a neurotic, possibly crazy wife and he just lost all sense of proportion. It was awful at the time and caused many tears but I now see it from both sides. The poor guy was at his wit’s end and I was a convenient target. God bless him and I hope he found some peace.

    2. The second case was entirely my fault. Looking back I see that I provoked a situation to the point the person had no real choice but to behave in the way he did. Sure, he could have been a real saint an found some way to defuse the situation but in retrospect, it was 95 percent, if not 100 percent, my fault. Of course, I didn’t think so at the time! You should have heard what I said about that situation at the time! It was terrible and became more terrible when I realized that *I* was the abuser. Yes, church members *can* abuse their pastors and when the situation goes south, scream “abuse!”

    So I am not a stranger to bad stuff happening at churches. But having been through two such happenings, one quite awful, I can tell you that forgiveness and moving on is the only cure. Lingering over the details, cherishing one’s hurts… I understand this all too well. And I know it takes time and you can’t just wake up one day and say “Ok, I’m over it.”

    But I can only offer advice based on my own experience: the sooner you let go and embrace the next thing in your life the sooner God’s cure will take effect.

  246. Xenia says:

    I should add that both these episodes involved hours and days and weeks of tears and obsessive conversations with whoever would hear my case. They affected my sleep and my general health. I understand! When I say “get over it” I am not being flippant although I am sure it sounds that way to your ears. Someone dear to me finally said to me, regarding the worst case, “Xenia, this is eating you up and you have to get over this and we are going to pray together and when we say “Amen” that is going to be the end of it.” (or words to that effect.) And that was the end of the crazy dreams and all the rest of it.

  247. Xenia says:

    And to avoid speculation, neither of these episodes had anything to do with my decision to leave the evangelical world.

  248. Danica says:

    Xenia (246), thank you for engaging. I am so sorry that happened to you. Especially in #2, I fully understand how a parishioner can abuse a pastor/leader – it’s happened to me in my current position.

    I think perhaps, as has been said in pp’s, one of the problems in understanding each other here is a generation gap. Those of us coming from the perspective of having no grey in our hair yet (well, if I’m honest, maybe just a few, lol), have the unique perspective of having been raised in the most recent incarnation of evangelical christian culture, by parents who hold a very black-and-white, modernistic view of the world. When you are raised with the view that everything is black and white, there is no grey area, then hurts tend to go unacknowledged. Hurts, after all, are messy, ugly, and have a lot of ‘grey’ in them, with no easy right / wrong answer. After a lifetime of unacknowledged pain and hurts, it is incredibly healing to be able to have a safe place to express the hurts and pain, and move on.

    What you see on SCCL is a community of people, raised in this culture, all going through the stages of grief and on the road to healing. It seems to be a lot of ‘anger’ and ‘dwelling on the hurt’, but that is because you’re seeing the collective whole, not each individual as they heal and move on. Stephanie’s place (calling?) is to stand on the wall and shout, “There! Over there! There is the _____. And it’s not ok!!!” She continues to do this because more people continue to need it. Perhaps she has recieved healing already from her past abuse (not sure on that, haven’t asked her), but regardless there are still others out there who are just starting the process themselves. Stephy just facilitates.

  249. just a reader says:

    I personally loved Stephanie’s blog and only wish I had thought of doing it myself! I completely identify with and understand what she is saying, and I feel it needs to be said. I have been quite disillusioned with the modern evangelical church after having been raised in it,(I am a pk),and until quite recently did not even know what I really believed, or if I even believed anything anymore. Most of this I feel is due to the hypocritical and wrong methods used in relating to people by these churches. They are all about how you can help them and growing the empire! If you have something to offer them that they can use to benefit they’re empire great! If you struggle, are hurting, or even just real about things often times it’s ” I will pray for you”and its left at that. The sad thing I have seen is that a lot of pastors (at least in the churches I have attended) talk the talk, but do not walk the walk, which is strange considering they profess that your walk should get better and not worse if you go “verse by verse” every week. You would think, if that’s really the case, they would have it down a little better instead of having affairs, taking extremely large salaries etc… I now attend a tiny baptist church with almost all older people and I love it because all the glitz and glamor and nonsense is put aside and I have been able to form REAL relationships with people who genuinely care and are willing to work with me on REAL issues as I am with them. Keep it up Stephanie, people may not be comfortable with the realness on your blog, but I feel you cant be real enough! The evangelical church needs to hear it!

  250. BrianD says:

    Brand new commenters please be patient if your first comment does not automatically appear. Once your email is approved your subsequent posts should automatically appear.

  251. Xenia says:

    If you are attracted to a church because of the celebrity pastor, don’t be surprised if he turns out to be a narcissist and treats you as if you were a dust bunny.

    If you are attracted to a church because they have numerous programs, don’t be surprised if they ask you to help out and you soon find yourself overworked.

    If you are attracted to a church because you like the pastor’s “strong teaching” don’t be surprised if you find yourself expected to obey his particular rules of Christian behavior.

    If you are attracted to a church because it’s so daringly non-traditional, don’t be surprised if your own cherished traditions get trampled

    If you are attracted by the big church campus, don’t be surprised if you are going to be asked to give a lot of money to support it all

    If you are attracted to a church because they have small groups, don’t be surprised if you encounter interpersonal difficulties within your group.

    If you are attracted to a church because it’s so hip and cool, don’t be surprised if they sail right past you into new levels of hipness and coolness, leaving you singing last year’s song.

    If you are attracted to a church because it’s so big you can avoid contact with other people, don’t be surprised if you are lonely and no one talks to you.

  252. John says:

    @Brian (#243): “You can’t mockingly criticize an entire movement without also effectively alienating all the people within that movement.”

    Actually, you can so long as the people within that particular movement are sufficiently self-reflective and willing to accept the possibility that things they find otherwise innocuous, or perhaps things they were unaware of, do not work out so well for some. As I’ve pointed out in previous comments, to pull off that degree of acceptance requires a tremendous amount of humility–something sorely lacking in our culture up to and including this comment thread (both sides). Not to flog a deceased equine, but, returning to my example of a Pharisee hearing Jesus mock him as a whitewashed tomb, I would suggest that my hypothetical Pharisee very well might have been able to see the harm he was (almost certainly) inadvertently doing to others if he had been humble enough to look beyond the shock of being mocked by Jesus to the actual substance of what Jesus was saying to him. Perhaps there were some Pharisees at the time who managed to do just that, but we don’t see any explicit reports of it happening in the Gospels.

    The bottom line for Jesus in so much of what he said to the teachers of the Law of his day was simply that they were too convinced of their own rightness to see what they were doing to actual people with the rules they preached. It’s no accident that Jesus reserved his most aggressive mockery for these sorts of people. If your goal in life is to be right, and also be proved so publicly, the chances of you being able to do any real good are virtually nil. Jesus was not impressed with that attitude and neither should we be. Much of what is mocked at SCCL is precisely this attitude as exhibited by American evangelicals, and whether or not you (the generic “you” as opposed to you personally) as an evangelical are personally guilty of exhibiting this attitude makes no difference at all in the bigger picture. Jesus reserved so much vitriol for the teachers of the Law specifically because he claimed those teachers not only refused to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (which is obviously their choice to make) but also because they actively prevented others from doing so (which is definitely not their choice to make). If you (again, generically) accept these teachings and sit under the authority of these teachers you are tacitly endorsing what they endorse whether or not you have reservations about certain things (which, more often than not, you simply keep to yourself). When Jesus saw injustice, he called it out for what it was, and he gained no friends among the powerful for advocating for the weak. He also never sugar-coated things when addressing injustice and, by doing so, gained enormously powerful enemies.

    My purpose in this comment is simply to point out that the idea which seems to underlie so many of the objections to SCCL is that everyone is responsible for his or her own actions, and that is a deeply ingrained idea in our culture. What that idea quite often misses is the complicity we accept when we try to compartmentalize what constitutes an action on our part. While the vast majority of evangelicals have undoubtedly never committed despicable acts against the vulnerable in their midst, when a person stands up in their midst and claims to have been the victim of just such an act committed by one of their own what they do next determines whether or not they will accept complicity in the alleged act. Do they: A) Circle the wagons and shun the potential victim so as to preserve both their idea of what things can and cannot happen in their midst and their image of whoever the accused perpetrator might be; or, B) Reach out to the potential victim in a true and loving effort to determine what did or did not happen? How that group chooses to respond, in short, determines what complicity they assume, if any.

    So, in the end, if you are part of a group that presently does or in the past has done harm to anyone, and you fail to speak out against it for whatever reason might seem expedient at the time, you are making a decision to accept complicity in those bad acts by virtue of your silence. If you compound your decision to remain silent by choosing also to continue supporting that group both spiritually and materially you have ceased to be a bystander failing to act to prevent wrong and have assumed the role of willing accomplice. Most people make that decision without considering the ramifications of it. Rationalizing your silence does nothing to mitigate its effects.

  253. Hi Xenia,
    it’s so funny you brought that up because that scenario has happened to me several times, but it unfortunately didn’t involve a pie being brought over. But people have told me that they saw their relatives and spouses on the blog and that it made them laugh. They seemed to insinuate that it was a bit of a hard realization, because who wants to be involved in something as pithy and harmful as Christian culture?, but they know I’ve been involved in it as well which is why I can write about it, and they were very nice about it. But I definitely appreciate the point that you’re making.

  254. Xenia says:

    I am glad it went well, Stephanie.

    Your blog is something I myself might have done at one time in my life. Instead I came here to the PP and argue theology all the day long with MLD and AV. Who chose the better path? I don’t know!

  255. Xenia says:

    You know Stephanie, you are a very winsome person. You are impossible not to like and I haven’t really gotten much joy from criticizing your blog. I would not have ever said a word about it except that Reuben brought you (and it) here to the PP and we analyze everything to death over here… some of us, anyway.

    But I will stick to my mantra: the sooner people can get over their hurts, the better it is for them. (Does your blog help people get over their hurts by giving them something to laugh at and to relate to? Probably.) And the corollary, which is people need to take some responsibility for what happened to them. (This is not always possible as there are times when the pastor is 100 percent to blame.)

  256. John says:

    @Xenia (#252): I can tell you’re really trying to help, and I can’t object to your observations in this post. However, you seem convinced (stubbornly so) that the pain and anguish many at SCCL experience is founded on just such simplistic and superficial aspects of evangelical culture. I agree completely that the pitfalls you name are so obvious as to be almost funny, but we’re not talking about simple disgruntlement here. In many ways, I perceive you and MLD saying pretty much the same thing in some cases: “Stop your bellyaching. Don’t be a crybaby. Get over it.”

    If all we were discussing was bellyaching crybabies you would be well justified in counseling people to get over it and move on. That’s not at all what we’re discussing. You and MLD, however, seem determined to shoehorn this discussion into that box. So please allow me to say plainly that within the context you have repeatedly applied to this discussion you are absolutely right. Bellyaching crybabies need to grow up, get over it, and move on to bigger and better things. On the other hand, though, when we’re discussing a general state of bankruptcy and corruption within a whole movement (one which has grown to a size which has enabled it to produce its own distinct culture) things have definitely moved well beyond bellyaching crybabies. Many of us at SCCL, myself included, see the evangelical movement in America as presently constituted to be an undeniably real and destructive force both within the greater Church and without. There comes a time with such movements, and I would say the American evangelical movement has reached it, when simply clucking your tongue, shaking your head, and deciding that it’s not for you becomes clearly insufficient. We are required to act against it if for no other reason than our duty to our fellow humans. If you name yourself a Christian in addition to being a no-frills, base-model human I would suggest that your duty is all the more clear. What you face is a movement which is doing real and demonstrable harm not only to people but also to the name you hold to be above all names. This movement does its harm not simply in spite of the name of Christ but positively in the name of Christ. If you are a Christian and that fact fails to move you to act I simply cannot fathom what would.

  257. I would argue that there’s not a better path…or that you’re both on the better path? 🙂

  258. Em says:

    John, you use the word ‘mock’ to describe Jesus’ dealing with the hypocritical Hebrew leadership? Jesus had the authority and, on the other hand, the word ‘mock’ isn’t even the best choice to define His words to them, is it?

  259. Another Voice says:

    Jesus said some strong words to the Pharisees. I’m not Jesus and unlike the Sinless Son of Man, I’m afraid my strong words are tainted with sin. Thankfully, Jesus never commanded me to find the appropriate context and motive to call someone a whitewashed tomb.

    Of course, Jesus did command His followers (and I am one of those) to bless those who despitefully use you. To seek reconciliation if possible, and to pray for your enemies and forgive everyone who has wronged you. He modelled that behavior for us too. Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.

    I believe He did this for our growth, our benefit, not the one we forgive (who may not even be aware we have forgiven them).

    That’s my way of agreeing with Xenia.

  260. Another Voice says:

    John. You are a bigot. You indict in post 257 an entire movement of God at work for years that encompasses thousands of churches and millions of Christians and has done and continues to do an enormous amount of good for the kingdom of God.

    And please spare the pop psychology of how anyone who is offended at your bigotry must have closet skeletons they are unwilling to examine.

  261. Xenia says:

    John, I left the evangelical world, which I was a member of all my life, at age fifty and became Eastern Orthodox. I am fully aware of the deficiencies of evangelicalism. I have been discussing these deficiencies here on the PP and elsewhere for ten years. Yes, I am fully aware that we are talking about more than the banality of Veggie Tales.

    Moreover, I have taken the risk here of telling you (not in detail) of two very painful incidents in my own evangelical experience.

    As long as many (most?) Americans are looking for the American Dream instead of the Kingdom of God evangelicalism will be what it is becoming: entertainment-based, individualistic, materialistic and vapid. This is what people seem to want today. You all have decided this is superficial and harmful (and I agree) but let me ask you, what ideas do you have that would change this? What kind of church do you envision rising from the ashes of evangelicalism?

    I have deep theological differences with not only evangelicalism but Protestantism in general. I have discussed them here on the PP for many years. I believe that modern evangelicalism is the logical product of Protestantism when set in the very materialistic, entertainment-oriented American culture. You can gather up a bunch of unhappy evangelicals who are looking for a more authentic church experience but if they are just as materialistic and entertainment-oriented as the church they are abandoning I don’t see much hope for significant improvement.

  262. Xenia says:

    But I must hasten to say that not all evangelical churches are vapid, banal, materialistic and entertainment-oriented.

  263. Ixtlan says:

    Yes Xenia, you must….some of us are not following the masses who strive for the entertaining me driven spirituality aka “church”.

    What I find interesting is that there is a part of evangelicalism that has the same ecclesiastical perspective of authority that the Orthodox do. They just view authority through pragmatic streams of whatever is working at moment rather through the direction of Patriach and bishops.

    And just so that there is equal time, I considered EO as an alternative some time ago. A friend who is EO is still thinking I’ll “convert”. But I have issues with some of the EO’s doctrinal views, particularly in the realm of soteriology.

  264. John says:

    @Em (#259): As I stated way up there in #139, I do believe Jesus was engaging in blatant mockery of the Pharisees. Perhaps “shaming” would work as a description of what he was up to, as well, but what is mockery if not an attempt to shame? I’m willing to entertain the possibility that “mock” has a more negative connotation since it could be interpreted as serving a nefarious end, but one could make the same claim about any attempt to shame. Do you have any thoughts on a better descriptor?

    My point in using that particular example is, I would hope, fairly obvious in the current context. Jesus called out the Pharisees publicly on their faults. He did so not because they had faults but rather because they refused to acknowledge them relying instead on their obvious displays of public piety as a retort. How, they wondered, could anyone see them praying so openly on the street corner and believe they were anything but the most righteous? After all, they had the Law and the Prophets on their side, and they marked themselves as belonging to God in every imaginable way. At least, that’s what they believed, and they held to that belief stubbornly. What else are we to do with that degree of self-righteousness if not call it out publicly–especially considering the fact that the things we’re calling out are themselves public acts done in Jesus’ name? Jesus saw the Pharisees behaving as they did in the name of God and called them hypocrites and blasphemers for it. If believers are instructed to go do as Jesus did, to enact the authority of Christ you cite by doing as he did in his name, what do you imagine the proper response would be if a believer (or a group of them) saw another believer (or a group of them) doing harmful things in the name of Christ? By “harmful things” I’m not talking about quibbles over doctrine but actual bad acts.

    Jesus at one point sent out his disciples with instructions to go heal the sick and cast out demons in his name. Upon their return, they reported that they had followed his instructions and were astonished at the results. Jesus asked them what else they might have expected. Clearly, Jesus was intent on installing his authority to do as he did within the body of believers. So when you mention that Jesus had the authority to do as he did, I agree and point out that he passed that authority on to his followers.

    Speaking only for myself, since I’m just your run-of-the-mill, non-believing heathen, my basis for speaking out is twofold: 1) I see the current state of the American evangelical movement coupled with its ongoing influence in our society and politics and am deeply disturbed by the harm I see in its wake; and, 2) I see the current state of the American evangelical movement and feel a real and abiding sense of responsibility for my part in making it what it is during my time in it which calls me to do all I can to counteract what I partly set in motion.

  265. Xenia says:

    Ixtlan, I wish I said that even more strongly. Here on the PP we spend a lot of time talking about those Elephant Room people and big names (who I will not name, I am tired of their names) but I don’t think these people have much relevance to the majority of Christians in America. No one in my church has ever heard of any of them and when I talk with my CC and Baptist friends, they’ve never heard of them either.

  266. Xenia says:

    Blah, I am tired of hearing myself talk.

    Forgive me.

  267. Ixtlan says:

    I read on a blog where a guy who taught (maybe he still does, DKDC) @ CCBC whincing because most of his students didn’t know who Mark Driscoll or A29 is. I thought, who the hell cares? Really? I thought Bible college was about teaching the Bible more so than ( notice I said more so fellows) acquainting the students with contemporary church activity.

    BTW, Xenia, any thoughts on my 2nd paragraph on #264?


  268. PP Vet says:

    “evangelical movement in America as presently constituted (is) an undeniably real and destructive force”

    Now that my friends is a good topic for debate. Personally I believe reasonable people of genuine faith could differ on this.

    I see the evang mvmt as a glass half full, so to speak, and I am ever grateful for it.

  269. Xenia says:

    Ixtlan, let me get back to that later. I’m tired of talking and I am sure everyone’s tired of reading.

  270. John says:

    @Another Voice (#261): You are, of course, welcome to your opinion of me. If you’d care to express it more constructively I’ll probably even engage in conversation with you on that subject. I would like to make two quick points about #261, if I may.

    First, you claim I indict “an entire movement of God” in #257. I disagree. What I indict is an entire movement of humans who seek to perform pious acts for all to see. Evangelism, as currently practiced in American evangelicalism, mainly consists of what is known as “outreach”, and I’m sure you’re familiar with it–visitation (or cold-calling for Jesus, as I call it), inviting your un-churched friends to come get some church, witnessing to complete strangers about Jesus as a means of converting them, revival meetings, camp meetings, crusades. What’s missing here? Stephy hit on it in an earlier comment: relationship. All of those things have to do with evangelicals doing rather than evangelicals being. As in, being a friend or being a confidant or being a servant. Being such things, I might add, without imposing a salvation agenda on top of it all. What sort of friend, confidant, or servant are you really if you ultimately have an ulterior motive for it all? And what, pray tell, do evangelicals who do all of the above with the salvation agenda attached do in the end if all those efforts fail? Do they keep you as a friend? That would be extraordinarily rare. In fact, most evangelical churches would tell a member who had tried and failed to convert someone in that manner that they need to turn their backs on that person for fear of their bad influence and many would subject any member who refused to church discipline. Such a scenario can be called many things, but “relationship” isn’t one of them.

    Second, as to your preemptive strike against pop psychology, perhaps it would be wise to confirm that I actually possess weapons of pop psychology prior to launching any strikes. As far as I’m aware, I have yet to invoke psychology of any sort whatever. To do so would most decidedly be fallacious since it would be a de facto appeal to authority. So, if it’s not too much trouble, please argue with me when you argue with me, and avoid arguing with other voices either within or without your head and assigning their words to me.

  271. Scott says:

    Me thinks that John needs to learn that most of the time when blogging, less is better. No way I’m gonna slog through all that verbage, no offense, bro.

  272. John says:

    @Xenia (#262): It may surprise you to learn that I find very little to argue over in your final paragraph. From where I’m sitting, I would call your connection of the current American evangelical movement’s state of existence to the natural progression of Protestantism pretty dang perceptive. (For the record, I’m censoring myself heavily in all my posts here on PxP. I am rather fond of cursing.) Now, I’m no particular fan of the Orthodox groups either (for mostly different reasons), but you are quite correct that the throwing over of liturgy in American evangelical churches has lead to many unforeseen consequences–not the least of which, in my opinion, is the all-too-common doctrinal unmooring of so many megachurches. As for your observation of the terminally dissatisfied, wayfaring evangelicals wandering from one banal, materialistic church to another, that activity has been polished up in many quarters and rechristened “Church Planting” these days. Personally, it strikes me as more along the lines of church poaching.

  273. John says:

    @Scott (#272): No offense taken. I’m never offended by people choosing not to read what I write unless they’re also criticizing what I write. That’s a different ballgame. I’m sure it will come as no surprise to you that I’ve heard similar objections regarding the length of my posts in the past on more than one group to which I contribute. I’m sure I have plenty of room to improve, but what I’m doing in these cases is trying as hard as I possibly can to address the matters I’m discussing fairly and evenly (quite imperfectly). In the case of something as complex as the topic at hand, that becomes increasingly more difficult to do succinctly. A more gifted writer and thinker would certainly do a better job, but I’m stuck with the brain in my cranium.

    You are correct that oftentimes less is better. Until it isn’t.

  274. Em says:

    John perhaps we are on the same page in one respect? Christianity when it becomes an institution is in danger of becoming a religion and that is a dangerous thing … i’m not voicing the majority opinion here when i say that, i know … institutions have their place in an orderly society, but when it comes to God – in the here and now – those of us called the Church are to be ambassadors representing His kingdom and, by that definition, we are not the rulers of this world

    however, as to the word ‘mock’ pertaining to God (Christ included) dealing with the race of mankind, i can only find one reference in the Bible (my God source) and that is a reference to Him mocking the rulers of nations who come against Him
    Jesus, taught and rebuked with authority when on the earth … there’s a lot we need to learn and a lot of wrong-headedness that needs rebuking …

  275. Em says:

    if SCCL mocks and the target is without collateral damage, it’s a good thing for all the reasons that have been stated on the thread – it’s nice to have a label, saves time … but i’m not big on labels or the popular uses of profiling today … seems like folks are against it and then they use it anyway – dunno, for me ‘evangelical’ is a good word

  276. John……Scott not reading your stuff is a blessing, trust me 😆

  277. A Believer says:


    Unless I’m mistaken (I haven’t read everything on this thread), you are identifying yourself as an ex christian.

    Yet you seem to have no problem quoting Jesus as you seek to address christians here. Do you still see Him as authoritative?

    And better yet, what is your current perspective on who Jesus is?

    And just so you know John, this is not a loaded question for me. I am genuinely curious.

  278. Nonnie says:

    Xenia said

    ” I am very critical of many things about evangelicalism. And I said some things my first few years out that I profoundly regret. But no lasting joy comes from mocking. As I said earlier and from personal experience (which I hope you won’t dismiss) mockery is a psuedo-comfort. It is illusory.”

    OH, YES! An honest and humble heart is speaking…..listen up, folks.

  279. Reuben says:

    Well, I’m gonna go get drunk

    Night all.

  280. Nonnie says:

    Oh, and I did mean to mention that I was very happy to see the dialogue developing between folks.

    John, Stephanie, Mark and others…welcome! Many here at the,PhxP have been hurt in churches or seen abuses. Over the years of blogging here many have learned that staying in that anger and bitterness only destroys and does not help in the healing process.

    We come from different “tribes” but we are united in our faith in Christ. Like all families, we laugh , argue, discuss, tease…..but there is a respect here for one another…a knowing that he or she is a soul for who Christ died .

  281. BrianD says:

    Everyone, remember that while recovery and healing is the goal, everyone’s path to that is going to look different from everyone else’s.

    Some people are going to be on that journey a lot longer than you may think they should be. And their reaction towards certain aspects of Christianity that you find affirming may be very very different.

    Let’s remember to extend a little grace towards one another.

  282. So, did everyone enjoy All Saints Day today? I think it should be close to high holiday status… but alas, most American Christians ignore it.

    Great hymn for the day.

  283. Another Voice says:

    remember that while recovery and healing is the goal
    BrianD, This comment is not directed specifically at ANYONE who has posted in this thread.

    But once we leave the blogosphere and look people in the eyes and hear their problems and their pain, I can assure you there are, sadly, a lot of people who have no desire for recovery and healing. (I assume a few of them find their way onto the internet on occasion)

    Our Lord has given us what is needed, in both the Spirit’s power and Biblical instruction, but often that is simply not good enough for some.

    Like the man Jesus asked, “Would you be made well” who could only respond with an explanation of his problems – he didn’t simply answer, “Yes.”

    Jesus showed grace on that man, and He certainly often works in spite of our resistance. But we can certainly hinder the work God would do in our lives.

    God expected the Israelites to spend some time in the wilderness, trusting and learning from Him. However, it was their fault that what was to be a few weeks turned into 40 years.

  284. BrianD says:

    MLD, I noticed that the shelves at Kroger were almost bare of All Saints Day candy 😉

  285. In order for me to get “engaged” in the spiritual abuse conversation, I think I would need to first hear someone (and i have yet to see anyone do it) say “I really had this problem at church X, but first let me tell you how I also contributed to the problem.”

    I have never once heard one of these people (and I am not talking particularly to this SCCL group) ever, ever, ever take a piece of the blame for the problem. It’s always like it dropped out of the sky or appeared out of a vapor.

    The reason my church body has trained reconciliation groups is that we know that it is never a one way endeavor.

  286. Reuben says:

    AV, pastor AV, the goal of people like Stephanie Drury is to see recovery and healing. The goal of some people in this thread was to tell them that they are being babies, move along, get over it, etc. And then follow that with some mocking of their own. “Me and my Bible” solutions seem to deny the entire purpose and function of the Body of Christ.

    I am going to shut up before I go flat nuts.

  287. I just thought I would post the hymn again – it’s worth it – read the words.

  288. Sinner n Saint says:

    Stephanie used to RT, with her own comments, a bunch of my tweets when I was an A29 pastor…I always found them humorous.

    I have asked in a variety of ways on FB, why Xians prefer Romney despite his Mormonism and deride Obama despite his confession of Xianity. The only answer I get is that Romney represents Xian morals and a godly lifestyle. When I ask how you can represent godliness apart from the Holy Spirit I get no answers.

  289. Reuben says:

    MLD, you blind fool, I have done nothing for two years but hold myself responsible for as much pain I inflicted on myself as the pain that was inflicted on me.

    I am shutting my damned computer off.

  290. Another Voice says:

    MLD – I don’t really do marital counseling (for a lot of reasons I won’t elaborate on here).

    However, I will meet with anyone if they ask, for at least one discussion.

    And it is amazing to see each party in the marriage absolutely refuse to look at their own behavior in that initial meeting. It is 100% finger pointing almost every time.

  291. erunner says:

    I posted this song on RB within the last week and commented that I thought of friends here at the PP. Music means a lot to me and God has used it so often to calm my spirit. It may not be your cup of tea but maybe someone will find it edifying.

  292. erunner says:

    I posted it on FaceBook and I had no idea the song would show up in the post. Why the video is shaky I don’t know.

  293. Another Voice says:

    Reuben, BrianD was not talking about Stephanie only and I most certainly went out of my way to state I was not pointing at anyone thus far who had posted in your thread here.

    And yeah, it absolutely grieves me when I encounter someone I want to see healed and recovered more than they want it for themselves. Those people do exist, Reuben.

    I simply took issue, from experience, with BrianD’s point that everyone wants to heal. I’m sure Stephanie wants everyone to heal. I know Michael wants everyone to heal. I know this community wants everyone who is hurting to heal.

    To stay on the marriage thing for a second. If I meet with someone who says they need marriage ‘counseling’ – after listening to both parties bitch at each other (the word fits), my sole counsel at that first visit is for them to read the Bible together each day and see me in a week. (Romaine’s old system).

    Don’t preach at each other. Don’t study. Just both read half the chapter, taking turns. No commentary.

    One of two things happens. They do it, and talk about how much better their week was. Not a perfect week. Not a cure-all. Just a better week. We can then go from there.

    Or sometimes, next week they tell me they didn’t do it.

    Well don’t tell me you want your marriage fixed, or at least don’t pretend God has anything to say about it. Be honest and say you each want to bitch at each other in hopes that the pastor will pick sides and tell one person they are right and the other is wrong. And that you are more than happy to do that for an hour each week, when you can’t commit 5 minutes together to both shut-up and be humbled before God’s Word and Spirit.

    Everyone “wants” to quit their addictions. Most just don’t want to give up what they are addicted towards.

  294. BrianD says:

    YouTube links apparently show up now as videos instead of links. I don’t know if that’s because of the blog theme or WordPress.

    The shakiness is intentional on the part of the video’s producer.

  295. BrianD says:

    I didn’t say everyone wanted to heal. You can’t possibly be on the path to healing if you don’t want to be there in the first place.

  296. Another Voice says:

    Thanks for the clarification, BrianD.

  297. A Believer says:

    Come on Rueben.

    We can’t have you drunk, flat out nuts and turned off! 😯

    Simply due to the nature of this blog and theirs, the merger was bound to cause some expected complications!

    You don’t strike me as someone who is naive enough to expect everyone to join arm in arm and sing kumbaya.

  298. John says:

    This (hopefully) brief comment is in reply to MLD in #286 and AV (Pastor AV, apparently) in #291.

    Refusing to take responsibility for our mistakes is, indeed, a serious problem not only in the Church in particular but also in our society as a whole. That said, I fail to see how pointing out such a thing within the context of this discussion is especially constructive. Doing so seems to imply (right up to the very edge of plainly claiming) that the people who have mentioned hurts and anguish here are guilty of that very thing or defending those who are due to inappropriate credulity. If not all who claim it, precisely, then clearly most if I’m to take MLD’s earlier claim at face value. Certainly, saying that most claims of spiritual abuse are the result of immaturity and come from crybabies is hardly a Christ-like attitude as it’s wholly lacking even the impulse toward compassion. It is (and I know how you hate this word, MLD) highly dismissive, and it serves to invalidate the experiences of people you do not know and have no basis to invalidate or dismiss. Simply put, it appears that your reflex when hearing this sort of story is to doubt the veracity of the claims of the potential victim immediately in favor of someone else you do not know and have no apparent motivation to defend. Frankly, I can’t understand this reflex. Why, exactly, do you feel the need to do it? Are you assuming on some level that these criticisms and claims of abuse are somehow directed at you? Are you assuming they’re directed at God? At Jesus? You act as if you have a personal stake in the outcome of these situations (or, as people say in my parts, like you’ve got a dog in this fight). But how could you possibly have some stake in it all? It’s a most curious reaction, to be sure.

    These questions of mine are quite sincere. I’m not trying to set you up or draw you into a scenario that would allow me to embarrass you. I truly have been wracking my brain all day trying to imagine what your reasons might be, and it finally occurred to me simply to ask. Neither of you strike me as anything other than sincere and devout, and yet you seem to default to an attitude and posture that strikes me as not in the best tradition of compassionate concern for the suffering and the weak. Please explain, if possible.

  299. John,
    Who are you to sit in judgement of what is and what is not “Christ like attitude”?

    Consider this for one moment – perhaps I have experience in this area and that I know what I am talking about.

    Disagree if you want, but you will do so only out of your own ignorance.

  300. You are very selective in your quotations;
    “Certainly, saying that most claims of spiritual abuse are the result of immaturity and come from crybabies…”

    You left out the most important element of that comment – I also included “unrealized expectations” – are you going to tell me that this is not a tremendous part of what begins the disillusionment and frustration?

  301. Another Voice says:

    I grew up in likely the most racist city in Southern California. I went to college in a semi-southern state with a lot of racial division. I grew up also with racism in my family and among some neigbors.

    Even though I was not a Christian during any of that time, I despised racism. And I would fight you if you acted like a racist towards one of my friends. A had a lot of black and mexican friends because of sports. Sports tends to bring people together on the field of play. Even just pickup hoops at the gym.

    But it was off the field or court, if I was hanging with my black or mexican friends, I would run into some white guys I knew and I would see their whole attitude of ‘What are you with those guys for, AV’

    Likewise, if I was with some white friends and ran into a black or mexican buddy somewhere, they often would throw the cold shoulder so they could keep their cred with their other minority friends.

    So you could tell who your real friends were at those moments. Who really had your back, and who just hung with you out of convenience when others they preferred weren’t around.

    In honor of Friday – Make your own application.

  302. Jen says:

    MLD wrote: “In order for me to get “engaged” in the spiritual abuse conversation, I think I would need to first hear someone (and i have yet to see anyone do it) say “I really had this problem at church X, but first let me tell you how I also contributed to the problem.”

    I have never once heard one of these people (and I am not talking particularly to this SCCL group) ever, ever, ever take a piece of the blame for the problem. It’s always like it dropped out of the sky or appeared out of a vapor.”

    What would that look like, exactly? From folks I know, it might look like this:

    “I really had this problem with Church X, because the pastor told my it was my responsibility to return to and submit my physically abusive husband, but first let me tell you how I also contributed to the problem by ________ ” By what? Believing? Joining a church? Seeking help from the pastor? What are you looking for here, MLD?

    Let me try another.

    “I really had this problem with Church X, because the married youth pastor raped me in the back of the church van when I was 15, but first let me tell you how I contributed to the problem by ________” By what? Believing? Joining a church? Going on a youth event? Being a young woman?

    What ARE you looking for here, MLD?

  303. Alex says:

    John, word of advice, you’ll never get through to part of the group here. It is what it is. Some of the guys just don’t get it regarding those who have been hurt in the church, and they never will. That’s OK. Their opinions aren’t necessary to validate the reality of the growing Trend and the growing public outcry against the kind of garbage in the church that many of us know too well.

  304. Em says:

    “Some of the guys just don’t get it regarding those who have been hurt in the church, and they never will.” maybe that’s true, i don’t know – but one little word change would make that assertion much more credible as far as i’m concerned …

    Some of the guys just don’t get it regarding those who have been hurt in **a** church, and they never will.

  305. There are a lot of places that we can be hurt and probably the two most hurtful are at home or in another community that we’ve trusted to be safe … Christian or not, the most important victory is in pulling out of it (the hurt) as an adult with a good perspective that doesn’t allow one to perpetuate the grief – venting helps, hearing others views and experiences does too – kind and honest input should be valued highly

    just observing, not preaching … still working some residuals of the problem myself – day by day and each is a chance to gain what is of eternal value – it’s where the joy is

  306. Alex says:

    I hear you Em, then I met Julie Anne Smith who was sued by her pastor for speaking out against abuse (not CC) and from so many other now from The Wartburg Watch etc who have been treated similarly in SGM and Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Churches.

    There’s a lot of Moses Modeling mindset going on and similar bad dynamics, not just in CC (though I obviously nominate them as Kings of spiritual abuse, but I don’t want to hurt feelings over here and make this about CC which is why I said “Churches” in the generic form above).

  307. Alex says:

    But, I don’t want to dominate a thread and I don’t want to waste my valuable time arguing with paper tigers and men of inaction…so good night all.

    John, I agree with much of what you said and I think your instincts are largely correct with regards to these matters. Hang in there.

  308. John,

    Alex has a blog which I invite you to visit, interact at, and learn from.

    He has been through a personal hell and is calling on Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa to exert influence in the issues which he raises. I agree with his continued call for the leadership at CCCM & any other CC affiliate to also support Alex’s call for action and transparency regarding CCV.

    Many of us continue to pray for Alex, his nuclear and extended family, and for The Calvary Chapel Movement, which many of us called home until we each moved away from for unique and personal reasons. Many of us still have friends in the CC laity and leadership, and many of us believe that Jesus has not removed His Light from the Calvary Chapel “lampstand”, though some leaders are, sadly, casting their personal silhouettes between That Light and our eyes.

    We remain confident that Jesus is NEVER done with His Church, which are each of us who cry out to Him for mercy.


  309. John says:

    @A Believer (#278): If you want me to answer all those questions I suggest you get comfortable because it will take a while. I will, however, endeavor to give the briefest answers possible here and allow for follow-up if you want more details. To be clear, I’m more than happy to talk about any and all of these topics (although I may choose to redact particular details if I’m concerned they might compromise a third party). Even my best efforts to summarize here will necessarily be lengthy so fair warning to anyone who doesn’t wish to navigate my verbiage. I’ll answer your questions more or less in the order you asked them.

    First, yes, I identify as a former Christian. I am now an avowed atheist, but I once was quite devoted and a sincere believer. I was an ordained minister in a denomination which for now, at least, shall remain nameless. My answers to the following questions should offer you some degree of insight into how I found myself in my current state of non-belief. And, just to get it out in the open right up front, I was invited to leave my position, my church, and my denomination for asking too many questions that presented challenges to established and widely accepted doctrine within the church. I call it, with some humor now that I’ve had years to work through everything, receiving the Right Foot of Fellowship. Without a doubt, I came across as antagonizing to those above me as well as my fellow pastors (to whom I addressed those inconvenient questions exclusively), and I had some sense of that fact at the time. I didn’t fully grasp just how antagonizing I was, and as a result things came to a head rather unpleasantly for all involved. If I had been wiser in those days I might have been able to manage a way to remain as a minister in that denomination (although probably not in that church), but the luxury of hindsight affords me the opportunity to be at peace about how things have turned out. In the interim, I have made it a point to apologize both in writing and in person to everyone I offended. I received one brief, strained reply from one of the men who was above me during that period, and I honestly appreciated that he took the time to make the effort. (Yes, I got an “I’ll pray for you” as a parting note.) The other two people involved (the pastor and the other associate pastor of the congregation I served) have never responded at all, and on the one occasion when I attempted to go to the church offices personally to see them and ask their forgiveness the associate pastor saw me coming and turned around to head in the other direction while the pastor refused to see me. The poor receptionist (who I knew quite well) was simply horrified to have me standing there. I felt so bad for her and decided it would be best if I left. That was my last attempt at contact.

    As to the authority of Jesus, while I do not see him as holding any authority over me personally, I do recognize that Christians see him as holding the ultimate authority over all of us. I’ve been called dishonest and a modern-day sophist for addressing Christians in a manner that presumes their belief in Christ’s ultimate authority while holding no such belief myself. Perhaps there’s some truth to that charge, but I sincerely consider it to be incorrect. What I’m doing when I cite Jesus as I have in this thread is to try to approach Christians in a manner that allows them to get my point more easily. It’s a bit like knowing the shorthand or speaking to someone in a common language that may be somewhat mysterious to others. I can generally frame arguments in a way that (I hope, at least) is instantly understandable to Christians. Or, at the very least, to certain varieties of Christians. So, I do not see him as authoritative outside the context of Christianity, but I do acknowledge his authority within that context and do my best to honor it and those who accept it by offering what I hope to be an honest representation of the scriptural Jesus. I hope that makes some sense to you.

    My current perspective of who Jesus is, or rather was, is a bit less defined. As anyone who has gone through virtually any seminary of a stripe other than evangelical will readily tell you, we don’t have good records concerning the historical Jesus. There are a tiny handful of extra-scriptural references to him or his followers from historians who lived some decades after his reported death, but most of what we know of him as a historic figure comes from the Gospels. That’s problematic primarily because of two factors. First, the gospels were not authored by eyewitnesses despite their respective attributions; and, second, what copies we have of those gospels are several hands removed from the originals. Even our oldest surviving manuscripts were copied centuries after the events they report, and there is no dispute outside devotional circles that those gospel stories were circulated orally for decades before different groups in different places started compiling them into written documents. All of that means that we have fairly weak evidence (from a historian’s perspective) of who the actual man was. It’s pretty well settled in most quarters that he was indeed a Palestinian Jewish peasant (and I don’t use that word as a pejorative) who became an apocalyptic prophet of the day, ministered for a period of either months or years depending on which gospel you read, did quite a job of irritating the Temple authorities who came to view him as a threat to the peace and good order of society, and ultimately was crucified by the Romans for an act of political insurrection (naming himself King of the Jews). That’s just about all we feel we know with any certainty. Everything beyond that is subject to quite a bit of interpretation and some degree of conjecture. So my perspective of him is based solely on what little information we have available. He was a man from Nazareth who spent a period as a teacher and prophet, primarily in Galilee, and held to a view of God and his imminent intervention in the affairs of his time that had been becoming increasingly prevalent among the Jews of the region for roughly a century before his birth. He was apparently a vocal advocate of conducting oneself in a manner consistent with the commandments of God to care for the poor, the needy, and the stranger in the land. He charged the Temple authorities with failing to abide by God’s commandments. He did not care at all for the conduct or attitudes of the Pharisees (or, to a somewhat lesser degree, the Sadducees for that matter). He preached a message of God’s coming just intervention in the world which would bring that age to an end and usher in the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. His agitation garnered attention from the Temple authorities and, eventually, the Roman authorities as well. He was condemned to death by Pontius Pilate and crucified on his order.

    As I mentioned at the beginning of this comment, I could say a great deal more, but I’ll stop there and await any questions that might follow.

  310. BrianD says:

    I just recovered a post that had been caught by the WordPress Akismet filter we use to filter spam.

    In case this happens again, especially in the middle of the night, I ask you to be patient, one of the moderators will restore it as soon as possible.

  311. John,
    Thanks for spending time here at Phoenix Preacher.

    Someone you might find interesting is

    I am a person who has struggled through many questions here, by the grace and patience of Mr. Michael Newnham.

    You may encounter some healthy “interaction”, but it is entirely rooted in the love in the heart of each human who engages you via these odd screen names.

    Thanks for your participation, and patience as we journey together.

  312. BrianD,
    Good to have you here tonight.

  313. BrianD says:

    Thanks G, but The night has come to an end for me. Unlike the Energizer rabbit my batteries need recharging and Im right on empty 😆

  314. Ixtlan says:

    Reading through this thread gave me flashbacks of being in a Southern Baptist business meeting. You’d have to had been there to get that….. although, all in all, this has been a good thread….thanks Reuben and Stephanie.

    The funny thing about church people is that many of them have this “all or nothing” approach toward things. And it usually doesn’t leave them when they leave the church. They just trade one cause for another. When I spent a season “in the world”, it was one way I coud recognize renegede Christians such as myself…… and they were usually the biggest hell-raisers.

    I’m learning that the more I study the Bible, there are less things that I can be dogmatic about. After many, many years of being a part of the church, there is a whole lot going on that looks really spiritual, but is not necessarily the case.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. Like I said earlier, we just change seats at the same table.

  315. John says:

    @MLD (#300 and #301): Perhaps I’m really pushing your buttons when I say you’ve been dismissive, and if that’s the case I apologize for provoking you. It was unintended. As for who I am to judge what constitutes a Christ-like attitude, I’m a person who has read what the Gospels report about Jesus’ attitudes about how to treat the weak and vulnerable extremely closely and carefully. Once again, I may have misstated things slightly by saying your attitude wasn’t Christ-like when it may have been more productive to say it didn’t appear to be Christ-like to me. My apologies for that mistake, as well.

    Now would it be possible for us to move past the hitch of the word which shall no longer be used in this post and have you answer the questions I asked? And, frankly, the extremely vague assertion that you have experience with these matters and know whereof you speak may be true in a very broad sense, but it hardly serves to answer the substance of the questions at hand. I’m not asking for details that would betray confidences.

    In regard to your assertion that unrealized expectations are in large part responsible for disillusionment and frustration among believers (or anyone else, really), I agree. Expectations are prickly things and often result in great trouble and heartache when they go unmet. However, none of what I’ve said in any comment in this thread related even slightly to disillusionment and frustration as a result of foiled expectations. As I have stated repeatedly, I am talking about real, demonstrable bad acts on the part of those in positions of authority within churches over vulnerable people. Now, if we’re talking about thwarted expectations that these people could be trusted not to abuse those they were charged to guide then we’ve stepped onto a whole new plane of discussion regarding which expectations are reasonable and which are not, but for now let’s restrict our conversation to actual harmful behavior by people in authority. Whether you want to name any particular sort of abuse–physical, mental, or spiritual–is entirely up to you, but be aware that if you name specifics I will press you to defend them cogently and coherently with some manner of evidence. If, on the other hand, your intention is simply to continue to adhere stubbornly to vagaries and somewhat disturbing platitudes about getting over things while disputing all but the rarest instances of overt abuse then please feel free to ignore my requests entirely and without further comment on your part. If I don’t hear anything from you I’ll have my answer.

  316. John,
    “Whether you want to name any particular sort of abuse–physical, mental, or spiritual–”

    I have ONLY addressed the claims of “spiritual” abuse.

    I will give you an example from Jen, above (now I don’t know the context, but let’s just take it as her words explain it;)

    “I really had this problem with Church X, because the pastor told me it was my responsibility to return to and submit my physically abusive husband, ”

    Now, I will ask you this – is this spiritual abuse or just old fashioned bad advise?

    Perhaps it is a generational thing – in my day we would just belly up to the bar and say, “boy did I get some bad advise that I acted on” (note the admission on my part, that I acted) versus today’s generation “I was abused.”

  317. btw, when you end a statement with “If I don’t hear anything from you I’ll have my answer.”, I must reply – your passive aggressive tactics don’t work with me.

    Neither does your attempt to tell me how I must structure a reply.

    I will turn the table on you a little – since you were an “ordained” minister – perhaps you can share some stories about how you abused you flock. Please be direct and include details.

    If I don’t hear anything from you I’ll have my answer. 🙂

  318. Kevin says:

    I’m sorry Brian, but it seems as if you are the one who is missing things. You’re saying that my smoking analogy falls flat because if I tell a person who much I hate smoking “they’re not going to feel your love or them… they’re going to feel as if you’re shaming them, hating them, maybe even demonizing them.”

    That’s patently untrue. I DO tell my smoking friends (and myself when I slip up) that I hate smoking, and being intelligent people and not the straw men that you and Xenia are constructing, the can see that I am discussing behavior, not people. Sorry, but people don’t react the way you’re saying simply because you say they will.

    You then go on to say that “You can’t mockingly criticize an entire movement without also effectively alienating all the people within that movement.” Again, that is a preposterous non-sequitur that will never be true no matter how many times the people here say it is. ALL of the people involved in CC are not “effectively” alienated from SCCL. Many of them (more than you seem to be willing to admit for the sake of your point) are active participants on SCCL (also she’s not mocking anybody).

    “If you want evangelicals to listen, your criticisms against them cannot be dressed in a sneer or mocking laughter… which satire necessarily does.” Again, if you asked the evangelicals on SCCL if this were true, they’d have something different to say.

    “Satire works only to entertain those who despise the subject being criticized. It does nothing to reform or improve anything. It serves only to drive a deeper wedge between the audience and the subject… making any reconciliation impossible because creates a caricature of the subject that features only flaws and evils… effectively dehumanizing the movement and people within it.” Again, this is a general “I think this is true so it must be” statement. The fact of the situation is that nobody on SCCL enjoys it because of their hatred for evangelicals. They enjoy it because it offers an opportunity to use humor to examine elements of their shared evangelical upbringing. It certainly seems that YOU do not enjoy it, but you would be better served to stop universalizing your feelings on the subject.

    “They are no longer people… they are just crazy “evangelicals.” You may still love them in spite of their flaws. But none of them can feel your love. All they feel is ridicule, whether you intend that or not.” This is another ridiculous universalization. Perhaps you should a) talk to the evangelicals on SCCL and b) talk to evangelicals in general before you make such sweeping, unsustainable generalizations. If you can;t do those things, you could at least stop talking in grand universal statements.

    I’m beginning to wonder if this idea, that all of the people from some group will react the same way to something, is evidence of an unwillingness to embrace particularity. This is something that a lot of the people on SCCL have pointed out. My friends there discuss not being viewed as people who can have different responses to things, interests, feelings. They’re either men who have male roles, women who have female roles, christians who should unthinkingly accept what their pastors tell them. I’d have thought to see a bit more sensible dialogue here, but I guess that was too much to wish for.

  319. Josh Hamrick says:

    Why is everybody thinking this was such a horrible conversation? I think its been great. Too much agreement is boring.

  320. I agree with Josh.

    I guess the new folks didn’t pick up that the PP motto is “Let’s get ready to rumbuuullllll”

  321. I must go back to my #317 and address Jen’s comment at #303.

    I am sorry for the issues you have gone through and the harm that you endured based on your pastor’s advise, but, can you really say he was out to purposely “spiritually” abuse you versus just being an untrained idiot doling out marital advise?

    Perhaps he did want to abuse you – I don’t know.

  322. Josh Hamrick says:

    MLD and I disagree pretty much every morning, and I still love the guy. He’s taught me a bunch.

    On a thread with 320 replies, a few pointed interactions tossed in with mostly irenic comments doesn’t seem to be good reason to lose it.

    I enjoyed the interaction, the change of pace. Someone should interview Ken Silva next week.

  323. I again agree with Josh – that we have a disagreement almost every morning 🙂 – but I love and admire the guy and his story.

  324. Josh Hamrick says:

    I just stopped by the SCCl fb page this morning, and they were all trashing us, cussing us out, Reuben and BrianD were apologizing profusely for our horrible actions. I read through this thread again, and see…not much. Certainly nothing anything like the reaction on that facebook thread.

    Maybe Reuben should have said no slight disagreement would be tolerated.

  325. Bob Sweat says:


    I move that we appoint you chairman of the PP welcoming committee. 😉

  326. Ixtlan says:

    @Josh re: 325
    When to the SCCL fb page as well. Like I said in my #315, reminded me of a Southern Baptist business meeting, one that had gone off it’s rails, btw. What I have found for myself is that the farther I get away from mainstream christianity (which for me included a geographic), the more of a circus it appears to be. That brings me to a choice of how I will respond. I also know there are many small unnoticed bright stars in the darkness, Perhaps they need to remain as such so that that glamour of the bright lights does not wash out what they are currently doing.

    There really is so much about the modern church (ok, post-modern, if you must) that can be criticized…. and much of it needs a prophet who is called to stand up and curse the darkness. This means we can’t always take these things upon ourselves as much as we are led by God’s Spirit into them, else we end up with something that looks similar to a Southern Baptist business meeting gone off it rails.

    At times I think the church is nothing more than a cleaned up reflection of society at large. which, if you think about it, is ripe for all kinds of criticism in many different sectors. Perhaps some of this is a reflection of our times.

    I would hope that those who listen to the church critics will give them the same critical ear that spawned some of these criticisms to begin with. There are several brands of kool-aid out there. As for me, I learn as much from the critics of the church as I do from mainstream ecclesia, so, I’m at least willing to listen. But don’t be surprised when other point out the same glaring defects in your thinking that you have done to others. What comes around does go around. Thanks again Reuben for this thread.

  327. Josh Hamrick says:

    Yeah, that makes sense. Trading one set of blinders for another. I suppose we can all be guilty of that at times.

  328. jlo says:

    Am I the only one who finds it ironic that the title of this thread is labeled Perspectives.

    That said, I enjoyed reading the comments from both sides of the coin.

  329. Alex says:

    Mods, please delete my couple of comments from yesterday. Too many triggers for me in these types of discussions. Hard to stay purely objective and I don’t want to re-engage in a mud-sling fest.

    I do see Stephanie, John and that Camps side of this discussion and agree more with that Group with regards to Evangelicalism and Spiritual Abuse etc. and I’ll leave it at that.

    Thanks to G for his mature and kind response, it served to throw a wet blanket on a smoldering fire and I appreciate it. He showed leadership in helping me even though I’ve been a jerk to him in the past. That’s Christ-like IMO and I appreciate it. Thank you G.

    AB, MLD, AV, Scott etc. you’re certainly entitled to your opinions even if I and others are frustrated with them b/c we see things so differently due to personal experience and having heard so many experiences from others and walking a mile in their moccasins. But, regardless, you are your own persons and fighting your perceptions to the death doesn’t accomplish anything other than hurt feelings and an upset Community.

    Peace to you guys. I’ll stay off sensitive threads until I have matured more in these areas (for the good of Michael and the Community).

  330. Alex – here is the big difference. We may be entitled to our opinions but we get trashed for them.
    On the other hand, we are expected to just quietly accept your opinion or those of these new folks (who are definitely welcome to comment here all they want).

    I see their tactic of trying to quash anything that doesn’t agree with them as similar to the homosexual lobby – making you a bigot type figure for holding a different view.

    But I am a big boy with my big boy pants on.

  331. Xenia says:

    Theres long post over on their FB page, mostly trashing me and a sincere post I made here yesterday.

    This is what our moderator Rueben says to them:

    Reuben Mills Sorry SCCL. I expected better behavior, more understanding, open minds. I love Steph’s perspective and i jist wanted some outside the box exposure

    And our other moderator BrianD also apologized to them for our behavior.

    Good bye, Phoenix Preacher.

  332. Scott says:

    Alex, interesting you would lump me into a particular camp in this thread. I made 4 comments, 3 of them not even related to the subject of the thread and one to John about all the verbage he uses. I don’t have time to sift through long postings (usually by the same people) to be honest.

    Peace to you as well.

  333. Alex says:

    Fair enough Scott. Sorry for any offense and misunderstanding on my part.

  334. Reuben and BrianD are on an Obama apology tour. 😉

  335. PP Vet says:

    It is encouraging that every 4.2 seconds Christians write more about religion on the Internet than all the words of Jesus. Isn’t that what He meant when He said we would do greater works than Him?

  336. Josh Hamrick says:

    Xenia, please don’t leave.

  337. catherine says:

    Xenia…your words are very important to many here…please reconsider and don’t leave–we need your wisdom…

  338. Another Voice says:

    RE: my #302. You guys making your own application yet? 😉

  339. A Believer says:


    Thank you so much for taking the time to write me such a lengthy reply. And I meant it when I said I wasn’t baiting you.

    Your words confirmed to me what I was suspecting was the case with you. I just didn’t want to make any assumptions concerning you.

    I could be wrong here, but the reasons you present for jettisoning your older perspectives on Jesus seem purely intellectual. I’m just not convinced that is the case.

    When I came to Christ, it was because He interjected Himself into my life in a powerful way that could not be denied by me. It was very subjective and life transforming. It still is to this day.

    I was not on an objective intellectual quest to discover the truth about God or Jesus when this happened. However, in my 40 years of being a christian I have never found atheists’ arguments objecting to Jesus and the truth claims of christianity convincing—and I have been exposed to most of them. On the other hand, I have been fully satisfied with the evidences for the resurrection and the authority of the OT and NT once I got around to investigating them.

    The arguments for or against were never a deal breakers with me as my experience with Christ had nothing to do with any of that. Again, it was a personal, powerful encounter with the loving Jesus that made and is making all the difference with me.

    No intellectual objections you or anyone else could ever make will change that.

    I will concede your point that there are many serious problems within the body of Christ, the Church, and certainly evangelicalism as it manifests itself culturally today. But since I am committed to Jesus and His followers and working through those problems regardless of how flawed they may be, those problems will not shake me from my faith, the church, or from Jesus.

    I guess my only question for you after your confession of renouncing the faith and Jesus would be, what is your purpose here on this blog? I can’t imaging anything other than trying to convince others to do the same through debate.

  340. Xenia,
    I just checked out the SCCL FB – don’t worry about it. I am sure that when we were young, our thought process was confused also – let’s give them a break for the next 25 yrs. 😉

  341. Em says:

    Xenia can’t leave – cuz then there’ll be nobody saying what i think with clarity and intelligence … most of the time, anyway … not always

  342. Reuben says:

    I will leave, Xenia can stay. Thanks for the input.

  343. A Believer says:


    Lest you misunderstand, I don’t think if that is your intention that it is necessarily a bad thing. And of course I would respect you for believing it is noble to try and change the minds of those who you think are deceived and contributing to the ills of society.

    Many here are fully capable of engaging you in a healthy, respectful debate, so I would never discourage that.

    Welcome to the Phoenix Preacher and enjoy!

  344. Xenia says:

    I am not upset with the SCCL crowd, they have a right to their opinions.

    Just wanted to make that perfectly clear, as my last comment.

  345. Josh Hamrick says:

    No Xenia. There are so many of us here who value your presence. Please don’t leave.

  346. Em says:

    Xenia makes a very good point @345 … it should be obvious that it offended her that anyone would feel that they needed to apologize for her when she is explaining/defending her faith … if Reuben and BrianD stepped back and thought about it, i think they’d see that they’d compromised someone that i’m sure they have a very high regard for … at least i think that’s the point … would be if it was me that they were apologizing for (being old and confused i get a pass here)

  347. Josh Hamrick says:

    There were also some very nasty things said in the fb thread about her. It did look odd for our mods to be apologizing, when again I didn’t see much wrong, on either side.

  348. Maybe read through the hard stuff and see what you can learn from it. It’s the best way to see how your words impact people. I have had a lot of good results from taking an honest look at difficult things people have said about me. I’ve learned a lot of important stuff from trying to look objectively at others’ criticisms of me. I had no idea I affected others in the ways I did, and it’s been incredibly helpful to get criticism, although also incredibly difficult.

  349. Bob Sweat says:

    I can’t understand why anyone would apologize for what was said on this thread. I have read over what was said several times, and what took place was no different than what has taken place for the 6 years I have been reading this blog!

  350. Em says:

    one thing evangelicals and other Christians can be accused of is that we believe in the supernatural – theologians have lofty, long and drawn out definitions of it – we believe #1 that there is such a thing as life beyond our planet under the control of a Supreme Being and #2 – we find the explanations of Him (and us) in the pages of one particular set of writings that He has published, protected and preserved in a remarkable way for a very long time now …

  351. A Believer says:


    If you are referring to Xenia’s latest comments, —they have nothing to do with what you said or your perspectives.

    Rueben and Brian D should simply apologize to Xenia for throwing her under the bus. There was not reason to do so.

    It makes no sense to apologize for the inevitable conflict that arises from placing conflicting perspectives in the same arena, especially if you facilitated it.

    It’s even more egregious if in the process of trying minimize the consequences of that conflict, you sacrifice a longstanding, well-loved community member in the process.

  352. Bob Sweat says:


    I feel like the whole PP community was thrown under the bus!

  353. Em says:

    when i try to be succinct, i fail … sigh … Christians, like the rest of the world are all over the map and damned if we do and damned if we don’t … Stephanie D’s attempt to spotlight loudly, clearly and exaggerated – for effect, i hope – what is cruel and unholy in our churches,(John’s word back up there was mock) has some fallout that is offensive – pure and simple and bound to happen …
    she shouldn’t stop doing what she’s doing cuz some of us take exception nor should we stop taking exception – let truth surface wherever it serves a good purpose … as the Bible says it: Romans 3:3-4

  354. erunner says:

    Xenia is a person I have observed tremendous change in through my many years here. She has shown so much change (to me) in how she conducts herself through her words and attitude I would consider her one of if not the most gracious and thoughtful persons who is a regular here. It would be a HUGE loss to this community to see her go.

  355. Alex,
    Peace & grace to you.

    Be smart & strategic in every online statement you make. Making none would be my best advice.

    Your adversaries who have drawn you into the court battle are never going to be as gracious as those here who disagree with you while treating you with the modicum of respect that springs from their own souls, rather those who have drawn you into the legal system will simply take what you say and turn it against you. don’t give them rope to tie you with.

    If ever there was a time to practice the Zen of silence and detachment it is between now and when the court fully dismisses the frivolous lawsuit against you.

    Not addressing something someone says from their different view will never diminish your personhood. People will simply make their own conclusions and live in their misconceptions. Don’t feed them. Starve them and stay sharp for your day in court.


  356. Xenia,
    Regardless of what anyone says, you live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet.
    Breathe, take a drive with all the windows down, see the coast and smell the ocean, and come back refreshed and renewed. Anyone who doesn’t agree with you must still think of you as having a soul full of the beauty of your chosen surroundings.


  357. Josh Hamrick says:

    Wow, just read Papias @ #3. He comes off prophetic.

  358. Sinner n Saint says:

    If I had a nickel for every time someone says there leaving the PP only to come back…including Michael, I could at least purchase some designer jeans.

    We all want to be noticed and valued…we all want for ppl to beg us to stay…but will you please stop. Stop threatening to pick up your toys and go home…and stop feeding into ppl’s manipulation by telling them how great they are and how this place will never be the same w/o them.

    Xenia…you’ve been here for a long time, as have I (under a different name). If this is it, which would be sad, then please don’t just threaten to get a response.

    Come on everyone, quit taking yourselves and your opinions so seriously. At the end of the day this is a blog…a place to share opinions…yes it’s become more than that, but it certainly isn’t less.

  359. Candace says:

    You Christians are funny. 🙂

  360. Candace says:

    Xenia is taking her blocks and going home.

  361. Ixtlan says:

    Same here. Forget designer jeans, I’d be happy with a new pair of Wrangler® Cowboy Cut® Original Fit Jeans.

    Cowboy Up!

  362. I think it’s funny that I get criticized for not being sensitive to the, what did John call them? Oh yes, the weak and the vulnerable, and then when one of our own has a problem, it’s “don’t let the door hit you on the ass on your way out.”

  363. Ixtlan says:

    Yep. Funny, isn’t it? They love ya until you stop singing their song…..

  364. Josh Hamrick says:

    Candace, what do you mean by “funny”?

  365. Bob Sweat says:

    I’m still trying to figure out who Sinner n Saint is!!!

  366. Em says:

    if i may presume to speak for her…
    believe me, Xenia is not being manipulative or soliciting affirmations when she says that she’s had it here – she’s being candid, it’s how she is at the time and place that she is posting

    the same is true for just about everyone who says they’re outta here … as strange as it may seem to newcomers, if you’ve survived here for any length of time, your ego has been subjected to a higher calling … it’s a love of the search for Truth …

    oh, for some it’s a weird drive to be heard, but most who’ve been here a while just love Truth, humanity and of course their church of choice 😆

  367. Bob Sweat says:

    lxtlan (whatever that stands for???????)

    When I moved just north of you back in the 70’s I tried the cowboy thing. Bought the snap button shirts, even bought a pair of boots. My parishioners would laugh reminding me that I was from Los Angeles.

  368. Josh Hamrick says:

    IN fairness MLD, you surely didn’t think the “no such thing as Spiritual abuse” card was going to play well to this audience, did you?

  369. Another Voice says:

    Oh please…there was a drama queen in this thread but it wasn’t Xenia.

    She and I have gone at it quite vocally and passionately the last couple of weeks, but when I see complete strangers run in like the proverbial golden calf in the china shop, and start ripping on not just Xenia but saints like Em and Nonnie, it ticks me off too. (MLD as well but he can fight for himself)

    But I’m not a moderator…

    Maybe I missed it, since I have yet to even visit the other blog (and have made no comments except directly connected to comments made HERE) but did a swarm of the PP community go over there to make judgements without knowledge?

    You all know why I hang out here. I learn about the hurts and experiences others have had so they won’t be repeated at our place. I also offer a (ahem) PERSPECTIVE that a lot of you don’t have – having not had to make pastoral decisions for the good of the entire church.

    But what I saw in a lot of posts from complete strangers, including a guy who calls himself an avowed atheist, was the same stuff that is criticized as the worst of behavior from controlling pastors.

    As if that blog community was a church, and the owner the local pastor the fan club sought to defend at all costs.

    You go back and read Xenia’s posts – the measured, even-handed, look at both sides aspect to them, as well as her personal sharing too.

    And moderators here apologized for us!

    Just like when I was in college as I described. Nice to have the token Orthodox friend on board until she doesn’t toe the urinate on the Body of Christ meme to the fullest.

    Then, like MLD said, it’s ‘don’t let the door hit you on the way out’

    We need a blog about friendship. What does it mean to have someone’s back, even in tough times.

    Maybe Xenia and I should start one…

  370. Sinner n Saint says:

    lxtlan – you can have those suckers…they’re tighter than skinny jeans.

    Bob – if I told you I’d have to kill you 🙂

  371. Candace says:

    Yes, it’s time to start a new blog, about how to have someone’s back.

    You and Xenia would be perfect to start that.

  372. Josh,
    I think Spiritual Abuse is what AV does to me when he talks about the Rapture and a literal 1,000 year earthly kingdom. 😉

  373. Reuben says:

    Only one point to make, I was not apologizing for Xenia. The fact that I perpetually seek Xenia’s opinion before anyone else’s went in the trash in one minute. No one sees the problem here, so obviously the problem is me.

    I will not moderate or author here with people leaving the blog because of things I say or do. I love this community. I have for quite some time. I will not be the cause of this fracture.

    Case closed.

  374. John says:

    @A Believer (#340 & #344): I have no agenda here. I’m not one who believes it to be my duty (noble or otherwise) to convince others that their belief and trust in God is wrong or misguided. Put simply, even if I could wipe away all religious and supernatural beliefs in a wave of my hand, I wouldn’t do it. Frankly, I’m glad I have no such power or authority.

    I have stated a number of times, as you noticed, that I am not a believer myself, and I did so in order that I not deceive anyone here. If I hope to have you hear me out you have every right to know from where I speak. How else might you judge my conclusions much less my motives?

    The things I wrote in my lengthy reply to you were meant as nothing more than answers to your direct questions. I’m happy to talk to anyone who might be interested about such things, but it’s not my purpose to lead anyone to a certain conclusion either about what I say or who I am or who I have been. You are free to draw whatever conclusions you choose in regard to those things, and I’m more than happy to discuss those conclusions as well.

    My journey is just that–my journey. I do not expect anyone to emulate it. I wouldn’t recommend anyone emulate it, for that matter. Each and every one of us must make the decisions and draw the conclusions that seem most fitting to us based on a great many factors. I shared some of mine because you asked and for no other reason. Please feel free to continue to ask.

    My reasons for leaving the faith were partly intellectual, yes. They were partly moral, as well. The morals in question were not only the morals of the faith but my own. My exit from Christianity was hardly based on a monumental event. There were a couple of such events–one of which I briefly described in my previous reply to you–but they served more to get me moving than to get me deciding. My exit from Christianity was also excruciatingly slow and painful. The process, from beginning to end, took a bit more than 15 years. It was quite traumatic for me and complicated by several factors beyond my control. What was under my control was how I responded to the trauma and complications, and more than anything else my responses–step by step–are what lead me out of the faith. You can question my responses. You can pity them and me, if you wish, but they are mine. If someday I do stand before a cosmic judge and have to account for myself my only response will be that I did my best to be faithful to the truth when I saw it. I chose to trust completely only what I could confirm and to judge everything else to the best of my ability. Now, according to Christian doctrine today, that response will condemn me to hell, and if that’s my fate then I really can’t change it without compromising myself. I’m not sure how I could stand before such a judge as that and claim that paradise is where I belong if my course for reaching paradise was dishonest, and for me it would be dishonest to follow a Christian path.

    Take and do with all of the above whatever you will. I will not take offense. I will not attack you or return any attack from anyone. I will defend myself as best I can without rendering harm to anyone else, and I will probably fail in that endeavor to some degree. But know this, I am not here in some perverse effort to proselytize for non-belief. You have your faith. It’s obviously sincere and meaningful to you. It guides you in good and healthy ways. I honor that and you. I will not tell you you’re wrong to believe what you believe. I may, however, tell someone that what they do doesn’t seem to measure up to their beliefs. For that, you may need to forgive me since quite often a non-believer telling a believer anything along those lines tends to be offensive to some.

    Finally, if you and your fellow PxPers find my presence and participation here to be disruptive and damaging I will withdraw. I’m not here to antagonize, berate, or belittle. I’m here to discuss, to debate, and to argue. If I’m unwelcome now, or make myself unwelcome in future, then I offer my most sincere apologies for any harm done and leave you all to your efforts to better achieve an understanding and pursuit of your faith.

  375. Josh Hamrick says:

    Reuben, what were you apologizing for, if not for Xenia? Its clear that those guys were most upset by her.

  376. I think we should apologize to each other and not for each other. Obviously we have allowed others to drive a wedge between us.

  377. Josh Hamrick says:

    I appreciate your contribution, John.

  378. Candace says:

    Who will leave first?

    Will Xenia leave? Will Michael blow his lid and delete the blog again?

    How many times will everyone have to beg them not to? How much questioning and breast beating will be indulged in?

    All on tomorrow’s soap opera episode of As the Phoenix Turns.

  379. Candace says:

    Things are so bad MLD feigns civility!

  380. Reuben says:

    Josh, you want me to argue something you clearly don’t see. What is the point in that?

  381. Candace – please lead the way.

  382. Josh Hamrick says:

    I just don’t get it Reuben. I mean, as far as I see, I made the rudest comment here (#23), but I’m still on fb right now, interacting with those guys. You said you didn’t apologize for Xenia. MLD, I guess? But he’s one of us.

  383. Ixtlan says:

    That was insulting. I’m leaving…….

    couldn’t resist 😉

    mld, just had to go there, didn’t you?

    John, you can stay and say what you want, but this community has a way of letting know when you’ve crossed a line. You should expect that rather than the blanket agreement or appeasement. Surely you don’t want that do you? They have tolerated much more than what you have been able to produce. Sitck around awhile…..

  384. Ixtlan says:

    hey! someone pull my #386 out of moderation!

  385. Candace says:

    MLD wants all the damn kids off the lawn right now!

  386. Xenia says:

    Thanks for all the kind words. I love all you PPeeps. I’m not mad at anyone and I forgive everyone who needs forgiving and I ask forgiveness of everyone I offended.

    But this isn’t about me. And it’s time for me to move on.

    No hard feelings. Seriously.

    Much love,

  387. Candace says:

    I also will not, do you hear me, not return until the correct number of people for the correct amount of time and correct words tell me how precious and irreplaceable I am.

    And that’s final.

    Well, not really.

    I’m doing the Phoenix Preacher shuffle.

  388. A Believer says:

    Thank you John,

    Again, a well thought out, honest response from you. I appreciate your candor.

    In my subsequent post to the one you responded to, I extended a warm welcome to you. I have absolutely no desire to see your voice removed from the conversations that occur here.

    I don’t mind you being here to debate at all, or even to proselytize to your position as long as you are honest about your motivations. And you certainly appear to be.

  389. Candace’s #390


  390. A Believer says:

    Apparently I got moderated earlier also, not sure why. Could someone explain it to me?

    I feel abused. 😉

  391. In fact 😆 to pretty much all of Candace’s recent comments

  392. John says:

    I’d like to make a general comment regarding Reuben and BrianD apologizing to the SCCL community for this comment thread. First, in order to offer full disclosure, I haven’t read their comments over at SCCL since I haven’t been there in a couple of days. That said, if indeed they apologized in the manner and for the reasons reported here I wholeheartedly disagree with that move. There has been a great abundance of misunderstanding, miscommunication, and misapprehension throughout this thread from both sides. Myself included. Some of us have begun trying to unring that bell as much as such a thing is possible, and we’re not having a great deal of success in doing so. Some of the obstacles to our success have come from this side of things. Some have come from the other side. There is plenty of responsibility to go around.

    Still, if Reuben and BrianD apologized specifically for things Xenia has said in this thread that was extraordinarily unjust to her. From what I’ve read, and I’ve read each and every comment posted here (some a number of times), she is simply having a bit of trouble getting her head wrapped around what many of us at SCCL are talking about and why, and to apologize for her sincere and well-meaning attempts to address the topic at hand is not for the moderators here to do. It is for Xenia to decide whether or not that course is warranted, and for her alone. In their defense, it would seem to me that Reuben and BrianD are trying to work some degree of damage control at the moment, and at a moment such as this one it can be easy to mistakenly go too far. Let’s cut them a bit of slack since it would appear that this sort of occurrence is apparently unprecedented for them. They simply were unprepared to handle the fallout they’re current facing.

    Generally speaking, if you offer grace then grace will be returned to you. I said something along those lines very early on in this thread regarding people lecturing and invalidating others whose hurts and anguish they neither share nor understand. It still applies to all of us.

  393. Candace says:

    It’s too delicious. The irony…it burns!

    PP commenters, you win the internets.

  394. Reuben says:

    Josh, what is this, “But he’s one of us.”

    That is what this turned into. Very telling, and thanks for the honesty. Us v them. Great.

    SCCL can do whatever they want. I will not tell them to apologize to me. I asked for it, by inviting their leader here. When we respond by telling them to get over their petty abuses, or that there is no abuses, that we are being spiritually abused by them, we are like Jesus to Pharisees, this is all made up, no one owns responsibility for their part, hearing those things, especially from THIS community, of all places in the internet, I have to just sit back in amazement and ask myself why I even brought this up!

    I have not deleted one comment from this thread. I specifically recall asking MLD to stop the cheap shots twice.

    The behind the scenes stuff is getting a little thick. The accusations that Reuben is trying to turn PhxP into Gay Liberal land is a bit over the top. The front scenes stuff is even worse. It is as if I showed up to this blog 45 minutes ago. On an Obama apology tour. Seriously?

    But, all of that I can tolerate.

    People leaving the blog because of something I said or did? Nope. Not doing the community any favors in that. PhxP aint ReubenxP. I was here to serve. I am now apparently here to divide. I have accomplished nothing here to foster a spirit of unity.

    I will not moderate or author here with people leaving the blog because of things I say or do. I love this community. I have for quite some time. I will not be the cause of this fracture.

    Case closed.

    Argue the rest of FB, please.

  395. Em says:

    John,”Finally, if you and your fellow PxPers find my presence and participation here to be disruptive and damaging I will withdraw…..” with due respect you just don’t have the power 🙂

    – why is it that when one is being disagreed with, not winning, they think that they’ve won with that patronizing announcement?

  396. Misty says:

    Longtime lurker here, for over 4 years. Sinner n Saint-what you just posted was spot on and soooo needed to be said! I never thought I’d see that kind of honesty directed at regular posters here. I hope your voice is heard, but I have my doubts.

    In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a huge Reuben fan and he is one of the reasons I still come to PP. Because of what he has written about the Anglican church, I’ve actually decided to try one out. I’m also a fan of BrianD’s linkathons. I discovered SCCL thru one of his links about 6 months ago and I think it’s a great site and a healing place.

    It’s beyond sad that no one else here thinks that an apology is necessary. It’s appalling that the two of them are being threatened for doing so. Xenia was not thrown under the bus. The majority of you aren’t even capable of seeing how you come off to people outside of your insulated group here anymore. Circle the wagons and attack. This has been going on for a long time here.

    One more thing: Josh,don’t you think that you’re playing both sides of the fence right now with the current p.r. you have going on over at SCCL and your post #358 that you posted during the same time frame? I know, It’s always the other side that you don’t agree with that’s “intolerant and unloving”.

    Thanks again SnS for saying what needed to be said.

    I’m off to work. I guess I’ll find out when I get home if my post was deleted or not…

  397. Participation is free will
    I trust Reuben & BrianD
    I have faith that anyone who gets their undies in a bunch will chill and come back.


    Ob-la-di ob-la-da life goes on bra
    La-la how the life goes on
    Ob-la-di ob-la-da life goes on bra
    La-la how the life goes on…

  398. Em says:

    Misty’s moniker is appropriate

  399. Josh Hamrick says:

    Hey Misty! Glad you’re speaking up!
    How was my #358 playing both sides of the fense? I just pointed out Papias’ post #3 that said this post would divide the board. It didn’t make any sense to me at the time, but looking back, yeah, he was on to something.

    Personally, I’ve tried to communicate with people both here and on facebook. I’m not saying anything in one place that I wouldn’t say in the other. That would be silly.

    As to MLD being one of us? Well, duh, he is! We’ve conversed with the guy daily for years. I know what he looks like, his kids, grandkids. Of course I’m gonna stand by him.

  400. Candace says:

    Em @ 399

    It’s telling that you characterize his comment as something that someone does when they are “not winning”.

    It shows how YOU view what occurred. You viewed all this a fight, that was to be won or lost. YOU said that.

    That’s PP thinking in a nutshell for you.

  401. John says:

    @MLD (#317 & 318): I’m not sure where you get the idea that I was being passive-aggressive in my closing comments in #316. I actually thought that was pretty straightforward and plainly said. I’ll rephrase, and perhaps the new phrasing will sit better with you. If your intent is to continue to be vague about your experience and expertise in these matters during this exchange between us, and if your intent is to continue to offer somewhat disturbing platitudes while denying all but the most overt instances of spiritual abuse (I’ll accept your restriction to that topic), then any continued discussion between us is almost certainly doomed to fail, and we’ll just continue to talk past one another. My statement that hearing nothing from you in reply would give me the answers to my ifs and thens was meant as a means by which you could extricate yourself from any further discussion with me without having to make any effort whatever. You could simply have moved on to something else with someone else without concern that I might attempt to penalize you in some fashion for lack of a response. Not that I possess any authority to penalize you for anything.

    Now, as a brief aside that tangentially applies to my remaining response, I’m uncertain why you would place “ordained” in quotes when referring to my ministerial history. Pointing out my ordination was nothing more than an attempt on my part to differentiate between the position I occupied and that of a lay minister. Rather than some underhanded attempt to claim undue authority (I can only assume that’s your reasoning for drawing attention to my ordination), what I wanted to communicate was my responsibility, and I have a great deal of it to bear. Which brings me to the example you requested, and it follows.

    I’ll offer you an instance in which I not only rendered bad advice to a person under my authority but also capped it off with a nice, big helping of spiritual abuse. What I am about to report to you is one moment of my life which carries enormous shame for me. I could not possibly have been more abusive without resorting to actual physical violence, and you could probably construct an argument that the object of my abuse might have been better off if I had simply beaten her without any further actions on my part. I have done so on a number of occasions in my own heart and mind.

    One day, a young woman came to me with a problem she didn’t know how to address in an appropriately Christian manner. Her husband, they’d only been married for a little less than two years and they were both in their early 20s (I wasn’t much older), was being abusive toward her. I asked her how he was doing so, and she explained that she had married him with the understanding that, while their roles in the marriage would by design be different, she would remain his equal and therefore have an equal voice in matters. To most modern occidentals, that notion is pretty much a given, but it’s extremely controversial among complementarians, of which I was one. (Incidentally, I was a complementarian before complementarianism was cool. This was in the mid-’90s. That’s a joke about hipness in case it failed to land as I hoped.) The subjects of disagreement between them were pretty typical fare for young, Christian marrieds (any marrieds, really)–children, work, money, and so forth. The biggest sticking point between them, however, was the fact that she wanted to go to graduate school to get her master’s in Christian counseling (a title and degree which make me cringe now), and he believed she had: A) Plenty of education for her role in life (motherhood); B) No business even considering a career outside the home when the whole motherhood thing would be kicking in sooner or later (preferably sooner, as far as he was concerned); and, C) No reason to try to elevate herself to a position of greater authority in the Body of Christ than he held (since a master’s would necessarily trump his bachelor’s and put her in a position of advising others when he couldn’t do so himself).

    I told her that, according to scripture, she did have a complementary role to play in her marriage, but to claim that it was equal to her husband’s would require accepting that the Church’s role was equal to Christ’s. (I’m pretty confident I don’t need to quote Ephesians here.) Still, I was willing to acknowledge the possibility that her husband was, in fact, being abusive toward her in his responses by failing to love her sacrificially as Christ loved the Church so I asked her again how he was abusing her, exactly. She responded that when she would raise an objection to some decision he’d made, and sometimes when she would simply ask him to explain his decisions, he would tell her that she was failing to submit to his authority in Christ. He would tell her that by her bad example she was placing a stumbling block in the paths of other wives in the church, and compounding her own sin by tempting them to sin as she was. He would tell her that she was exhibiting bad fruit in her life, and that that might be an indication that she was not the sort of tree he had taken her to be when they married. There is more, but those examples are sufficient to demonstrate how things were going. Anyone who has spent time in the evangelical movement will instantly recognize those specific accusations and understand both their explicit and implicit meanings.

    Well, attempting to be the good minister, I asked her if she would pass a message along to her husband that I would like to speak with him–preferably with both of them, if possible. She did, and the next day all three of us were sitting in my office. (It was actually closer to a closet, really. We were crowded in.) I asked him to describe to me how he had been interacting with his wife in these situations. What he told me lined up almost verbatim with what his wife had recounted the day prior. I asked him how he thought his words and actions lined up with Paul’s admonition that he should love his wife in the same manner that Christ loved the Church, and before he answered my question he took a deep breath, sighed, looked at me wearily, and asked why he needed to go over these matters again. I told him that I was simply trying to determine whether both of them were living up to their responsibilities to one another as a married couple in Christ and the Church–hopefully, in order to help each to become more supportive and loving toward the other as God directed. He responded that they had already been over all of it with the senior pastor only the week before. I was stunned, and I became very, very angry with this young woman. I never raised my voice. I never shook my finger. I simply looked at her for a few moments and then proceeded to tell her that her husband was right. She was being rebellious. She was being sinful. She was presenting a significantly dangerous stumbling block to other wives (and future wives too) in the church by virtue of her failure to abide by her assigned role in their marriage. She was treading dangerously close to being disciplined by the church, and I would discuss with the senior pastor whether or not we needed to look more closely at applying some discipline to her by compelling her to submit to teaching and counseling from other women in the church who had proved themselves true Proverbs 31 women pleasing to our Heavenly Father. I told her to go home with her husband and submit to him. If he was wrong God would protect her from harm. If she came to some measure of harm it wasn’t a failure on God’s part but on hers for not obeying his righteous commandments and choosing the worldly model of marriage over God’s model. As a good parting shot to get her attention, I warned her against any further manipulative behavior such as seeking out the answers she wanted by going from pastor to pastor searching for an ally. I called that tactic a trick of Satan to divide the church and told her to grow up enough to recognize it as such.

    They left my office, and over the next several months I watched as this young woman who had been such a vibrant, active, joyful member of our church become a shell of a person. From the day I dressed her down until the day of my own departure from that church I never once witnessed or heard of her failing to submit to her husband as the rightful, ordained authority in her marriage and her home. She accepted the rules I (and others, too, but I’m responsible for what I did to her) gave her because they were backed up by scripture I cited (although she certainly knew them by heart long before I ever rehearsed them back to her).

    She accepted her role as wife and mother (she was pregnant with their first child, a daughter, before the year was out). I saw her doing all the things I had instructed her to do, and I saw it break her. She was never the same. Whereas she was always ready with a smile and a laugh before I did these things to her, afterward she could hardly ever bring herself to look me in the eye when I spoke to her. She never elaborated without prompting after that. I never saw more than a meek attempt at a smile from her. I never again heard that beautiful laugh. As I watched her become less and less of the living, breathing person I had known, as I watched her do all the right things and say all the right things according to what I had instructed, I couldn’t imagine why she was failing to thrive. I told myself at first that it was because her turnaround was performance. She still held the sin in her heart, and it was crushing her. I prayed for her to see her sins and lay them at the foot of the Cross. I prayed that, since God had used me to deliver the closing message to her in this incident, God would instruct me as to what I could do to help bring her out of her darkness, but she never did come out. Not while I was there. As far as I know, she’s still in that darkness, but it’s not her hidden sin that broke her. It was me. Me and everyone who told her the very same things I told her. If she didn’t like that God had made her a woman and, by doing so, given her an abundantly clear role it wasn’t God’s fault. It wasn’t her husband’s fault. It was her fault. It was her fallen nature. Her portion of Original Sin. She would have to repent and keep repenting as long and as often as it took for God to work the sin out of her and dig out her root of bitterness. All of this I did not only to a flesh and blood person for whom I had accepted a certain responsibility to shepherd but also to a person who I had counted as a friend. She thought of me as a kind of big brother, by her own admission, before all of these events unfolded. She trusted me. I claimed to love her as a friend and a sister in Christ, and then I broke her without a second thought. Because that was what I had been taught. Not to break people. To instruct them, and myself, in these ways because they had been passed down by our Heavenly Father to shelter and protect us.

    Seeing her break was the first monumental event that began my questioning. Try as I might, I couldn’t stop wondering what had gone wrong. Why had this lovely, intelligent, funny, caring, earnest, and devoted Christian woman been crushed by the effort to follow simple commands from scripture? As I mentioned, my first thought was that it had to come from her sinfulness, but something about that just didn’t ring true with me. She was trying to do and be what we all believed she had been created (not simply commanded) to be, and it drained every ounce of life from her right before my eyes. That fact simply didn’t fit. It didn’t belong in this equation. I had to figure out how to remove it so I might return to right thought, word, and deed myself. I began to repent earnestly and repeatedly, but it wouldn’t stop torturing me. She had done everything right once she accepted the role she had been assigned. I had done everything right. She had broken under it, and now it was threatening to break me. I couldn’t let that happen so I did what I had done so often before that to figure this sort of thing out–I read scripture. It all confirmed for me that I had done nothing wrong, but why the hell wouldn’t it stop rolling through my mind. I kept seeing her face, the look in her eyes, as I was rebuking her for her sinfulness in my office that day. I still see it. I see it in dreams. Just the anguish as the realization settled on her that what she had done had been so wrong. That she was not a lovely, vibrant woman but a sinful creature in rebellion against God and his authority. I watched the impact of it. Today, I remember it very much like a car wreck I saw happen in front of me. It’s in slow motion. I can almost tell when each word landed. With every sound coming out of my mouth, she sank deeper. She withdrew further. The woman I knew disappeared right in front of me, and I watched it happen. I made it happen. I never saw my friend again. I only saw the shell that remained after I quit flapping my damn mouth.

    So, MLD, how’s that for bad advice, spiritual abuse, and taking personal responsibility? All of those things are bad acts I committed. Me, personally, not some amorphous group guilty of a nebulous transgression. I did that. I was wrong. I was abusive to my friend. I failed to show her even the slightest sliver of compassion, and I did it all willingly. I did it because I thought it was right. I hurt her. Really, truly hurt her. “Hurt” isn’t even the right word. I harmed her. Deeply. Me. And I get to live with the reality that every night when I go to sleep I may dream of her precious face as I destroy her. Satisfied with that answer? I certainly hope so because it’s the best one I’ve got.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me it’s my turn to go get drunk.

  402. Em says:

    being old i look at this as a virtual world, a world of ideas, not the real world …

    in the real world: i just got word of a woman in her early 50s with one teen age son and an agnostic husband – a husband who has left her with a mortgage and a failed well while he creates a rich and meaningful life with a new woman sans marriage – a new woman who’s conscience is clean, she tells the teen-age son, because she is baptized Roman Catholic and the husband in question was baptized Lutheran (as babies), so his marriage to an evangelical isn’t really a marriage in God’s eyes … the dumped wife was left to support herself at minimum wage, waiting for 2 years for a divorce agreement, while the husband in question builds up a new business that he financed with money from her family and another female friend under false pretenses … the wife is trying to sell her nice tractor to pay a divorce attorney and going out to keep an appointment with a prospective buyer found that someone has vandalized the tractor – coming back to the house, she finds that the pump on her septic system is gone out and she is going to have to get in there and repair it because there’s no else to do it … and she is a verdict on cervical cancer

    now that’s the real world – she’d like to see the Church raptured out right now and can be excused for that view … and it makes most of these hurt feelings look exceedingly self absorbed

  403. Josh Hamrick says:

    Candace, you have made your intentions here clear, regardless of what Em’s intentions were. Back off. Its not cool.

  404. Em says:

    correction on #406 she is *waiting* for a verdict – prayer would be appreciated, i know

  405. John says:

    @Em (#399): Fortunately, I’m not drunk yet. I’ll be honest. I have no idea at all how to respond to you. None of what I said, none at all, had to do with whether by some rubric I was winning or losing. I thought we were having a conversation. I was stating my perspective. You were stating yours. I went to great lengths to say explicitly that I’m not here to convert anyone. In short, this isn’t about winning anything for me. What I thought it was about was interacting in good faith with people I had just met–some I clearly was struggling to understand and others who seemed to be kindred spirits. How you got to the conclusion that my gesture, which was truly nothing more than an open hand extended your way, somehow constituted a last ditch effort to maneuver over to the winning side escapes me entirely. How is my saying that, if I’ve offended or disrupted or otherwise hindered those here unduly, I’ll give my sincere apologies and withdraw with all the best wishes for you and yours a ploy? A patronizing ploy at that?

    I stick to my earlier pledge not to return attack for attack, but I certainly seem to have been run through here after dropping my sword and offering my hand. I’d much prefer you just call me a liar and fraud, if that’s what you think of me.

  406. Reuben says:

    John @405,

    Thank you. You and I have quite a bit in common. I have taught things I regret, as a person with the authority to do so.

    Thank you.

    “And I get to live with the reality…”

    Haunts me every day.

    Thank you.

  407. Candace says:

    Oh Josh. That’s a thing people say when they’re not winning! It’s ok for me to say that, right?

  408. John says:

    @Ixtlan (#386): I may be misunderstanding you, but I don’t believe I’ve requested or required agreement with anything I’ve said here. I’ve stated my view and defended it, to be sure, but it’s not as if I’m convinced of my own infallibility. I’m wrong a lot in life, and if I don’t want people talking to me about particular subjects I don’t talk to them about those subjects. If I’m discussing these matters with you feel free to operate under the assumption that I’m open to persuasion. You’re likely to have to work pretty hard to persuade me in certain instances, but it’s possible to do it.

  409. Josh Hamrick says:

    Yeah, Candace. That’s fine. Doesn’t put forward communication at all, but if it did, that would be a first for you.

  410. John, you glossed over my quote of your words and went on to put you hand over your heart and with deep sincerity express your confusion that i concluded you were trying to win … well, i apologize with my hand over my heart and deep sincerity … “win” was the wrong word, but it was shorter than saying “making your point accepted” … scratch that … is “making your point” without being disruptive and damaging what you meant? again, i say and to so with respect due you, you just don’t have the power to disrupt and damage here
    we can agree, we can disagree, we can ignore .. but disrupt and damage? uh uh

    i do this for fun, not a serious pursuit on my part at all – if i make a “religious” point that’s all i’m attempting to do – it’s a take or leave it attempt and most of the time, if i offend i’m inclined to think “that’s your problem” – not always and i do pray for the hurting and sometimes for those doing the hurting – not always

  411. ” I certainly seem to have been run through here after dropping my sword and offering my hand. I’d much prefer you just call me a liar and fraud, if that’s what you think of me.” aw, come on, John … i apologize for not thinking of you, though

  412. John – to your #405 – good story.

    Now, nowhere do I deny that abuse takes place – ya’ll just like to glide by it.

    Let’s put it all together – if you go back and read my post #88 my point #3 I state that the problem is on both sides of the pulpit – no one wants to submit to anyone. Pastors do not want to submit to the congregation and the congregation does not want to submit to the pastor and members do not want to submit to each other – very immature.

    Follow that by reading my #111 where I state at the end – ” Some, perhaps a good portion is legitimate.”

    But using your story – when I earlier asked does anyone ever include in their abuse story “let me tell you how I contributed to the problem” – if your young lady was blogging about her spiritual abuse from pastor John, do you not think it would be helpful for her to include;
    “let me tell you how I contributed to this abuse problem – I went behind my senior pastor’s back and tried to manipulate the young associate pastor and then the wheels came off.”

    You never hear that when the “victim” is blogging their horrors. – Do you not agree?

  413. as i shut this thing down here (my computer, not the blog, of course), if i seem to take people lightly, i apologize …
    i forget how much reality is tied up up in internetville for those younger and raised in its atmosphere – the people behind these blog posts were important enough to the Creator to go through incarnation and crucifixion for – probably body odor and acne also, which can wear on a person in this life – i often think the one thing that he didn’t subject Himself to was old age and that for good reason, IMO
    i am surprised and honored if anyone here feels my thoughts important enough to be offended by them – your feelings are your responsibility, but your heart is a treasure that no one should trample – God made it and He wants it returned to Him for repairs as needed; i don’t want to be a hindrance to that happening

    God keep

  414. Becky says:

    wow i have been watching this thing play out and am absolutely disgusted. This was meant to show someone elses perspective and how they are helping others deal with the very real issue of spiritual/church abuse. I believed most on this site would be somewhat considerate of SCCL. I was wrong. Maybe, because it sits too close for comfort for you and yes you know who you are.

    i dont come on here much anymore unless it is about kitties. The reason is due to the arguing and my own tolerance to it.

    But my honey is tortured by how this has turned out. So i’m angry now. My home is not at peace right now several of you are in the freaking dog house.

    Josh is playing nice at SCCL and over here telling Candance to back off here. I say go Candance go…keep josh looking like a……. 🙂 at least she is fun! Oh and bless your heart Josh.

    MLD- Get off the computer, walk the dog, and spend some time in nature. Grouchy old men make me want to curse..


    X- WTH???

    SCCL- Love it! Good work over there.

    Thank Grimm it is Friday!

    Grimm is on Dearies.. and If you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all. I do that all the time untill just now. May the Lord forgive me.

  415. Ryan Ashton says:


    I love you guys. But this is physically exhausting.

  416. Michael says:

    My apologies to both communities for not having the time to participate here.
    There is a lot to be ashamed of on both sides of this brand new fence.
    My guess is that everyone started with the best of motives, but much misunderstanding followed.
    It has gone on long enough and there is no need for any more bloodletting.

  417. Em says:

    this blog site has been of interest to me because of the honesty of (most) of those who participate and i can see my own Faith journey in what so many express – i thank God for you

    perhaps PhxP now must take a turn where i can’t go …

    is this Reuben’s and BrianD’s time to hold the floor? … theirs and the folk who are offended when satire is critiqued not for style, but content? … could be … but there is a time to take the bandage off of the wound and check for infection as well as healing … check each other’s wounds with all the insight and honesty you can muster – i’m out of here simply because it is time for me to do so … and i will pray as you all come to mind from time to time

    old timers and long timers, you’ll remain in my prayers daily

  418. Em says:

    i don’t see it quite like Michael does and that is why it’s goodbye for a season … that doesn’t mean i don’t think you can work through to a good end … i pray you do

  419. Michael says:

    The floor belongs to me…and I value the perspectives of all who post here and those of my friends and co-laborers.
    The point of publishing articles like this is to hear what the rest of the Body is saying and thinking, lest we get so locked into our comfort zones and traditions that we can no longer hear anyone but the parrots.
    We so easily take offense online and we don’t stop to ask if what we ‘heard’ was what was meant…and then become offensive ourselves.
    Thus, the whole purpose of an open table is defeated and we go back to our own corners.
    I’ll be here tomorrow and whoever is left is welcome to participate.

  420. Em says:

    let me be perfectly clear that i am not offended, not one iota, by anything anyone said or what they didn’t say, but was being thought … there is a BIG difference between not agreeing and being offended – where i come from anyway … for my part, i want to see Reuben and BrianD and any other like-minded souls here achieve a good end …

  421. Misty says:

    Oh Jeeez! Now snarky Em is playing the I’ll take my marbles and go home routine, following X. As SnS pointed out earlier, it’s manipulation. Real nice that you make sure that you mention Roobs and Brian and your feigned fear that they will take over the site, thus ousting all the ‘old timers’. BLATENT manipulation Em and you know it.

    Becky, glad you posted what you did. I’m sorry for how you and hubby are feeling tonight. Tomorrow will be better, you guys have a lot more support than you realize.

    Candace, your posts made me laugh so hard I had tears in my eyes!

    Josh, you’re seeing things that aren’t there–literally. I never even mentioned MLD in my only post. What are you smoking dude?

    Michael, don’t say it…I’m gladly off of here…for good. Hope things are looking up for you.

  422. John says:

    @MLD (#416): I’m doing my best right now to tamp down emotions, but talking about things like what I recount in #405 is difficult for me. Emotions come up and don’t like to go back down. What troubles me, deeply troubles me, is that you can read all of #405 and come back with, “Wouldn’t it be a good thing if the young lady would cop to some fault on her end?” Please explain to me how her seeing this situation unfold in which she was being abused spiritually by her husband, sought the help of her pastor only to be told she was the problem, and thinking to herself, “I’ll go talk to my friend, John. I can trust him. If I’m wrong he’ll tell me so in love.” is something she needs to admit fault for. I was at fault along with the other two men in question, at the very least. Then she had to experience the utter abandonment I was guilty of in that moment. She was hurting and needed help. She didn’t know what to do with that situation because she was being told that, because she was married now to a man who saw no role whatever for her outside the home, she had to take it and shut up about it, pure and simple. Because Ephesians teaches that her job was to submit. Not question. Not wonder how that scripture might be applied somewhat differently. Submit, or God will strike you down. She was having a hard time seeing how she could be a fully realized person without having much, if any, self-determination because of what her husband and her pastors were telling her God expected. She wasn’t allowed to express her reservations, and I’m not certain she even knew how to do it considering the environment she was in and had grown up in. She tried, though. What else was she to do besides come to her friend, her apparent last resort to get some kind of handle on what she should do about this problem, and ask for help? You can, and seemingly do, see her actions as manipulative and deceitful. I, with the benefit of much hindsight, see her actions as a call for help. She wanted to do right, but something about what we were telling her was right just didn’t add up for her. She was trying to find a way somehow to be the person she believed she should be and be faithful and obedient to her God, but in the end we told her to give up who she wished to be and be what we told her God wanted her to be. Because, finally, she had no right to be the person she wished to be. It was about God’s sovereign will, not hers, and God’s will said she had to forget her own mind, her own feelings, her own person and do as she was told. What we were instructing her in was definitely not submission. It was subjugation. The tragedy was, and remains, that she did it. Faithfully and quietly. How any part of that is her fault is simply beyond my admittedly limited comprehension.

    As for your allowance that some spiritual abuse is real, forgive me for not scrolling up to find the precise number of my post (I’m bone weary), but I acknowledged that allowance of yours. I also pointed out that when you’re addressing a group of people who have been victims of abuse and make a statement of that nature the immediate thought that enters their minds is that they need to return to questioning how they were responsible for the abuse that befell them. That, perhaps, it really wasn’t abuse, after all. Maybe they deserved it. Maybe they’re wrong about themselves. Anyone who has worked with victims will confirm as much. It’s just a completely tin-eared thing to say to hurting people, and it does harm whether you accept that or not. That is the reason I suggested that to do such a thing isn’t very Christ-like since it lacks compassion because, in effect, what you’re saying to those people isn’t, “Tell me what happened.” It’s, “Tell me what you did wrong.” Do people who fall victim to abuse (or any other violation of their person) sometimes end up in that position through some misjudgment or misunderstanding of their circumstances? Yes, absolutely. Is it their fault? No. Is any part of it their fault? No. Positively not. Abuse is the fault of the abuser and no one else. People can learn warning signs and tactics to avoid being in a vulnerable position, but you can’t possibly expect people to remain ever on their guard against people abusing them, most especially when you’re referring to people they have a rational expectation of being trustworthy. You can’t live your life behind a shield in a constant state of vigilance. Doing that is itself a psychological problem. So if anyone falls prey to an abuser it’s not their fault. Not ever. They have done nothing wrong. They have no fault to admit. They have been wronged just as I wronged my friend.

  423. John says:

    @Reuben (#410): Thank you. For all of it.

    You want to know something that eats at me, but I still can’t figure out why? My friend’s name is Charity. Her sisters are named Faith and Hope. I don’t know why, but I get a pain in my chest every time I think of that.

  424. erunner says:

    John, I read 405 and 428 and have a few questions. You mentioned this young woman had earlier spoken to the senior pastor. Did you speak with him re this and was his counsel pretty much in line with yours?

    If it was I would suggest you weren’t alone in the damage inflicted upon her. You may have been the straw that broke the camels back.

    Is it possible even after so much time you might be able to contact her and her husband to express your regret? Yet I imagine contact also might only dredge things up.

    What you shared reminded me of the power of our words. You were sincerely trying to listen and understand then blew a fuse when you learned she had already spoken to the senior pastor. And from what I can tell from your description of what took place you were now dealing with an altogether different story and you became the disiplinarian?? Yet you fully believed that what you then shared was correct but over time realized your mistake?

    I’m sorry this all took place. It was difficult to read about not only because of what happened with this young woman but because of the tremendous impact it hs had on you. Not too many people grieve over their mistakes when in a position of power. They just carry on. Thank you for sharing. Allan

  425. Ixtlan says:

    Why don’t we tar and feather Josh for defending Xenia…..some like a great idea, huh? I’ll take Josh in my corner any day.

    I actually like all of you, so why don’t we all take a breathe……… I’m hearing all these southern accents ringing in my head..

    At the risk of beating a dead horse, and I like horses, you prpbably misunderstood bit of what I was trying say. So, I hope you stick around and just reinforcing what I’m sure you already know that you can expect some push back on some things.

    BTW, I have three friends named Faith, Hope and Charity and I smile every time I get to see them. Great ladies.

    A four year lurker and your first posts are coming out swinging? LoL. Wow…. that is funny…..

    I got my beer, I got my wine, so …………….. (and you know the rest my friend)

    Ya’ll have a good weekend, and try not to kill someone…

  426. John says:

    @erunnuer AKA Allan: I’m back on my phone so forgive if I fail to address everything. For some reason, in the mobile version of this site the reply box is way up top, and this thread is too long for me to scroll back and forth. Now, to your questions.

    Yes, the senior pastor and I discussed things at length immediately after they left my office, and he backed me 100%. In fact, he praised me. He said he was gratified to see me rise up and proclaim God’s truth to Charity as I did since he knew of our friendship. He acknowledged that it couldn’t have been an easy thing to look someone I loved in the eye and speak truth of that nature. In all honesty, it should have been a moment that lead to greater closeness between he and I if things had gone according to the metaphorical script, but as he spoke I wavered. I started wondering, based upon what he said, what I had just said to my friend, and I admitted as much to him. He then rebuked me, gently but surely.

    Yes, that means we were all complicit, but nothing about that abrogates my failure. I can’t take responsibility for them, only for myself.

    I hate to hear that people in authority grieving over mistakes strikes you as refreshing. Honestly, if you can’t admit your failings and grieve over them when appropriate (you can’t go to that depth every time or you won’t lead) you have no business at all in a position of authority over anything.

    Thank you for your compassion toward me. I’m pretty sure I don’t deserve it, but if I did it wouldn’t be compassion.

  427. John, I don’t want to belabor the point, but I guess it is just in my nature to do so. 🙂

    I think you clarified the issue for me some in your #405 – by that I mean I think we look at what we call “abuse” quite differently. You define abuse as a difference of opinion – I hold the word to a much more serious definition.

    In your paragraph that begins “One day, a young woman came to me with a problem…”

    What was her problem? You described it a little later – “Her husband … was being abusive toward her.” Now when I hear that, my ears perk up with concern. If my daughter (who is now 38 and has given me the 2 greatest grandchildren – right up their with my 3 others) came to me and said “dad, my husband is being abusive to me” I would get my gun and go hunt him down. I know what abuse is and I know what abusive behavior is.

    So, you go on to describe this abuse – they related to the roles in the marriage, and you go on to describe (and this is where I think you trivialize the word abuse) “The subjects of disagreement between them were pretty typical fare for young, Christian marrieds (any marrieds, really)–children, work, money, and so forth.”

    So, if that is how you describe abuse or an abusive husband (or allow the woman to describe being abused) then I can see why we disagree as to what is spiritual abuse – and yes we will continue to talk past each other.

  428. Reuben says:

    E said,

    “Is it possible even after so much time you might be able to contact her and her husband to express your regret?”

    This has been on my mind for months now.

    There has really only been one kid that I have been able to do this with. She is married now, in a good church, they just purchased their first home, husband is a level headed thinker, great people.

    John said,

    “I hate to hear that people in authority grieving over mistakes strikes you as refreshing. Honestly, if you can’t admit your failings and grieve over them when appropriate (you can’t go to that depth every time or you won’t lead) you have no business at all in a position of authority over anything.”

    This community has seen and heard so many stories of unrepentant leadership, that it is refreshing to hear of it now and then. And I agree, folks who cant own fault have no business in leadership. At all.

  429. Of course the answer to all of this is unilateral forgiveness – try unilateral forgiveness. Most people wont forgive unless they see some sort of move towards remorse in the one who trespassed against them. But unilateral forgiveness? Where the trespasser has done nothing at all to deserve it?

  430. Em says:

    Misty, you really don’t get it or you’re being funny (?) – i’m gone because Reuben and BrianD and others see something to accomplish here right now … stick around and say what ya gotta say and expect some push back, but stick around … gotta go look for those darn marbles now, i need them

  431. “Unilateral forgiveness”

    How does this work?

    “How many times must I forgive someone? Is seven times good enough?”
    “Here’s one that will stretch ya, go for seventy times seven…”

    The crowd gasped.
    The onlookers grabbed their calculators.
    Theologians debated.

    God smiled

  432. Kate says:

    Wow! And I thought SCCL was dysfunctional. 😛

    No but seriously, this seems like a good crowd. I’d consider getting involved if it didn’t seem sort of exclusive to my kind (atheist). SCCL has people of all faiths and no faiths. It’s usually the ones who are still nominally evangelical who get really pissy and throw fits over there, though.

  433. Alex says:

    I’m on a very short leash, LOL. Others will have to keep MLD in check, I’m busted again 🙂

  434. Hi Kate,
    Michael Newnham hosts this blog and from what I’ve learned about him he is welcoming of all no matter where they are on their journey.

    Glad you’re here, sure you’ll bring perspective which will challenge and deepen the love.

  435. Nonnie says:

    Ok, having read a bit and now understanding what happened to Xenia, I am really saddened over this. And I certainly understand why she would have been so hurt.
    I’m praying for her and for others here. And YES, I AM PRAYING. I sincerely mean it. It is not a glib statement being thrown out by someone who has nothing else to say. Actually, I have a LOT to say about this, but I would only offend some people if I did. Therefore, I will pray. Only God’s grace and forgiveness can heal this.

  436. John says:

    To All: I’ve spent some time considering all that has transpired over the last few days between us, and, despite some reservations that I might come across as insincere or melodramatic, I’ve concluded that I’m not helping–all of you, myself, or SCCL–by my continued participation. I say this with a tremendous amount of regret. Perhaps I am being somewhat melodramatic since Em has made it clear that in her view (which certainly outstrips my own) I don’t have the power to be disruptive or damaging in this setting, but I don’t think so. I’m glad to know that Em, at least, hasn’t gotten dinged by my input, but I can’t shake the thought that some have. That thought pains me. So I’ll take my personal weaknesses and flaws (though not my ball, you guys can keep that) and go my way.

    I’d like to thank you all very much for allowing me to use your forum here to speak my piece despite my clear ineptitude to do so constructively. I wish you all well and give you my very best, for whatever that’s worth.

  437. John – no one needs to leave. We are just getting to where we have knocked the rough edges off each other. 🙂

  438. ( |o )====::: says:

    You’re totally fine.
    Pull up a chair and a microbrew, stay awhile

  439. Kate says:

    Martin Luther’s Disciple, I enjoy you a lot.

  440. Babylon's Dread says:

    Chill out John

    Pretty much everyone who hangs out at PP… had to have conflict first… it is kind of our own ranking in… unless you cut yourself there is no blood involved.

    Now that you have been through the PP test you can probably do quite well

    And I didn’t even get in on the fun.

  441. Babylon's Dread says:

    DId you guys fulfill Kate’s request? She wants to be de-evangelized.

    So Kate … stop believing … how’s that?

    Wait you already did?

  442. Kate, thank you – you make me blush 🙂

  443. Kate says:

    Babylon’s Dread, Journey is appalled, but I’m pleased. I feel initiated, though I didn’t shed any blood. Oh well, Jesus did that for ALL OF US already! Is initiation on this site sort of like salvation?

  444. Babylon's Dread says:

    Well Kate,

    I never thought of it till just now but I have been here some years and everyone who comes in gets scandalized … or at least many do… or they get roughed up in the convo when you get past that part and flow with the crew…

    Your in….

    Yes we Jesus did the bleeding… but sometimes we get a scratch or two…
    Salvation on this site is surviving the carnage of a couple food fights…


  445. Kate says:

    I’ve not found anything here very scandalous yet. I guess the best is yet to come.

  446. erunner says:

    John said…

    “I hate to hear that people in authority grieving over mistakes strikes you as refreshing. Honestly, if you can’t admit your failings and grieve over them when appropriate (you can’t go to that depth every time or you won’t lead) you have no business at all in a position of authority over anything. ”

    What you didn’t speak of (or I mssed it) is how your attitude either changed or was reenforced as time went on. I don’t know if you continued on hurting people. If you continued on the same road then I agree you weren’t fit to be in spiritual authority over anyone. Yet I firmly believe if you were convicted of your error(s) and asked forgiveness God would certainly have forgiven you. And possibly after some time away from leadership you could have come back and been used by God for much good. But that’s not how things went.

    And as Reuben stated in my many years here it’s rare to read of someone baring their soul so completely as you did in your retelling of what took place. That is refreshing.

  447. erunner says:

    Reuben said…. “E said,

    “Is it possible even after so much time you might be able to contact her and her husband to express your regret?”

    This has been on my mind for months now.

    There has really only been one kid that I have been able to do this with. She is married now, in a good church, they just purchased their first home, husband is a level headed thinker, great people.”

    I’m happy that you were able to connect with her Reuben and I hope it was a healing time for you.

    I went through a time a few years ago when I approached people I had hurt to seek forgiveness. All but one were receptive although one went haywire over my contact. That was the risk you take when the reception is not good. I was angered over this but realized I had done my part.

    I’m sure you understand this stuff more than I do although the dynamic is totally different as you were in ministry. If you are still carrying guilt and pain over past mistakes I hope you find relief that God can provide.

  448. Kate,
    Something tells me you are gonna do fine

  449. nakedpastor says:

    But I’d like to meet Candace.

  450. kevin says:

    Great interview. I would be interested to know if Stephanie’s finds herself tempted to try to be understood or explain herself to Christian culture..? Furthermore do you find it more helpful to instead forge a new path? Or do you find yourself in a place of transition?

  451. Hi…I think I’m tempted to be understood and remember longing to be understood when I was small so it’s something I’m used to but because of a couple communities I’ve been able to find, I’m not as tempted to try to be understood. When people understand me and I understand them we have a kinship and that’s plenty. I feel like I’m always forging a new path and am feeling the tension of transition, yes.

  452. I would totally love to meet Candace and all the rest of the friends of Stephanie, and Stephanie as well!

    Hi DavidHayward!

    Hi Stephanie!

  453. victorious says:

    The beauty of the Phoenix Preacher is that the online interactions here have lead to real life encounters with one another where many have lifted each others burdens and ministered to each others wounds. At a minimum, people have been challenged to listen to one another and to forgive one another. In other words, in a place where many felt free to express their estrangement from the church and their doubts about Christ, authentic Christ like practices towards one another have emerged.

    The authenticity of this community has also been established through the mutual honor and and redemptive receptivity of human beings that spans generations I John 2 speaks of the value and virtue of a Christ trusting community comprised of varying levels of maturity and experience.

    In short, if you wanna welcome a guest clan remember the PP is not the local pub, it is family forged in the redemptive passions and persevering love of our Savior.

    In the course of ministry I have welcomed many a hurt soul into our home and the fabric of our family relationships. But I have engaged many in correction as well and walked a few out of the welcome of our family when situations warranted.

    In short I will provide leadership and correction to my family ( meaning they do not get a pass on bad behavior) but, I do not go out and throw my family under the bus behind their backs in order to remain accepted by those I think I need to be accepted by.

    What Chad Myre and others did here and on his private blog was despicable and what the SCCL community on their FB page did is despicable as well. From the perspective of Christ ( the pioneer and perfecter of this precious shared faith) it is perverted.

    I do not buy the ” they are young” rationalization. They are resonsible.

    Healing will come when you get on with the stewardship of redemption and honor Christ by checking in your suffering soul into the residence known as the fellowship of His sufferings. Bring your friends too, even if they do not want to go beyond the front porch at first.

    This family is worth the honor of protecting the bonds of love by establishing bounds of love.

    Foolishness is the residue left over when one disengages from the responsibility of reengaging with wisdom gained througn experience.

    Reuben I encourage you to press on brother.


  454. [O_o]

    …well, um, Stephanie & your friends, :: I :: welcome you, but then, I’m just the local heretic

  455. PP Vet says:

    Old BS detector group meets young BS detector group. Lovefest ends with each calling the other BS.

    Like many here, I am trying to learn to be obsessed with what God is doing, instead of being obsessed with what He is not doing.

  456. Reuben says:

    I have been compared to Chad Myhre.

  457. What’s this “oh geez” – I thought the “youngers” today said “oh snap!” 🙂

  458. kevin says:

    I think the problem (and I’m no scholar) is this temptation to try to reform, or fix, the system, set of beliefs, or religion of christianity, when perhaps it should instead be done away with completely / forge a new way (or old, depending on how you see it)
    You have this form of christianity that we have come to know that is built upon the reformation, canonization of scripture, spirit of empire, etc and an attempt to fix or correct that is impossible. I think jesus plays it out for us very well.
    one of my favs from cornel west –

  459. Babylon's Dread says:

    OK ….

    Tried to figure out what all the drama has been about.

    PAPIAS nailed it on the 3rd post of the thread..

    “This post is going to split people down the middle.”

    So if you introduce someone who writes a blog ridiculing other people you probably should not try to protect that person. Steph and her SCCL does her thing… she enjoys it… and she potentially hurts people. Which is interesting because she represents hurting people. (For the record I am a pastor and YES I have hurt my share)

    So I went over to SCCL’s facebook page… read the comments… LOL… not a place for hurting people.. .those guys will cook you and eat you.

    To me SCCL is just a kind of a Wittenberg Door for cyberspace … which if you look at it that way will make you go …”meh”

    Interesting that it came to PP and the intersection of two cells produced our own perfect storm.

    One thing Michael has learned here and we all have participated in… There ain’t no perfect way to clean up a mess. The mess cleaners make their own messes.

    I still say this is a family fight and we ought to just understand each other… say we are sorry and actually do the one thing that is completely Christian … FORGIVE.

  460. Babylon's Dread says:


    And yes it is a Christian subculture that does it…. as an art form

  461. Bab’s and me are like brothers separated at birth – both Amillers and now on forgiveness.
    Babs’ #467 “say we are sorry and actually do the one thing that is completely Christian … FORGIVE.”

    and my #435; “Of course the answer to all of this is unilateral forgiveness – try unilateral forgiveness. Most people wont forgive unless they see some sort of move towards remorse in the one who trespassed against them. But unilateral forgiveness? Where the trespasser has done nothing at all to deserve it?”

  462. Josh Hamrick says:

    This whole thing was kind of confusing to me. I thought SCCL was (another) blog that makes fun of Christian goofiness. I have no problem with that. Done well, it can be quite entertaining, even if a bit mean spirited.

    Then we find out SCCL is a harbor for the spiritually-abused, which I don’t think those of us commenting here were ready for, at first. Just didn’t cross our minds.

    Some of us, were critiquing humor that is pointed at Christians. Is it funny? Is it original? Is it helpful? Those type of things.

    Others took that as a shot at their community, which is dealing with spiritual abuse. We didn’t mean it that way, but that’s how it was taken, and once the disagreement was under way, perhaps we didn’t respond in the best manner.

    As it goes, “hurt people hurt people”.

    I try to carry on conversations here, and with SCCL people on facebook, and I’m accused of playing both sides of the fence. Which is funny.

    Mrs Reub’s hopes I keep looking like a …whatever that means, because apparently asking Reuben what he was apologizing for is evil, evil, evil.

    Whatever, I still love all of you, And I had good conversation with a few people at SCCL. If that is playing both sides of the fence…grow up.

  463. Babylon’s Dread, bloodying bullies by blogging isn’t specific to Christian culture, it’s something everyone enjoys. But it turns out I have written a post that specifically pertains to you. 🙂

  464. Papias says:

    Wow Steph that was uncalled for. You won’t make manyy friends here by calling out BD. We disagree theologically, but I love my brother.

    Godwins law has been invoked.

  465. Josh Hamrick says:

    Thanks Paps, for sending me to wikipedia. 🙂

  466. Alex says:

    c’mon lighten up Papi. Dread’s a big boy (literally 😆 ) I love the Big Guy, too, but Steph wasn’t out of line and was snarky/funny…which is in the DNA of this blog

  467. Babylon's Dread aka Alan Hawkins says:

    Well Stephanie Drury dear…

    First, I don’t think Christians have a cornered the grumpy anonymously posting either.

    Second, I came from behind my mask long ago here…but maintain if by common consent

    Third… I am not the slightest perturbed by you or by your self exorcism via blogging.

    Fourth… anyone who messes with misogynist Mark can’t be completely annoying.

    But thanks for trying.

  468. Oh Snap! Stephey is a bit immature.

  469. Babylon's Dread aka Alan Hawkins says:

    Has PP become Powder Puff?

  470. Alex says:

    I think we all need to take a deep breath and undergo some sensitivity training…

  471. And people wonder why I don’t want anything to do with church.

  472. Jen says:

    I think I agree with MLD, John.

    The young woman in question should have walked out on the Sr. Pastor’s bad advice, your bad advice, and her horrible marriage.

    (Or, at least, I think this would have been the most reasonable course of action she could have taken that would have also been “taking responsibility” for her part in all of it).

    But I think present-day-John is right about former-John.

  473. Michael says:

    Someone needs to publish a timeline of what this conflict is all about…because I have no idea what the hell all the strife is about.
    Reuben published a really good interview, I went to work, and all hell evidently broke loose and is still shaking.
    The point to publishing it was to present another perspective, not draw another line in the sand…to find some common ground along with the differences.
    I’m finding the characterizations on both sides disturbing…there has to be a better way forward.

  474. Alex says:

    Steph said, “And people wonder why I don’t want anything to do with church.”

    I could go on for hours, maybe 6,000 blog posts (and counting)…yet somehow I found a good local “church” and still go. I just try to not get to know the pastor or leadership too closely. Ignorance is bliss.

    but, they do have “membership”, elected Elders, open/transparent finances, a venue to air beefs, vetting/background checks of all childcare workers etc etc etc.

    The only thing that trumps my distrust in church and men, is my skepticism that there is no God and that we happened by some chemical/biological/quantum accident.

  475. A Believer says:


    re your 481.

    Why you would say that?

    So far it looks like you are up to 231 articulately and satirically stated reasons.

    I know I’m not pondering! 😉

    -A Believer (John Shaffer)

  476. A Believer says:


    Seriously, of all people, you should know that a change in perspectives never comes without a cost.

  477. Michael says:


    I have this site where Lutherans, Calvinists, Calvary Chapel, Baptists, Renewal, and the Orthodox have all managed to share perspectives without a blood bath.
    I’m not sure what triggered this issue on this thread or why it seems to have such lasting power.

  478. Josh Hamrick says:

    RE Michael at 483 – The only thing that bothered me is that Xenia got hurt. Other than that, it’s been a pretty good conversation.

  479. Michael says:


    That troubles me greatly as well…and I thank and bless you for your responses to this mess.

  480. Babylon's Dread aka Alan Hawkins says:

    Blogs and bloggers do not get shielded from hurt feelings… sowers law… bigger than all of us.

  481. Josh Hamrick says:

    I think I’ve been at a point in my life when I didn’t want anything to do with church. Not Jesus, just “church”.

    Don’t know what happened. It’s hard to remember, like I found a home and all that worked itself out.

  482. Stephanie,
    You seemed to have answered the question why you wouldn’t want to be a part of this blog, but I have not heard the reason for not wanting to be a part of a church – we are not a church, so it couldn’t be anything related to us.

  483. A Believer says:

    RE #490.

    No, that was my point.

    Did you really need to ask us your 481?

  484. Alex says:

    For me, church is more of a social construct…and really good for the kids (in providing a positive social/religious function for them to grow up, make friends, learn the basics of Christianity etc).

    The teaching is nice (and good)…but it’s pretty much repeat of the same stuff I’ve read and heard my entire life.

    “God” is not found in “church” from my experience. God comes to you in your Journey outside of those four walls.

    What I do like about “church” is the opportunity to take communion and the opportunity to support a local Group that actually uses some of the money raised to help folks in practical ways…that and they preach the basic Gospel message.

    I do get uneasy when some of our “members” go on and on about the pastor or church in what I believe is an unhealthy manner, “oh our pastor is so awesome, it’s the BEST church ever”…etc

    I want to respond, “well why don’t you just build an altar and worship him then, instead of Jesus”….but my wife is usually present and would kick me in the gnards if I stated such.

  485. Alex says:

    Steph, good luck with A Believer and MLD. From experience…just save yourself the trouble and bang your head against a wall until they seem intelligent…or you don’t care anymore 😆

  486. Sorry if that didn’t get through. I’ll rephrase: and people wonder why I don’t want anything to do with people who profess Christ.

  487. Josh Hamrick says:

    Because Christians don’t always respond to your mean comments with glowing affirmations?

  488. A Believer says:


    As Josh alluded to, the blow out had nothing to do with the inevitable “heat” generated by mixing opposing or even complementary perspectives.

    It was about crossing the line in calling out long standing members (offline on FB) here by those who were supposed to me maintaining a semblance of neutrality in facilitating the discussions.

    It’s not that those who did so shouldn’t be entitled to their own opinions, …it’s just that voicing them in a public rather than a private forum such as e-mail betrayed a confidence.

    Pretty simple really.

  489. Church is the place that you go to get your sins forgiven. I know that blows with a lot of people who think the church’s main objective is to bond people into relationships and keep them entertained long enough to get a message down their throats – but alas, that’s not it.

    Weekly you go to get convicted of your sins, hear over and over again the solution to that sin and collect in a physical way, the gifts of grace, forgiveness and assurance of salvation through confession & absolution, hearing the word, and having the body & blood of our risen Lord poured down your throat.

  490. Michael says:


    I haven’t followed this whole conflict as life has gotten in the way.
    I will say that I’ve followed you on Twitter for some time and find you frequently amusing and insightful.
    My guess is that if our two communities had a meal and a beverage together this conflict would pass quickly.

  491. Michael, if you profess Christ, then you give me some hope that Jesus was all right.

  492. Nonnie says:

    I found it very sad that Xenia, who was trying to dialogue with folks, giving as good as she got, but then taking what she said, stating her case very sincerely and trying to make a point about mocking others….she then was mocked on FB.
    I thought that was really pathetic. It reminded me of how Jr. high girls treat the the girl that isn’t in their crowd. Nice to her in class (in front of the teacher) and then brutalising her on their turf.

  493. Josh Hamrick says:

    I will confess, it is difficult to know how to take you Steph. I mean, your whole gimmick is that you make fun of Christian stuff, which again, is fine by me. But there seems to be some disconnect in owning it, like you are then on this site expecting Christians to be nice to you in return. Granted, we probably should, but then do we end up as the source of ridicule for your next post? Even this whole thing, I can’t tell if you are doing a parody or not, tweeting that you split this site…etc.

    You seem likable, but I would understand anyone who doesn’t trust your motives.

  494. Michael says:


    I do profess Him…and from way farther up the road from you on this journey home I will tell you that I’ve found Him faithful even when His people and leaders aren’t.
    Best of all, he’s faithful when I’m not, which is frequently.

  495. Babylon's Dread aka Alan Hawkins says:

    I love Stephanie … love her blog … but sheesh

    When you burn people at the stake you get smoke in your eyes…

  496. Michael says:


    I love Xenia and she’s been a joy to me for may years.
    The sadness I feel is that those folks didn’t take the time to know her as we do…that is the great weakness of this sort of communication.

  497. Josh Hamrick says:

    I offer Alex as a peace offering to SCCl…. 🙂

  498. My gimmick isn’t that I make fun of Christian stuff, it’s that I hold up Christian culture for scrutiny and to contrast the way it has nothing to do with Jesus of Nazareth.

  499. nakedpastor says:

    #501 MLD: “Church is the place that you go to get your sins forgiven.” What?

  500. Nonnie says:

    Yes, to Michael’s 506.
    I am sure that MANY of us here could also say that.
    Jesus has remained faithful, in spite of me and no matter what man may say or do to me.
    Many of us have been hurt and wounded, but it wasn’t from His hand.

    I think what we have learned here at the Phoenix Preacher, is that life is much sweeter when we can have honest dialogue with one another, without attacking or mocking each other. When that happens, the conversation breaks down to “us against them” rather than “us” trying to find our way, “together,” in this often-times, painful world.

    I have come to love so many folks here, of different “tribes,” and we might never darken one another’s church building, but here, with mutual respect, we often have sweet fellowship and we certainly have lots of laughs too!

    There is a huge difference between humour and berating/mocking.

  501. sarahkwolfe says:

    I’ve stayed out of this conversation mainly because I have not had the time to engage, and didn’t want to be seen as just a drive-by poster!

    Stephanie…we tend to be protective of those who have been kind and compassionate to us in the past. Em and Xenia have been those things to many of us. They have listened to our stories and prayed with us and cared.

    That’s the main thing. They’ve cared.

    So, when their feelings get hurt, we tend to get defensive, and I do think that is a little of what happened. I haven’t had a chance to read all the posts.

    Maybe generation gaps is at play as well….possibly.

    You asked about if Michael professes Christ, then to give some hope that He is alright…Michael answered, but if you’ll allow the intrusion, I would like to answer as well.

    Simply put….He is more than us. He is more compassionate than us and is able to hold us in great tenderness even when rebuking and calling out our sin. He is more than us in holiness…beyond our comprehension in being able to walk this earth without sin. He is more than us in His judgment…able to judge with a wisdom that we simply cannot fathom. A wisdom that takes into account all the nuances and all the feelings and all the truths that we try to convey.

    Jesus has proven Himself faithful throughout the history of our faith, but He has also proved Himself faithful here in the midst of this community of people. We have seen people changed in ways that simply cannot be explained other than they have encountered a Living God.

    Hope has come in the moments of deepest darkness. We have held hands, virtually, across miles as we have whispered prayers of desperation for the healing of infants (currently doing so for Nonnie’s grandson). We have prayed with joy at the birth of babies, at the healing of friends, at the restoration of relationships. Each of these instances has born the touch of a LIving God who intervened.

    Some will explain away these circumstances as having natural causes. Yet…we speak testimony that it is more. That God is more…that His reality is beyond what we could hope or imagine….and sometimes that includes suffering and frustration, but it brings us to a knowledge of Him that could come no other way.

    I know that some of this sounds like Christianeze…and if that is what you want to hear, it will play that card. I will tell you, though….in the midst of these posts you might find real people who bear some scars and can be cranky and defensive, but who love God and His people. We don’t always do it well….but with grace we try. And in the end we know that God is more than what we could simply muster up among ourselves….and He is who we ultimately place each other’s care with.

    I am sorry that you’ve been frustrated by your interaction here. I truly wish I had more time to engage at the moment…I would like to. There are priorities in life, though…and for the moment blogging is a little far behind some other things. Regardless…I hope that you are able to glean that we are not just another narrow-minded gathering, but we are yet another part of the image bearers of a God who breaks through and is in our midst.

  502. A Believer says:


    “…those folks didn’t take the time to know her as we do”.

    It wasn’t the fault of anyone at SCCL, including the host Stephanie, that Xenia is no longer heard in this discussion.

    Xenia herself sated that it wasn’t the fact that she had perspectives contrary to Stephanie, her supporters, or even the PP regulars (many of whom she has disagreed with in a cvil manner for years), that drove her away.

    It was that her perspective was minimized, marginalized, and apologized for by those who should have remained neutral when facilitating a discussion of this nature. Or, at least voiced their disagreements with her honorably directly, rather than speaking about her disparagingly on Facebook behind her back.

  503. First off, there is no such thing as Christian Culture.
    We are people who live within a culture and at the same time proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.

    So, is there an atheist culture – other than Hell’s Angels? 😉

  504. Michael says:


    I hear you…but if Xenia has truly departed the premises permanently her legacy would be her wisdom, humility,…and her readiness to forgive.

  505. Nonnie says: