The Calvary Chapel Chronicles: Crazy Women
There will be pieces written by others to follow who have experienced what I write about today…which is the role of women in Calvary Chapel.
The first piece of pastoral advice that I was given as a pastor in training was “all women are Philistines.”
Nothing was more dangerous to the well being of the pastor than all those sultry vixens who would lead the poor,innocent, clergyman to his doom.
The man that told me that eventually fell himself to one of those she devils…but of course it wasn’t his fault.
After I started this blog, when I would inquire about why a woman came to me with allegations of abuse and adultery the answer from the ruling elders would almost always be “she’s crazy”.
If she wasn’t crazy, she was “not spiritual”, “not supportive”, or had” let herself go”.
There was no end to the reasons why a pastor could dump off one wife and take up up another one…usually a younger one who had yet to “let herself go”.
I have way, way, too many examples of this sort of thing to dismiss these things as aberrations to the culture instead of being intrinsic to the culture.
That is not to say that all Calvary Chapel pastors have been misogynists or unfaithful…that would be a lie.
It is saying that a culture existed and still exists that will support men who choose to use and abuse women.
Let me share a scenario that I have seen so many times I’ve literally forgotten most of them.
Pastor finds a new squeeze and wants rid of the wife.
Pastor must have some sort of reason to do this that meets “biblical standards” for divorce.
Thus, the pastor must utterly slander the woman being dumped.
The slander begins…and doesn’t ever end.
Often, they even convince their children that their mother was evil and deserved to be loosed.
There are many women who were once married to CC pastors who haven’t spoken to their children in years because they dispute the narrative that has been formed about them.
Many of those pastors are still working in churches.
My classic example of this is of a pastor and his wife who were very successful in Orange County.
Depending on who you ask, they both had drug and financial issues that led to big trouble.
He left her, took up a trophy wife and moved to the Midwest.
He then took up with the secretary of the church he moved to…and ended up back in the O.C.
He now teaches at a prominent CC and is speaking soon at a mens conference…
When one their children recently died, the first wife was excluded from the memorial service…the narrative must be maintained.
When a culture embraces a known scoundrel like that, it speaks more about the culture than any doctrinal statement…
How did Chuck Smith deal with this issue?
I’m sure there were men he defrocked.
I’m also sure that he bragged about restoring adulterers and in at least one high profile case threatened to fire a church board that was trying to discipline an abusive pastor.
The question before the house is whether this culture will survive in the age of #metoo and #churchtoo.
Don’t be surprised when lawyers have more to say about that than the clergy…