Dear Pastor Tullian…(or, my emotional response to your apology for your emotional response)

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Congratulations Pastor Tullian, you just fell into one of the favorite traps of abusers everywhere: “Let’s make the whistleblower the problem!”

**You said, “I’m sorry for saying things in my own defense.”

Last time I checked, some people lied about you, gossiped about you, and oh by the way, they systematically covered over an abuse scandal in the church because, you know, “Buddy System.”

The entire reason for Christians defending the Fatherless and the Widow was, as I understand Scripture, because these are people who can’t stand up for themselves. Where is the Biblical mandate against speaking in your own defense? The Bible says not to resist an evil person. We are never, ever commanded to turn our other cheek against a brother or sister in the Lord.

 

**You said, “I’m an emotional guy. And in my highly charged emotional state, I said some things in haste, both publicly and privately, that I regret.”

First of all, since when are emotions bad? God got angry when the Israelites did nasty things, like sacrificing their children and all that stuff. Jesus got angry when he saw money changers in the temple, and when the leper knelt before him wondering if Jesus would be “willing” to make him clean. I always thought Jesus was ticked off at how the weakest of His people were being treated by their leaders. I honestly thought YOU were reacting in that same anger. What’s wrong with that?

 

The site “A Cry For Justice” identifies this as “flat-affect theology,” the belief that any time a believer shows anger that he just must be wrong. Sorry. It’s not true. It’s not Biblical. Yet anger is used in our church culture as some sort of spiritual thermometer that says, “Oh gee, when I’m this angry, I must be in sin.” How exactly should we feel when we’re lied about, gossiped about, systemically cast out, and oh yeah, kids are abused? It think anger is appropriate here.

 

Secondly, what exactly did you “regret”? What are you actually apologizing for? Did someone really lie about you, or was it just a big misunderstanding? Did the TGC gurus really collude to kick you out, or was it an administrative hiccup that led to the problem? Is it still impossible for you to imagine that CJ Mahaney didn’t know about the SGM abuse victims, or do you now have new information? You can’t just bring an argument to the public like that, then say, “Whoopsie, I was wrong, sorry, peaceloveJesus,” and not explain yourself. At least, not without seriously damaging your credibility.

 

**You said: “I absolutely love and adore my friend, Tim Keller.” and “ The thought that I said anything at all that would hurt Tim or call anything about him into question makes me both sad and sick. “

 

I don’t care how much you adore Tim Keller, et al, because it has nothing to do with whether or not Keller lied about you in his public statement. Love may cover over a multitude of sins, but misplaced love leads to abusers being allowed to continue their behavior because “We all know he’s REALLY a good guy.”

 

Please. Gag me.

 

Even Darth Vader had the love of Padme. And of Luke. But he still, you know, cut off Luke’s hand and turned him over to the Emperor. This was before he claimed to “convert” back to the fictional “good side.” Keller and the TGC guys are ALREADY supposed to be Christian believers! You SHOULD be angry when they screw up this royally, and you SHOULD call them out publically if they don’t respond to private confrontation.

 

Oh yeah, that’s the part of Matthew 18 that everyone forgets–verse 17: If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

 

**You said, “The late Francis Schaeffer once noted that bitter divisions among Christians give the world the justification they’re looking for to disbelieve the gospel. But when reconciliation, peacemaking, and unity are on display inside the church, that becomes a powerful witness to this fractured world.”

 

Did you know that the late Francis Schaeffer’s son wrote a book claiming that the late Francis Schaeffer was physically abusive towards his wife? I mean, how could an abuser use the Bible to shut down legitimate confrontation?

 

Finally, and you can cross-check my next statement with your brother Boz on this: you just played the cards that every abuser wants you to play. You confronted someone with their sin, they wouldn’t repent, you tried to bring it into the light, and they MADE YOU THE PROBLEM. Your anger. Your divisiveness. Your disunity. Never mind the fact that the whole source of your anger, divisiveness, and disunity is
their behavior, you just need to fix your heart.

So, when you fix your heart, do they ever fix their behavior? After all, “out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” What does their behavior say about thecondition of their heart?

This part feels personal, because bringing my family’s abuse to light was always my problem. It’s my fault that my mother is depressed, (“She misses you so much!”) and my father drinks, (“He misses you so much!”) and my nephew doesn’t get to have an “Aunt Taylor” around. I was always told that I should have a forgiving spirit, that I should be “Christ-like,” that I should forget the past, and move on. I was always told about the holidays that were forever changed, the family reunions that were so awkward (because everyone’s like, “Where’s Taylor”) and the fact that my kids won’t know their grandparents.

 

Oddly enough, NO ONE ever thought to say, “Maybe your parents should stop being abusive…? Maybe they should get treatment for their drug addictions and paranoid delusions…? Maybe you should make sure they don’t hit your kids, or drive your kids anywhere while they’re drunk, or get killed because a parent let an addicted boyfriend or girlfriend into the home?”

 

Of course, none of this behavior has changed. Nope. It was all about MY heart. My forgiveness. Apparently, being Christ-like means being so submissive that I’d be willing to let my dad drive drunk with me and my six month old baby (happened!) and I should just not rock the boat.

 

What do you think will do more damage to the unbelieving world? Watching a pastor disagree with those in power, and fight for justice? Or watching one more pastor sweep injustice under the rug?

 

Pastor Tullian, please have the testicular fortitude to be angry in a Christ-like manner, to stand up against bullies who wrongly use the Bible as a 2×4, and to rock the boat. For the sake of all of us, don’t set an example that allows people to continue to abuse their positions of power. Yes, you’re free to fail. But you’re not free to cover abuses and call it Christian love.

 

Dave Ramsey and the Gossip Problem

 

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The recent social media dust-up surrounding Dave Ramsey surprised me. I’ve followed his teachings (and promoted them at every single church I’ve been a part of) for over ten years. I couldn’t imagine him getting his briefs in a bind over some parody Twitter accounts—which, last time I checked, are protected under that whole “freedom of speech” idea.

I have heard Ramsey blast the concept of “gossip,” over and over again, on the radio show. He’s referred to it as one of the most toxic things that can happen in any business, or any church. In some respects, he’s right. Unsubstantiated rumors can destroy a person’s reputation, influence, ministry, or job. Vindictive, cruel individuals have no qualms about using distortions, faulty appeals to emotion, or flat-out lies to tear down another person. I’ve personally been in the cross-hairs of liars and manipulators, and it’s not a fun place to be. I’ve lost family and friendships because a disordered person painted me with a brush that only had two colors—black and white.

However, there’s two areas where Ramsey seems to be dead wrong on this issue:

1) Parody Twitter accounts are not “gossip.”

Dave, did these guys share Lampo trade secrets with the Twitterverse? Did they tap your bathroom, record you singing Marvin Gaye off-key in the shower, and broadcast it on Youtube? Did they reveal the location of Rachel’s super-secret honeymoon location, and put her safety at risk? No—according to media reports, they said you were spoiled rotten, authoritarian, and power hungry. (And since you worked to have the Twitter accounts deleted, well, I have no way of checking it on my own now, do I?) They must have said it in a funny, compelling way too, because you reacted like you’d been stung by a swarm of bees. You could have taken the high road, and invoked that little-known Bible verse that says, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” (Matthew 5:11) Instead, you threatened legal action and moved to shut them down. You also created a nifty little Streisand Effect, and increased the follower-ship of the last parody account ten-fold.

So it makes me wonder: Why are you able to stand against an entire culture and say, “Credit is bad, credit scores are worthless, and you can truly live without this system,” but you can’t stand against some paltry little anonymous Tweeters that call you a bully?

2) Matthew 18 has been the basis of almost every “anti-gossip” crusade that I’ve encountered as a believer.

However, Dave, there seems to be a part that you left out of your Bible study:

15 “If your brother or sister[b] sins,[c] go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’[d] 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

So, if someone had confronted you on authoritarian, bullying behavior, and you simply “fired their butt,” where would they have to go next? According to Matthew 18, their JOB, Biblically, would be to “tell it to the church.” Since you’ve created a national platform for yourself (which has done a lot of people a lot of good) then the national and international church, via Twitter, is arguably a logical place to do this. If you still refuse to be repentant, then the Church’s next role is to treat you as a pagan or a tax collector.

Dangit, Dave, do you really want to be compared to the IRS?

You showed some interesting colors here, Dave. You could have laughed this off if they were telling lies, or you could have said, “Gee, maybe I was wrong, and maybe I have something to learn about authoritarian behavior,” if they were telling the truth. Instead, by working to get these Twitter accounts removed, you raised the suspicions of those of us who have been faithful followers of your program for years.

Nice job.

Please work to clear this up. 

Sincerely, 

A Long-Time Fan

 

Why TGC–or at least Al Mohler and Company–Must Apologize

I read this exchange with Joe Carter of The Gospel Coalition, and my stomach sank.  Carter seems completely oblivious to the culpability that members of TGC—heck, FOUNDERS of TGC!!!–have towards the Nate Morales abuse survivors.  Since he can’t seem to put the connections together, allow me to spell it out for him:

1) Carter claims that “TGC has no authority to get involved in matters at the local church level.”

REALLY? Well, apparently, Al Mohler, Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, and others didn’t get that memo.  They are the face of TGC, and they’ve publically supported C.J. Mahaney since the civil lawsuit began.  Even better–Mahaney sat on the front speakers’ row at the Together 4 the Gospel conference.  Sorry, when founding members of TGC support a local pastor–that’s an involvement!  Like it or not, Mr. Carter, The Gospel Coalition **members** have been actively endorsing C.J. Mahaney for a long time, except for Tullian Tchividjian.

Oh, whoopsie–Tchividjian is not a member anymore, is he?

If TGC has no authority over the cover-up of Nate Morales’ abuse, then why were Mohler et al allowed to use Together 4 the Gospel slogans and stationary to support C.J. Mahaney?  Or does TGC have no authority over T4G matters either?

2) Carter claims that many protestants want a hierarchical organization for the church, similar to Catholicism, but then claims that such a structure doesn’t exist, and that each church is autonomous.

Carter must have his head in the sand, because the Young, Restless, and Reformed movement promotes a different–but just as binding–type of authority structure:
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The Neo-Calvinist crowd cannot promote such stringent authoritarianism in the home and the church, then claim that TGC has nothing to apologize for.  If Mohler, Piper, and friends weren’t actively promoting that everyone submit to some figurehead above them, then parents of abused kids at Sovereign Grace wouldn’t have been programmed to submit to their pastor’s “authority,” and keep the abuse from the police.  You can’t program “authority” into the hearts and minds of the sheep, then disavow any responsibility once the wolves come in.

3) Carter claims that TGC has already spoken out against child sexual abuse, and that its critics are saying it “wasn’t enough.”  He refuses to make a statement in support of the victims, because he thinks critics will CONTINUE to say it wasn’t enough, unless TGC outright condemns Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries.

Um…well…DUH!!!

Founding TGC members supported Mahaney, who was just revealed to be a bald-faced liar!!  That was a slap in the face to every victim who had to endure the cover-up, and submit to their pastoral “authority!!” These victims and their parents believed the falsehood that GOD HIMSELF set up this type of authority, and if they didn’t SUBMIT, they were disobeying GOD, and where do you think they GOT THAT IDEA???

From YOU GUYS.

So. No. Speaking out against the amorphous idea of child abuse in general is not enough.  It will never be enough.  Your organization has specific sins to repent of:

1) Supporting Mahaney vocally, and publically, despite multiple witnesses to a HUGE cover-up of sexual abuse.

2) Teaching unBiblical hierarchical authority structures for the church and home, and even going so far as to imply that if a church member disagrees with these authority structures, he or she may not be saved. This created such a culture of fear that few were willing to break with the authority, and go to the police.

The Gospel Coalition needs to apologize. Publicly.  Immediately.  Now.

 

 

 

Welcome to “Baby Agape!”

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It finally happened, our fourth and final baby was born!

She was healthy, stubborn (twisted in a funny way, and refused to come out for hours!), ravenously hungry, and absolutely beautiful.

So far, she’s the easiest baby of them all–she only cries when she’s being undressed or changed.  She’s so precious and sweet and snuggly…yeah, she’s amazing. And we’re not biased in this house at allll. 😀  I can’t believe she’s ours.

My in-laws came for a while, and pampered us and spoiled us rotten.  I don’t have a single piece of dirty laundry in the house, and until this morning, I didn’t have a single dirty dish.  I was able to just rest, recover, bond with my new baby, and surprisingly, begin to enjoy the dynamics of having [by modern standards] a very large family. 

One of my most painful emotional memories from middle school was being squished between a bunch of students that I barely knew on the bus during an eight-hour school trip.  I remember wishing I was around people who loved me, that I could just be accepted, and that I would be “comfortably squished” among a lot of friends and family.  I never felt that way, in my home or among my peers.

Strangely, now I’m piled up with a ton of kids that I never expected to have, and certainly never thought I’d be any good at parenting—and I’m comfortably squished among so much love that it’s overwhelming.  We love and accept them, and they know it.

So, hopefully I’ll be back to blogging soon.  I’ve been so surprised by the response to some of the articles, and I was honored beyond belief to have my story posted as a “Resource for Children of Domestic Violence” at  “A Cry For Justice.”  Once that happened, I realized that there are good things I can contribute to the survivor community, now that I’ve been out of my family of origin for more than a decade, and I deeply want to help others coming out of the situation I was in.

God bless all of you!

Taylor Joy