April 23, 2018

Bad Press: The Circus Goes On

Christians, we can’t hide any more.

In this day when there are few secrets, and what secrets there may be are only one social media post away from the light of day, it’s time for Christians, churches, and Christian organizations to get their act together.

Forget the mostly bogus complaints about “persecution” and loss of “religious freedom.” Can we once practice a bit of humility and admit that we’ve done as much or more to drive people away by our own misbehavior?

It has gotten to a point where we are not talking about any duties that are specifically “Christian.” We are simply calling for human decency, honesty, maturity, and transparency.

Here are some recent examples of the circus stories prominent in the church today.

From Australia, Michael Frost, in an article called Paying for the Sins of Our Fathers, writes about how “the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle is going broke paying compensation to the victims of child sexual assault by their priests.” “If the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle goes broke and closes down it will be their own fault, not the prevailing headwinds of secularization and the ‘left-leaning mainstream media.’ We are all now paying for the sins of our fathers, men who betrayed their calling to serve the church, who inflicted dreadful suffering on their victims and whose crimes will be paid for by congregations like those at St James, Bungwahl for years to come.”

Dee at Wartburg Watch writes about Francis Chan and others who are warning church members about criticizing church leaders, as if what we should be doing is doubling down on the untouchability of our “anointed.” “We live in a time when people are quick to criticize church and leadership, with this assumption that they know better. It’s just a very, very difficult time for Christian leaders to lead,” he said. Seriously? This is the move to make right now in the current climate? Apparently “accountability” is for disciples not disciplers.

John Ortberg responds to the Bill Hybels controversy at Willow Creek. “I was approached over four years ago with disturbing information that I did not seek out. Along with others who received this information, I directed it to the elders of Willow Creek. The process that followed was, in my view, poorly designed and likely to expose any woman who came forward to grave risks….Anyone who may have been victimized by people in power needs to know that the church of Jesus is their refuge and champion. In this case, the tremendous courage of several women has been met with an inadequate process that has left them without a refuge and with no way to be assured of a fair hearing.” Meanwhile, Hybels, a Christian leader I’ve respected a great deal, sounds more like a certain politician in Washington than a pastor, claiming that the whole thing is “flat out lies.”

Meanwhile, speaking of said politician, “Nearly 8 in 10 white evangelicals approve of Trump’s job performance, compared with 39 per cent of all Americans, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center.”

And yet another evangelical leader steps down because of an “inappropriate relationship.”

The Buffalo diocese of the Roman Catholic Church released the names of 42 priests accused of abusing minors. 27 of them are new names, not released previously.

Also, it’s been revealed that two Christian humanitarian charities have been involved in sexual misconduct allegations.

The Mormons are not exempt from all of this either.

Let’s not forget financial fraud.

Speaking of which, this Greek Orthodox Church allegedly mishandled millions of dollars in an “$80 million boondoggle” involving St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine, a rebuilding project undertaken after the 2001 terror attacks in New York City.

In an interview with Christianity Today, Rachael Denhollander, an evangelical Reformed Baptist and one of the victims of the USA Gymnastics scandal, has had a lot to say about the problems with regard to the abuse problems that have beset Sovereign Grace Ministries. “Church is one of the least safe places to acknowledge abuse because the way it is counseled is, more often than not, damaging to the victim. There is an abhorrent lack of knowledge for the damage and devastation that sexual assault brings. It is with deep regret that I say the church is one of the worst places to go for help. That’s a hard thing to say, because I am a very conservative evangelical, but that is the truth. There are very, very few who have ever found true help in the church.”

And the circus goes on. Deeds done in darkness are being brought to light. There’s no place to hide.

Meanwhile, this is some people’s idea of what we need to make us “strong” in these tumultuous days.

Michael is rolling over in his grave right now.

Comments

  1. Jesus weeps.

  2. john barry says:

    The only Pew Center survey I could find was dated April 26 2017. Overall white Catholics still approve of Trump 53% those attended church at least monthly approval 61% less frequently 44%. Trump got 60% of the white Catholic vote in 2016. About 78% of white evangelicals still support Trump, so the “base of Catholic and evangelicals is still there.

    Leave it up to the WAPO to headline “In the Age of Trump, Evangelicals Face Their Own Problems”. Trump has no more to do with the sexual misconduct of the evangelical “leaders” than Regan did with the Catholic Priest who molested children, than Obama or Bush did about the Greek Orthodox scandal in the early 2000’s and so on.

    Trump is a secular, crass, brash New York business who is a Christian like the 80 percent of Americans practice their faith. CINO. Once again I will go over the main 3 reasons the dreaded evangelicals and conservative Catholics voted for Trump 1- illegal aliens and open borders 2- Our trade policies and economy 3- National security. They know what Trump is but they also know at least they have a seat at the table. Again why is Trump brought into the failings of church leaders, they did it because Trump did? Hybles was one of many Bill Clinton spiritual advisors during the Lewinsky scandal. However B. Clinton was sincere so no need for any headline there.

    This blog recently had many comments about the Billy Graham Rule. I am for it and many things cited above are the reason. People of faith trust their religious leaders but the leaders should make sure their they are transparent, open and accountable. With my children and others I was responsible for I never trusted any youth leader, Boy Scout leader, camp counselor and others that might prey on young people as they were like Willy Sutton in their reasoning . Whatever it takes to make sure that religious leaders are held accountable needs to happen. Trust but verify like we did the Russians before the reset.

    I hope most responsible faith groups see the failings of the past and change is being demanded. Even old bars had it right with the old faded sign over the bar, In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash. Just assume the worst and try to prevent situations where temptation and sin leads to innocent people being victims. Can you imagine the abuse that went on historically when religious leaders of all faiths were unchallenged, unquestioned and certainly unaccountable. Some changes in the world are good and accountability of faith leaders needs to be and remain a focal point.

    Certain actions require no “second” changes or opportunity to even have a chance to inflict more damage. One strike and you are out. Was not Judas the treasurer ? Shame on religious leaders , who abuse the trust of the faithful, they must really believe there is no hell.

    • Yeah, I can’t quite get my head around this, following on from the previous ‘attack’ of BGR.

      This post may be written as a wake-up call, but it could also be perceived as an echo of the anti-theist trope that “all religious people are paedophiles and perverts”. This following hot on the heels of the notion (ok, my caricature) that “if evangelicals would just get over their hangups and make contact with their inner whatever, they wouldn’t need that terrible discriminatory BGR”.

      So what are we? Specially perverted? Or particularly pure? Or just as fallen as everyone else? (Which is what used to pass for orthodoxy in the old days, I believe).

      I think it is biblical to say that even if you’re not perfect, you can at least avoid *some* sin by avoiding the temptation altogether.

      What are we to believe? That there are some people who don’t need to “be careful” because they are naturally strong, or just not subject to ‘sexual’ (or romantic) temptation? (And none of their actions will ever be subject to interpretation, or retro-interpretation…).

      If you are in a position of authority, or responsibility, I just don’t see how you can be so arrogant as to take that risk. The post above seems to concentrate on the “oh so bad” pastors and their poor victims, but there is also fallout in terms of the disarray that these things provoke within a church. Because even the hint or insinuation of impropriety can rip a church to pieces and leave “simple souls” in distress from which sometimes they never recover.

      Obviously, that doesn’t mean I condone covering up scandals to ‘protect’ bystanders. But it does mean that, in my opinion, you have a long hard think about *all* of the above, before suggesting that the BGR (or something analogue) is inherently discriminatory (would it be discriminatory if a female pastor ‘imposed’ it on a male member of the congregation, or if a female member of the congregation demanded it of a male pastor?)

      (And just to be clear, I’d pay *not* to go to that Stronger Men’s conference!)

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        So what are we? Specially perverted? Or particularly pure? Or just as fallen as everyone else?

        “the world has always been Broken. That’s why we need good cops.”
        — Police Chief Bogo, Zootopia

    • “(W)hy is Trump brought into the failings of church leaders, they did it because Trump did?”

      Because they are giving Trump a free pass for things twice as bad as what they demanded Bill Clinton’s head for. Amd because they are doing that for the exact reason they are turning a blind eye to the scandals in their midst – to preserve their power and influence. It’s all of a piece.

      • Bluesurly says:

        True, Eeyore. And many turned a blind eye 20 years ago but, want heads to roll now to preserve their power and influence.

        • Which is the whole point, and why the NT is so ambivalent about worldly power. The moment you play by the world’s rules, you lose from a Kingdom perspective.

        • “There is none righteous”, however there does exist the fact of degrees of bad/evil. Evil must have an intelligence to be evil. Evil is the determination to do that which is harmful to others. Evil is more that mis-management or stupidity, or inexperience. If Christians who cast their vote for the man of the day cannot see evil in their chosen President then the depths of corruption are indeed deep.

          • Dana Ames says:

            Tom, I would agree with your point but modify it a bit: “Evil is the determination to do that which is harmful to others, in delusion believing it to somehow be working for good.” The Greek Fathers discussed this muchly… They thought that evil can’t have an existence on its own; humans “call it into existence” by their motivations and then actions. Even the most despotic of despots have believed that what they were doing would yield what they thought to be “good,” at least for themselves or some delusional ideal they conjured up.

            One of our problems is that we can’t see how our evil is a nothingness, and how humans’ (my/our) evil intentions and actions lead ultimately to death of every sort, especially when it becomes a conglomeration of individuals’ tendency toward destruction into something more corporate but still “formless” (which some refer to as “principalites and powers”). Lord, have mercy!

            Christ is risen!
            Dana

        • john barry says:

          Bluesurly, President Clinton was not convicted when he was impeached. Why? Because most Americans , including the dreaded evangelicals, did not really care enough above his sexual behavior to demand he be thrown out of office for his actions. The Republicans and certain people used it for fund raising and covering up the fact there is the establishment system all from the same cloth. It was truly kabuki theater which is how the one party money establishment stays in power.

          Proof is people knew in 1992 and certainly in 1996 what Clinton moral compass was and he was elected twice. 35 to 40 percent of the dreaded evangelicals voted for the draft dodging, adultery, liar and abuser of position twice. Romney got almost as much as the evangelical and conservative Catholic votes as Trump. The evangelicals are being used as yet another excuse by the terrible candidate with no true accomplishment by the wife of President Clinton which is why she got the nomination in the first place.

          Again, Clinton and the Democrats lost on the issues but the establishment and the mass media will nullify the results of this election. Again the headline, put your favorite bad event in the WAPO headline Blank in the Age of Trump. It is like some of the fake outraged and some who believed that the reason young people were having oral sex was the example of Clinton.

          Most conservatives would not admit that G.W. Bush was a terrible President and that is why President Obama won twice even though Romney got 78 percent of the dreaded evangelical vote overcoming their aversion to his Mormon religion. As the WAPO has promoted since Trump election Democracy Dies in the Dark.

          • Donald Trump is not the embodiment of evil. He is an unfit, incompetent, ill-informed, self-absorbed, corrupt, erratic, and unreliable man who happened to find a political niche when the opportunity arose for him to play the anti-status quo, “anti-Hillary” guy (even though he previously supported the Clintons). He has no political philosophy except what keeps him in the center and popular with the base he relies on. He has been groomed by power-hungry handlers like the Mercers and Roger Stone who believe only in winning at all costs. He does one thing well, and that is to be a celebrity and to keep everyone else off kilter so that he can hog the spotlight. He is a small man, not an evil man. He is Herod, not Caesar. I don’t see how anyone, Christian or not, can find a shred of justification for supporting him as one suitable for his current office.

            Not to put too fine a point on it.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

              Trump always struck me as very full of himself, the kind of Jerk Boss who’s a sucker for flattery.

              And we have a lot of Big Name Celebrity Court Evangelicals giving him that Flattery. Including literally pouring oil on his head and laying on hands to prophesy over God’s Anointed. A lot of Christians in that 81% seem to have accepted Trump as their REAL Personal LORD and Savior and are Defending the Faith. Like taking The Mark in some bad Christian Apocalypic novel/movie:

              “Trump Tweeted It,
              I Believe It,
              THAT SETTLES IT!”

              and/or

              “Every Knee Shall Bow,
              Every Tongue Confess,
              Donald Trump is LORD.”

              80% is the threshold where Groupthink locks in, and that’s the White Evangelical Circus Groupthink.

              I keep phoning my writing partner and asking “Did we go crazy or did everyone else?”

              And he always answers with one of the Desert Fathers:
              “There will come a time when men will go Mad. And they will lay hands on the sane among them, saying ‘You are Not Like Us! You Must Be Mad!'”

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

              He is a small man, not an evil man.

              And to a lot of Culture War Christians, he is a God.
              Why do I keep remembering what The Hulk said to Loki?
              “PUNY GOD…”

            • john barry says:

              Chaplin Mike, do not disagree with much in your description of Trump. However like I have stated many times and I know it is hard to believe Trump won on his stand on the issues important to many Americans. Again, 1. Illegal Aliens, 2. Trade policy and foreign wars 3. National security.

              The majority of Americans outside of California agreed with Trump over H. Clinton on the issues. Many disagree with Trump politically for sure and now there is a new found morality imperative in national politics that leaves the morals issue up to the media, the establishment and the fourth estate who are now the cheerleaders for the removal of Trump. Were the Herods thought by many to be the Great and the Builder ?

              Democracy Dies in The Dark. Our political schism is turning off the lights. Trump policies were found to be more suitable than H. Clinton but I guess that election did not count as he is what you describe, which invalidates the election.

              • John, I don’t believe Trump won on the issues. I think many voted for him because he was the GOP candidate. A lot of others because he wasn’t Hillary. And some who Trump played to about issues that are lost causes — he’s really going to revive the coal industry? Give me a break.

                Trump won the election, fine. I opposed him not because of his thoroughly unlikeable character but because he was completely unqualified for the job. I don’t blame him — he had ambition and saw his chance. I blame the Republicans for ever becoming so insipid and ineffective that they had to put him on the ballot. That’s the political side of it — we foolishly chose a bull to run the china shop, and an inexperienced, unstable one at that!

                But this post is about evangelicals and their support of Herod – the same kind of Herod who put John the Baptist’s head on a platter for criticizing his immortality. Evangelicals have sold any credibility they ever had by blindly supporting this man. They’ve sold their birthright for a bowl of pottage.

                • Patriciamc says:

                  “I blame the Republicans for ever becoming so insipid and ineffective that they had to put him on the ballot.”

                  Yes to everything you said, but that quote sums up why I left the Republican party and became an Independent after Trump won. The people of my former party fell sway to extremists who appealed to their sense of OUTRAGE and played it up more and more. People didn’t stop to realize that the shock jocks and political commentators were being outrageous only for ratings because rating equal dollars. This ever increasing outrageousness fueled the extremism that has gotten us where we are now. The people of my former party ignored the competent and fell for the ludicrous (and quite frankly, many were scared of losing their position of privilege.)

              • “The majority of Americans outside of California agreed with Trump over H. Clinton on the issues.”

                Actually, the raw voting numbers in the 2016 election, and many polls, say otherwise.

                • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                  If you look at the county-by-county breakdown of the election, you will see a very clean Urban-vs-Rural pattern. Blue major cities (mostly on both coasts) in an ocean of Red flyover country.

                  And just last week I heard a TRVTH!!! that Trump actually won the popular vote, but Hillary’s Democrat establishment upped the blue vote through Vote Fraud. (Conspiracy Conspiracy Conspiracy…)

            • Burro (Mule) says:

              An acquaintance of mine, someone who may spring to national prominence if Trump gets to nominate another Supreme Court justice, was speaking about a Democratic Speaker of the Florida House and defending her as a highly-qualified, knowledgeable, legislator.

              I told him in the case of someone with that kind of power, if I disagreed with her, I would prefer that she be an incompetent and ineffective buffoon. The reasons you gave were the reasons I couldn’t vote for Trump in 2016. On the other hand, the hyper-competent Hillary Clinton would have been far worse, in my opinion, in the long run. The woman knew exactly what she was doing, and how to go about it.

              In the meantime, the Trump show continues to burn entertainingly bright, the fuel of representative democracy combusting in the oxygen of progressive outrage.

              • I prefer not to fight Trump, and this comment thread has been hijacked in the direction of focusing on him and the political state of our country. I regret that I’ve contributed to us staying on that bypath.

                The post is really about the trouble the church is in today because it can no longer hide its secrets and because it seems not to care that it has become a laughingstock. Its white evangelical wing’s public support for the Infant in Chief is but one evidence of its weakness, its lack of humility, its abhorrence of repentance and discipline, its willingness to put aside moral wisdom for short-term political gain, and a commitment to Christian nationalism which is more fundamental than its grasp of the gospel.

                • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                  Remember “The Coming Evangelical Collapse”?

                  Well, this is it.

                  • Robert F says:

                    Maybe it’s going to be an explosion instead of a collapse.

                    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                      Evangelicals have sewn themselves to The God Donald like conjoined twins.

                      When Trump rises, they rise with Him.
                      However…
                      When Trump falls, they will fall with Him.

                      What happens to a conjoined twin when his twin dies?

                • Mike, your quote here is right on target.

                  I’m neither surprised nor disappointed by Trump. He’s performing exactly as advertised. My disappointment is with the White American Evangelical Religion, and I’m reminded of Ephesians 6:12, that our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the spiritual forces of evil.

                  Our struggle is not against Trump but against those of us who have put him in office. We’ve sold our souls.

                  • Christiane says:

                    well today Trump tweets a WARNING to the Russians that we are going to attack Syria, although our military people have not yet even decided on which option will be used

                    so Russia is warned and their ally, Syria, says ‘Thank You, Donald, for the heads-up’ and the Syrians are preparing for the attack by moving their weaponry onto Russian bases.

                    Trump knows that ‘forecasting’ what is going to be done was NOT the done-thing, but he serves his Russian masters even now by giving the heads up to the Syrian monster who gasses women and children . . . . a Russian ‘puppet’ also is the monster Assad . . . .

                    So with that Trump ‘warning’ by tweet today, any element of surprise is gone . . . .

                    Aren’t the Trump people even faintly uncomfortable with THIS behavior on Trump’s part?
                    I feel sorry for any of our military people who are going to be affected.

                    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                      Especially when in his equivalent of the State of the Union Message, Tsar Vladimir Putin went with a professionally-produced video of Russia’s new generation of ICBMs making a mass nuclear strike on the USA.

                      Aren’t the Trump people even faintly uncomfortable with THIS behavior on Trump’s part?

                      Rule 1) Trump Can Do No Wrong. (He is LORD! Give Him Praise and Adoration!)
                      Rule 2) See Rule 1.

                      So with that Trump ‘warning’ by tweet today, any element of surprise is gone . . . .

                      Tweeted in his underwear at the very start of the day, while Melania lies in bed gazing at the fifty-carat rock on her finger.

                  • Ted,

                    Not so dire… next election cycle is looming. It is the job of those on the Democratic side to put forth a candidate who hopefully is center left and is focused on the issues and is not a cult of personality. It is the job of the Republicans to put forth a center right candidate who will capture the issues Trump campaigned on and do so with gusto.

                    Funny thing is folks, listening to my liberal acquaintances, they would almost prefer Trump over Mike Pence as he is actually a “real” conservative. Trump is just Trump.

                    Christiane – Trump is using the same Foreign Policy tactic over and over – get the other guy to blink… we will see where it leads….

                    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                      Not so dire… next election cycle is looming. It is the job of those on the Democratic side to put forth a candidate who hopefully is center left and is focused on the issues and is not a cult of personality.

                      They’ll have to get rid of the Clinton Machine completely.

                      Otherwise, no Dem will be permitted to get between Cersei Lannister and the Iron Throne.

                      It is the job of the Republicans to put forth a center right candidate who will capture the issues Trump campaigned on and do so with gusto.

                      At which point, the Christian vote all stays home and sulks.

                      Christiane – Trump is using the same Foreign Policy tactic over and over – get the other guy to blink… we will see where it leads….

                      “THIS IS CHICKEN! I NEVER LOSE AT CHICKEN!”
                      — Alien Nation (the original movie)

    • Failings of church and government have always been since the beginning with man. Jesus died for those failings and the Father was hidden in him. Forgiveness and mercy based on humility exhibited at the cross overcome and the fore mention are based on love. Hardest part is are we able too. Haven’t been for quite awhile. So sick, lost 55 pounds . just started eating whole foods past Friday. Almost died…….OH well…..Peace to all I have nothing left to prove….learning the strength of humility….W

    • To try and lay this at the feet of Trump is both misguided and false. I could name you at least 10-20 senerios which were worse before Trump took office. Where was the progressive outrage trying to lay it at the feet of a Democrat ? This issue has nothing to do with politics but with the exercise of sinful people on others. It has been going on for ever and false outrage at Trump won’t solve a thing. Look into the hearts of people not your false scapegoat for everything that happens. By the way I am a registered Democrat and not pro Trump at all. I really don’t care for him but I won’t blame him for everything from the weather to the sins of sinful persons.

      • I think the point is… When Christians support a guy as blatantly non-Christian as someone like Trump (and I say that by looking at his fruit of the spirit, or lack thereof), claiming he’s some sort of savior, that affects what Christianity is supposed to represent. You can’t question “where was the outrage” in someone else’s camp. This is all about our own Christian camp, and being Christlike and how we believers represent him to the world who needs him. The world doesn’t need Trump, it needs Jesus, but certain evangelicals certainly muddy that distinction, and make us dirty.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Eagle over at Wondering Eagle has a regular troll to whom Trump is literally the Fourth Person of the Trinity.

          Direct quote: “I Give Donald Trump Praise and Adoration.”
          Accompanied with barrages of Bible Bullets.
          And accusations of “Clintonism”. (Same context as “Goldsteinism”.)

          I so want to counter-troll that F’er…

          • This is a dangerous time for you, when you will be tempted by the Dark Side of the Force…

          • Patriciamc says:

            I haven’t been over to Eagle’s blog, so I haven’t seen that, but are you sure that person isn’t being sarcastic? I sure am when I refer to Trump as God Don, the Great Savior of White Conservatism or the Great Savior of Aggrieved White Masculinity.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

              As far as I can tell, this guy’s DEAD SERIOUS.

            • Hmmm. Let’s have a Jeffress quote. (First Baptist church in Dallas)

              “I do think President Trump is a positive role model for children. Specifically, I would be happy for my children (and now, my coming grandchildren) to emulate his work ethic, leadership skills, and patriotism.”

              • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                This the same Jeffress who prophesied how God Hath Chosen His Anointed Donald Trump to lead us in (nuclear) war against Kim Jong-In?

  3. Adam Tauno Williams says:

    In my time as a Church Person (ministry leader, then trustee) I saw both financial conflict-of-interest as well as haphazard and blinkered handling of sexual misconduct. I principally saw all that in the light of West Michigan’s pervasive spirit of Managerialism and their slavish devotion to the Chamber Of Commerce Boys.

    When I pictured The Great Collapse I did not see it happening this way – I anticipated an eventual landslide triggered by inexorable demographic erosion – that so much of The American Church is shot-through with the same degree of cowardice and blithering incompetence I witnessed . . . I thought “Surely, elsewhere does this better than us”. Apparently not.

    Sadness.

    Now I suspect this storm has not even yet reached its apex.

    • People long used to power and influence rarely if ever give it up voluntarily or peacefully.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        Yeah, I know that very well.

        But I did, foolishly apparently, hope that an ordained [trained?] minister would be better at understanding the hazards of power than either the bully at the Neighborhood Association or the smug fat white guy at the country club.

        Years ago I began to wonder. Seminaries need to focus a LOT more attention on Organizational Behavior and Ethics than they do. But they didn’t, and I doubt they will. And the storm rolls on…

      • john barry says:

        Eyeore, every two years in Merkia as some humorously call it there is a peaceful change to those who have elected power and influence via an election. Until this election of President Trump the results of a national election were accepted and while there was fierce political opposition nothing like what is happening now in The Age of Trump. Mocking, personal attacks, disrespect, no reporting on accomplishments by the mass media and partisan opposition by the fourth estate and refusal by the defeated candidate to address the reason for her defeat is a major threat to the nation.

        When Trump is impeached and if he is convicted the end of faith in our electoral system will be lost by at least 45 percent of the voters. The establishment powers have no regard for the good of the country but only for the good of the power establishment entrenched in D.C.

        Again, many here will not accept the fact that Trump won on the issues. People held their nose or whatever they did because they agreed with secular, crass Trump on the issues. Trump was the only Republican that could defeat H. Clinton. The FBI and other deep state had no idea Trump could actually win. Now the legal system is being used for political purpose, it does not bode well.

        Do not worry the influence and voice Christianity has historically had is coming to an end. If one believes that will lead to a better world than if you are young enough you will see if that happens.

        • “Until this election of President Trump the results of a national election were accepted and while there was fierce political opposition nothing like what is happening now in The Age of Trump.”

          Dude, I listened to Rush Limbaugh in the 90s during the Clinton admin. What’s going on now is a direct descendant of that. What’s going on now has been coming down the tracks for a long long time.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            With Entropy setting in to increase the extremism and fanaticism with each generation.

            Examples: Billy & Frankin Graham or Jerry Falwell and Junior; note the descent into extremism and fanaticism in the son compared to the father. Like how North Korea’s Kim Dynasty gets fatter, softer, and pudgier with each generation.

            Example: Rush Limbaugh himself. When he first hit the big time in the Nineties, the guy had a sense of humor (“get flushed by Rush!”) and approached Conservatism as Theater. By the 2010’s he had lost whatever sense of humor he had; all that remained was the constant, intense, sleepless, unsmiling concentration on The Cause. Like Elron Hubbard and Anton LaVey, he had listened to and believed his own PR to where (llike the Tragedian from The Great Divorce) the mask had become his face.

            • Robert F says:

              By the 2010s what had formerly been mostly political theater became political reality. With Trump it has ascended to total political dominance, along with conspiracy theory and ad hominem attack as primary colors on the political tactics palette.

            • HUG, perfect description of Rush L. I was an avid listener in the 90’s. The show steadily lost it’s snappy humor.

          • jhn barry says:

            Eeyore, Rush L. is a paid, commercial pitching conservative commenter who has influence but no power other than persuasion. He is not accountable to anyone but his sponsors and the public who can or cannot listen to him. He is entertaining and he is what he is. He is one of the reasons the Democrats want to return to the fairness doctrine. He sure gets quoted a lot by the establishment and used as the straw man a lot.

            I assume you are referring to his statement something along the lines that the Republicans job is make sure that Clintons/ Obama’s agenda is stopped and they should oppose him politically. That is the essence of our checks and balances government and I think even Mitch the Turtle McConnell said something along that line.

            There is a large cottage industry of resistance and a clear attempt to invalid the election of Trump. This is on a scale that is historic and unprecedented . It will change the landscape of our orderly transfer of political power forever if Trump is removed for political reasons.

            • His influence and persuasion helped to “mainstream” conspiracy theory driven politics on the right. He inspired a host of imitators who have amplified and extended that mentality. Don’t underestimate the role he played.

              • Robert F says:

                He had tremendous influence. His mantle was passed on to Sean Hannity, who has outdone him by acquiring more influence in the White House, and in the political landscape of this country, than any political Theater of the Absurd commentator has ever had before.

        • “Again, many here will not accept the fact that Trump won on the issues.”

          I don’t accept that, in fact. I accept that that’s why you may have voted for him, John, but I don’t think that’s true of the majority.

          And my disapproval of Trump is not based on the issues either. I just think it is the ultimate in foolishness to elect a bull to run the china shop.

          • I know at least two people personally who voted for him in the hope that he would collapse the federal government.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

              Anyone encountered anyone who voted for him in the hope he would start a nuclear war and bring about Armageddon in fulfillment of End Time Prophecy?

            • Rick Ro. says:

              +1. Three times a week I talk with a pro-Trump friend who practically jumps for joy whenever Trump does something against the current system of federal government. He says he doesn’t hope for a civil war, but that “desire” is clearly there.

              • Radagast says:

                Rick,

                The whole civil war commentary can apply to both sides of the aisle. Trump, in my mind was the great experiment, electing someone who had no political experience simply on the people’s perception of him. I believe the experiment is a failure but I don’t consider him evil. I think it may be in some ways that he is the right personality for this particular time, but I also believe he is doing long term damage by how he treats the office, his lack of ethical code, and the response generated by media which is also very disrespectful to the office. I believe we have now crossed a line that we won’t be able to come back from.

                We have opened the door to making it possible for those with no experience but lots of charisma or cult of personality to step into the role. And we have lowered the civil discourse between those of differing opinions. But we didn’t get here overnight….

                • john barry says:

                  Radagast, good points. The only thing I would add and again I will say it over and over, Trump won on the issues, period. Not his style, which is terrible, not his public speaking which is terrible, not his deep understanding of policy issues, which is terrible, not his personal morality , which is terrible in my opinion and not for a well managed campaign.

                  Trump won on the issues in spite of what I described above Trump won , Why? Issues.

                  Why so many just deny it shows the denial of flawed establishment policy failures and the power of the powerful establishment.

                  Sorry, I am becoming a broken record but that is the crux of the issue

                  • Actually JohnB, based on my interactions with Tweetster supporters I would assert he won for all the reasons you say he didn’t…

                    • Robert F says:

                      You interact with them, Tom? I’ll say special prayers for your protection; I monitor them without interacting, and many of them are vile.

                    • “Interact” = mostly listening, and occasionally questioning apparent factual inconsistencies which is what most are incapable of dealing with because “facts” don’t square with what they garner from Fox news…

                      Thanks for the prayers.

                  • John, I get your point, but I fear you’ve missed mine, probably because I’ve over-cooked my critique. So here it is, as simply as I can put it.

                    One does not elect “positions.”

                    One elects people who say they hold certain positions.

                    Even if I agree with the positions, if I don’t have confidence that the person is competent, I cannot support him/her.

                    Hence, I have never been able to support DT. I do not believe he is competent to do the job.

                • Agree with you, Radagast. One of worst aspects of current Commander in Chief is how in-Presidential he is. Civil discourse is close to non-existent, yes. I hope the Office recovers with the next Prez, but that depends on who the other party props up against him. Hopefully it’s not a wild pendulum over-reaction.

              • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                Three times a week I talk with a pro-Trump friend who practically jumps for joy whenever Trump does something against the current system of federal government. He says he doesn’t hope for a civil war, but that “desire” is clearly there.

                And like an End Time Prophecy type living just before The Rapture he finds it all Very Exciting?

                To me, this brings back flashbacks of Cold War Intellectual pontifications about how “In The Coming Inevitable Nuclear Exchange There Will Be NO Survivors”; delivered with detached Intellectual Exercise calm (“Only a three-point-seven Gigadeath Situation”), but with an undercurrent of genteel glee.

          • john barry says:

            Chaplin Mike, I would just say this, Trump will lose his base for sure if he does #1 not build he wall or stop illegal aliens pouring into the country # 2 If he does redo NAFTA, CAFTA and keep the USA out of TPP #3 National security He gets the USA engaged in another stupid war in the middle east trying to nation build. 4. Does not support religious freedom and free speech.

            That is why the establishment and deep state are trying to stop Trump as it is their bubble that would be burst. Trump can go to rallies, he can twit, he can call in to Fox but if he caves in on the 3 main issues he will lose not on his morality, conduct, intellect or whatever but the issues.

            No one can save the American coal industry for domestic consumption but it is a holding action until we can export coal mainly to India. Again the big 3 issues above are the core of Trumps base support.

            • Robert F says:

              There is no deep state in the U.S. That is a piece of radical right conspiracy-mongering, like the POTUS’s assertion that President Obama is a not a natural-born U.S. citizen. It is unworthy of intellectual respect.

            • The “deep state” can’t even pass s budget on time.

              • john barry says:

                Eeyore, because the one party of money does not want to pass a budget on time or ever. Better for them with a Continuing Resolution or Omnibus Bill. Part of the show to fool us Trump voters.

                • Robert F says:

                  And you Trump voters are so smart that you outsmarted The All-Knowing, All-Powerful, All-Controlling Deep State? Please!!! Methinks you overestimate yourselves, and that you were merely had by a world-class conman. Wake up and smell the coffee, and get over yourselves!

                  • john barry says:

                    Robert F. No, Trump voters are so stupid they n ever thought the deep state and establishment would not have the nerve to nullify a lawful election, the deep state and the media thought for sure that the election was in the bag. They took their foot off the gas pedal and coasted to the finish line. The entire deep state scrambled after the election to cover their tracks.

                    Do not worry, this will be the last time a non establishment candidate will win. The establishment has worked hard and is working hard to insure they regain and maintain control. They may have an R or they may have a D but they will be from the same party.

                    • I wonder why The Deep State in the form of James Comey’s unprecedented press conference scuttled Hillary Clinton so effectively? Must be part of a master plan that only Those In The Know in The Deepest Part of The Deep State know, huh? I mean, there’s Deep and then there’s Deep, and it’s getting pretty deep now, so I think I’ll have to excuse myself and go put my waders on.

                    • jb, What you are witnessing is not the activity of The Deep State, but the random political patternings of chaos projected against the void. It’s like the Do Long bridge.

                    • Robert F… love that movie….

                    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                      Came across “The Deep State” last night on a YouTube video about the videomaker’s dead grandmother (video of her in her coffin before cremation). Guy claimed she’d been murdered by The Deep State when he complained about her treatment and that ALL Landlords are Agents of The Deep State.

                    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                      P.S. The Dwarfs are for The Dwarfs, and Won’t Be Taken In.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

              “Deep State(TM)” is a buzzword of the latest Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory.

              You hear it all the time on Coast to Coast AM (All Conspiracy, All The Time).

              And Evangelicals are very prone to Conspiracy Theories:
              http://www.acts17-11.com/conspire.html

          • Heather Angus says:

            I think Trump offered the angry white Americans a place at the table, for the first time in a long time. For dozens of years the globalists, elites, coastals — whatever you want to call them — have been dominant over the government and the media, and have spent a good deal of time sneering and snickering at the dumb, racist, sexist hillbillies in flyover country.

            Meantime, the Midwestern manufacturing disappeared, sent off to third world countries where desperate people are willing to work for $2 a day.

            After awhile, the steady drip of contempt plus the eradication of jobs (quite gleefully) by the globalists was bound to add up.

            I’d rather chew ground glass than vote for Trump, but I do understand where my Ohio neighbors are coming from. What choices were they offered?

            • There is no choice. The ugly truth is that that old world of white dominated high-paying blue class jobs and cheap housing/cars/health care was unsustainable in the long run. And it’s NEVER coming back. But that harsh truth will win you no votes.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

              After awhile, the steady drip of contempt plus the eradication of jobs (quite gleefully) by the globalists was bound to add up.

              The resentment kept building up until it hit critical mass.

              “And Tommy ain’t a bloody fool — you bet that Tommy sees!”

              What choices were they offered?

              In November 2016?
              Cersei Lannister or Benito Mussolini.

            • Mark Shields hit the nail on the head in his analysis after the election (a little late like most pundits). He said Trump won because the traditional Democratic base feels like the party abandoned them. In the 1960s into the 1980s, the Democratic party was the party of the working man, with strong union support. Since then it has become the party of the oppressed minority (for better or worse, justified or not), and often funded by the same corporate dollars that fund Republicans. Shields said the Democrats have become the party of social elites lecturing us on ethics, morals, and values. The exact words Shields used were (to the best of my recollection): They went from being the party of the AFL-CIO to the party of the LGBTQ.

              Evangelicals see the Democratic party that way so they vote for what they consider the lesser of two evils, or the party that promises to promote their values (not seeming to grasp that Jesus had a lot more to say about poverty and social justice than he did about sexual ethics).

              Unfortunately the Republicans have never been the party of the common man (and the current president certainly is not) and the Democrats seem to be swinging farther to the left. Where is a middle-of-the-road conservative with a social conscience supposed to go?

              • Radagast says:

                Agreed.

              • Heather Angus says:

                I read a book by Charles Sykes, apparently a long-time moderate conservative. The book is How the Right Lost Its Mind. A lot of it made sense.

              • Patriciamc says:

                “Where is a middle-of-the-road conservative with a social conscience supposed to go?”

                Exactly. The Republicans are on one hand, controlled by and work for the interests of big business, and on the other hand, have fallen off the cliff and landed squarely in extremist wackadoodle land. Right now, the Democrats have a golden opportunity to get more and more voters, but only if they pull back towards the middle and away from their own cliff. Oh, and they were idiots for letting the Clintons control the party, but I think that is finally over.

                • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                  After the 2008 elections, it was said of Obama that he’d already performed a major service to the country by “derailing the Clinton Machine for four to eight years”.

              • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                He said Trump won because the traditional Democratic base feels like the party abandoned them. In the 1960s into the 1980s, the Democratic party was the party of the working man, with strong union support.

                Bill Clinton kept warning Hillary that they were losing the party’s historical base to Trump, but she (and her Best and Brightest young cyber-consultants) wouldn’t listen.

                Even I would listen to Bill Clinton if the subject was political campaign strategy and operations. It’s one thing the man is really skilled at.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      When I pictured The Great Collapse I did not see it happening this way – I anticipated an eventual landslide triggered by inexorable demographic erosion…

      A Whimper instead of a BANG?

  4. When I filter out all the argy-bargy about immigration, economics, Fundy fear mongering about God’s Chosen Nation™ going to hell because of loss of school prayer and abortion, and all the other side circuses–what I see is that in our national elections people often think they have to “vote for the lesser of two evils”. We’ve been snookered by our two party system. Instead of voting with our brains and our conscience we’ve been manipulated into voting out of our worst fears. IMO, when it’s all said and done, I think that is an essential reason why 80% of the Evangelical Circus and conservative RC’s voted for Tweetster–FEAR. There also exist a palpable fear of actually living into the kind of kingdom that Jesus spoke of and died for.

    Give us instead some governance by self-declared atheist who have a clear image of human decency…

    • “There also exists a palpable fear of actually living into the kind of kingdom that Jesus spoke of and died for.”

      If one takes the Sermon on the Mount anywhere near literally, the *only* proper response can be, “who then can be saved?”

      • None of us are “saved” because of our virtue. It is all of Grace/Mercy. That is why we’re told to “love one another even as Christ loves you.”

        • An important but notable difference from the OT from a God who is the same yesterday today and forever.

          Maybe not so different in Evangelicalism.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > our worst fears.

      Fear makes people stupid.

    • “vote for the lesser of two evils”

      Well they got that horribly, horribly, horribly wrong.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        In 2016 each major party succeeded in nominating their WORST Possible Candidate.
        * With the Dems, it was “Triumph of the (Clinton Machine) Will”.
        * With the GOP, it was “II’M MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT OGING TO TAKE IT ANY MORE! STICK IT TO ‘EM! STICK IT TO ‘EM!” hitting Critical Mass.
        Dueling Egos all the way.

        Any Dem other than Hillary would have beaten Trump by a Landslide.
        Any Rep other than Trump would have beaten Hillary by a Landslide.

      • The fatal flaw in One Issue Voting. If faced with a choice between a stable person who’s pro-choice and a madman who’s pro-life, some folks WILL vote for the madman.

        And did.

        • john barry says:

          Eeyore, How about the 3 issues I have mentioned today at least twice, #1 Illegal Aliens, aka the wall # 2 Trade policies # 3 National defense #4 Economy #5 Johnson Amendment # 6 Obama Care removal # Stopping abortion funds going to UN #8 Taxes and taxes were not a big issue.9. Paris accord

          So again Trump whatever he is won on the issues. Trump did not the power and will of the establishment and now feels their wrath.

          Do you really think the dreaded evangelicals voted for Trump on one issue?

          • Like CM said, you may be the exception. You and I have gone over those three issues before, and that’s tangential to the OP anyways. Most folks I know who voted for Trump were either “Satan would be better than Hillary” or “We only vote pro life”.

            We need to face up to what American evangelicalism IS, not what we’d like it to be.

            • Robert F says:

              Yes, someone very close to me, whom I love and respect, voted for Trump because of majoring in pro-life, with a minor in Hillary loathing.

              • john barry says:

                Eyeyore, Robert F. So your anecdotal observations based on people you know overrides the various polls and evidence on why people voted for Trump. Trump would have beat any one of the other candidates Jill , Stein, B. Sanders because of the issues. Joe Biden might have won over Trump as he likeable and safe.

                That is like my KFC right wing friends who think a lot of people voted for H. Clinton only because she was a woman. What issues did the majority of Americans agree with H. Clinton on?

                Nothing is like I want it to be including me .

                • Robert F says:

                  Could you give us sources for your assertions?

                  And, if I’m not mistaken, aren’t polls fake, according to the POTUS and his base? mere manipulations of the corrupt Main Stream Media and the phony experts?

                  • john barry says:

                    Robert F. I guess we are better going with anecdotal observations based on people we know. . Plead refer to my 5.57 pm comment to CM about the Trump base.

                    I pray to Trump I am right, {just kidding}. Trump is just a demi god. He is only worshiped during happy hour.

                    • Robert F says:

                      I break with those who believe that Trump’s base is monolithic. There are at least two major groups: the one I’m most familiar with is the one that despised Hillary as a kind of Satan, but more importantly holds pro-life/traditional sexuality lifestyle politics above all other issues, and will vote on the basis of it. This single-issue concern of there’s, because it is a multifaceted one involving not just abortion but LGBTQ rights and other related matters, overlaps with what is often called the Culture Wars.

                  • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                    And, if I’m not mistaken, aren’t polls fake, according to the POTUS and his base? mere manipulations of the corrupt Main Stream Media and the phony experts?

                    Don’t forget The Deep State(TM).

                    (And why do I keep thinking that 80 years ago instead of The Deep State(TM) it would have been The Jews(TM)?)

                    • Robert F says:

                      Well, some conflate The Deep State with The Jews. A contingent of very active Alt-Righters still underwrite the idea that Jews are behind most of what’s evil in the world; you will find the Holocaust revisionists among them. They’re all over Twitter.

                    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                      “They’re all over Twitter.”

                      Why do you think they call them TWITS?

              • Radagast says:

                Robert,

                I have to go with John Barry on this one. There is a segment of the population that voted because of the issues you raised. But what put Trump over the top were the other issues that a lot of folks throughout the country felt were being ignored. The Democrats became the representatives of niche issues that many in America felt were not priority one.

                Shame on the Republicans for not being able to put up another strong candidate that could articulate those ideas. Trump was brash enough to be eligible for a good thrashing yet no one candidate was able to make it happen.

                • –> “Shame on the Republicans for not being able to put up another strong candidate that could articulate those ideas.”

                  Bingo. I found it increasingly “train wreck-incredible” each and every primary that Trump won.

                  Shame on the Democrats for not being able to put up a strong candidate to BEAT Trump. I mean, really… losing to Trump says loads about his opponent, too.

                  • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                    But nothing and nobody could be allowed to get between Cersei Lannister and the Iron Throne.

                    • Lol. True, so true. The crown was already snuggly on her head when… “What the–?”

                    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                      Remember her 2008 outburst (carefully scrubbed from all media) when Obama cinched the nomination?

                  • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                    Bingo. I found it increasingly “train wreck-incredible” each and every primary that Trump won.

                    Because every other candidate sounded like every word out of their mouth was written in advance by attorneys and spinmeisters, vetted through focus groups and polls, and rewordgitated off a teleprompter.

                    in contrast, both Trump and Sanders came across as Plain, Direct, and Blunt. (Though Trump was a lot more blunt to the point of crude.) And that counted for a LOT.

          • “Do you really think the dreaded evangelicals voted for Trump on one issue?”

            Many that I have talked with DID. If I had a quarter for every time I’ve heard, “At least he’s not a baby killer like Killery…”

          • Your issues all factor in but for the hard core evangelical voters I get to interact with it all came down to “a Clinton win would destroy the county.” But the kicker was to make it normal to elect DT they also now talk about he is God’s choice to lead our country into a moral new future were America is running the world again.

            There is no conversation with them. At all. And some are relatives. I thought most of the talk about families splitting up was fringe. No longer. The vile comments made by some of my extended family towards those are are not pure DT followers (and “committed Christians) is splitting up extended families. Fact are not allowed in these conversations. Either they are “lies” or just “pat you poor thing on the head as you really don’t understand”.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

              Your issues all factor in but for the hard core evangelical voters I get to interact with it all came down to “a Clinton win would destroy the county.”

              Like I said above, both parties ended up nominating their WORST Possible Candidate.

              There is no conversation with them. At all. And some are relatives. I thought most of the talk about families splitting up was fringe. No longer. The vile comments made by some of my extended family towards those are are not pure DT followers (and “committed Christians) is splitting up extended families.

              Two words: TRUE BELIEVERS.

              Fact are not allowed in these conversations. Either they are “lies” or just “pat you poor thing on the head as you really don’t understand”.

              Know where I encountered this before, Word for Word?
              Social Justice Activists in the Reagan years, delivered to someone who had escaped from Comrade Fidel’s Perfect Paradise.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      When I filter out all the argy-bargy about immigration, economics, Fundy fear mongering about God’s Chosen Nation™ going to hell because of loss of school prayer and abortion…

      Don’t forget the Third Person of the New Trinity: “HOMOSEXUALITY! HOMOSEXUALITY! HOMOSEXUALITY!”

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        Yes, that list is notably absent two key ingredients: abortion [aka pro-life-until-born] and homophobia.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Problem is, Christian Leaders(TM) are SO Predictable.

          You’d think if they had a direct line to God, God would do something original and surprising once in a while.

          • Since their view of God mirrors their agenda, that would require them to be original and surprisimg.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

              That Rabbi from Nazareth pulled it off — always doing the unexpected.

              Even his parables had more 180 twist endings than a Shymalan movie marathon.

    • The two party system stinks, yes. Choices are limited. Coke or Pepsi?

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Cersei Lannister or Benito Mussolini?

      • Robert F says:

        The only thing worse than the two party system is the one party system, and when one party dominates all three branches of our government, we are closer than is good to a one party system.

        • Which is what happens when you remove campaign finance limits and declare wealthy corporations “persons” with free speech rights.

          “unless you’re over 60, you weren’t promised flying cars. You were promised an oppressive cyberpunk dystopia. Here you go.” – Kyle Marquis

          • Robert F says:

            I was promised Blade Runner. We are quickly acquiring the poisoned atmosphere and environment, but where are the flying cars?

            • Burro (Mule) says:

              The same place the pretty young Japanese women went, disappearing over the event horizon of a mistaken extrapolation.

              • Truth be told, I want flying cars even less than I want driverless cars. I would, however, like to make my way to the event horizon, if it’s somewhere over the rainbow.

          • Exactly Eeyore.

        • john barry says:

          Robert F. and Eeyore, You are right , Trump is the President but the one party that controls House and Senate and media is the party on money, the establishment. The establishment is one big party playing a pretend game but Paul Ryan would rather see HRC as President than Trump then they could pretend to different.

          So are you talking about H. Clinton campaign who spent nearly twice the amount of Trump? HRC spent a staggering 768 million dollars and lost. Trump spent $398 million dollars and won but the evangelicals voted for free , so it is okay.

      • My wife, when we got married, thought of them as the same. I’ve taught her well. She now understands. GDRFC

  5. I won’t be sad to see Evangelicalism lose it’s exalted place in politics. It’s time for it to go. In fact, it’s time for “Christian America” to go. Maybe as a minority religion we can find our voice again.

    The history of the Christian Church parallels the history of the world. Power corrupts. (and absolute power corrupts absolutely – sorry, I couldn’t leave it unfinished). As Christians we should be even more aware of this. I’m not crazy about the Billy Graham Rule, but certainly, some people have done some dumb things and left themselves open to temptation. (Bill Hybels invited women to his hotel room alone – that’s downright stupid!)

    Thank God for grace. And hang on for the ride. This isn’t going to get better anytime soon, I’m afraid.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > (and absolute power corrupts absolutely – sorry, I couldn’t leave it unfinished)

      But even that is a misquote. It is that power *tends* to corrupt, and absolute power *tends* to corrupt absolutely. That is why there are so few good men.

      The statement is not as absolute as people often quote it. Because there are good men, people with power do make responsible and wise choices – otherwise your lights would not be on. Making this statement absolute burns civilization to the ground.

      • True, it is not an absolute. But it’s damn close enough for government work (pun intended).

    • The Evangelical Mullahs had their day and ruled this country long enough.

      I’m seeing a lot of parallels between pre-1979 Iran and what’s currently happening in American Christianity.

      Wonder what will be left.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        A Third-World Failed State?

      • john barry says:

        StuartB , Just have to ask, what about post 1979 Iran, do you think the Iranians and world is better off post 1979? What is the connection between “American” Christianity and pre 1979 Iran, that was for a Muslim country fairly tolerant and secular. thanks for your reply.

        • In simplistic terms, the world is always better off the more liberal it is and the less fundamentalist it is.

          • john barry says:

            StuartB well that is certainly very simple. So you think post 1979 is more liberal than pre 1979 Iran?

            • Robert F says:

              jb, I think StuartB is saying that what he sees in the American landscape right now looks similar to the sort of retrogressive religious revolutionary atmosphere that existed right before Iran had its Islamic revolution in 1979. If that’s what he’s saying, I agree, only I see it more in some regions of the U.S. than others. There are lots of people in the South and center of the country (in rural areas) who would like Christianity to be the officially preferred religion of the U.S., and who would like some religions, such as Islam, to be either outlawed outright, or closely restricted.

              • And, they KNOW they are right. And they know the cultural and demographic tides are against them.

                As far as they are concerned, it’s now or never.

                • Robert F says:

                  Add all the weaponry that has been stockpiled under cover of 2nd Amendment absolutism by the folks we are talking about, and you have the ingredients for a reactionary revolution.

                  • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                    All it might take is one Twitterstorm…

                    • Robert F says:

                      I don’t think he knows that he has that power. If he ever finds out, look out….

                    • Sorry folks… I think we are stretching it here a bit….

                      There is a lot of common sense that still prevails out there so I won’t jump on that band wagon.

                      Additionally, all those things that this site accuses Evangelism of, controlling ways, pseudo-mind control etc… exists as well in religions like Islam so I don’t think we need to paint the rosy picture there. Keep in mind, just as there are cultural Catholics, there are also cultural Evangelicals, in name only….

                    • Robert F says:

                      You are probably right, Radagast. The echoes come back intensified at times, and I find myself listening to the multitude of voices amplifying my own fears and layering them over with the fears of others. The fear of armed reactionary uprising is probably as unjustified on one side as belief in the deep state is on the other…..I hope.

                    • Robert F says:

                      But I’m not sure, I’m not sure. I think there are people prepared to take up weapons, if our president told them to do so over his Twitter account. And I believe he could become unhinged enough to do so. How many people? Enough for significant violence in the streets, if not a civil war. I hope I’m wrong.

                    • Never ever say “It can’t happen here”. From a sociological and historical perspective, all the pieces are present for it.

                    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                      But I’m not sure, I’m not sure. I think there are people prepared to take up weapons, if our president told them to do so over his Twitter account. And I believe he could become unhinged enough to do so.

                      “Trump Tweeted It,
                      I Believe It,
                      THAT SETTLES IT!”

                      And I’ve heard speculation as to whether this could also happen If Trump is defeated in the 2020 elections. The guy IS the type to be a Sore Loser.

                      Remember the Congressional gridlock a couple years ago? Who do you think was calling the loudest for a military coup? (Hint: it was from their pulpits.)

              • +1

                Anti-Intellectualism…WILLFUL anti-intellectualism, stubbornness, and just sheer assholery is alive and well and now thriving.

                • Robert F says:

                  Led by a blatantly anti-intellectual asshole proud of his ignorance and assholery.

                  • “Led by a blatantly anti-intellectual asshole proud of his ignorance and assholery.”

                    HUG, if you read this, how about a D&D-like RPG simulating Politics! Think of the character traits!

                    Intelligence – 4
                    Wisdom – 5
                    Charisma – 8
                    Assholery – 18
                    Ego – 18 (narcissism)
                    Passive/Aggressivenss – 18

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      The history of the Christian Church parallels the history of the world. Power corrupts. (and absolute power corrupts absolutely – sorry, I couldn’t leave it unfinished).

      I prefer the Frank Herbert Corollary:
      “Power attracts the already-corrupt and the easily-corrupted.”

    • Patriciamc says:

      “Christian America” That says it all. I think that when Christianity became the dominant religion here and in other countries, it became, well, a religion as opposed to a sincere movement aiming to spread the kingdom of God. It went from serving Christ to the Inquisition. In this county, it became about comfort, privilege, power, and appearance. It didn’t matter what was going on inside a person as long as he or she had the appearance of holiness, oh, and the goal was to out-holy one another. I call it scoring a touchdown in the Holy Roller Bowl. I was reminded about this then other day when a study came out that a large majority of evangelicals really don’t know the Bible well. But I’m sure they know the books by the popular Christian authors, but that’s another rant for another day.

  6. The Church at Corinth – a moral disaster, and it wasn’t very old.

    My belief, there is no more corruption now in church leadership then there was in the days of the Apostles because leadership has never been anything other than sinful man.

    Ego, power trips, control issues – there is nothing new under the son [ See Sampson for the classic Narcissistic Personality D.O. And yet he’s listed with the heroes in Hebrews. ].

    Of course, if your agenda is simply to blast conservative Evangelicals – let’s make this the Worst Era Ever because of people like John Piper, Al Mohler, Russ Moore, Mark Dever, Johnny Mac, James Dobson, R.C. Sproul – none of which are even accused of indecent glances at women to say nothing of pursing young lads.

    Frankly, I think those guys should be emulated by Christian leaders until they prove, by their behaviors, that they are not to be trusted.

    Yet it appears, the post evangelicals really despise those men.

    There is definitely a cognitive dissonance here.

    • But aren’t you forgetting something? The Church claims to be connected with the Almighty in a way that, say, the Elks Club does not. Or is the Church the same as the Elks Club? You can’t claim to be special then then hide behind “we’re just like everybody else” when you get caught. If you claim to be just like everybody else long enough you shouldn’t be shocked when everybody starts believing you.

      I don’t despise any of those August Pillars you listed. (I am not spiritually mature enough to despise someone I don’t know personally.) I just think they are theologically confused and their confusion causes them, to promulgate many dangerous and destructive ideas.

      • Ronald Avra says:

        Agree, Stephen.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        But aren’t you forgetting something? The Church claims to be connected with the Almighty in a way that, say, the Elks Club does not.

        The Cosmic-level Justification of a Direct Line to GAWD.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        > You can’t claim to be special then then hide behind
        > “we’re just like everybody else” when you get caught.

        +1,000

        You is, or you ain’t. Choose ONE.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Of course, if your agenda is simply to blast conservative Evangelicals – let’s make this the Worst Era Ever because of people like John Piper, Al Mohler, Russ Moore, Mark Dever, Johnny Mac, James Dobson, R.C. Sproul – none of which are even accused of indecent glances at women to say nothing of pursing young lads.

      i.e. Pelvic Issues and Pelvic Issues Alone.

      Yes, there is a cognitive dissonance there.
      Just not in the way you think.

    • Uh, Seneca, please note that this is not a post pointing fingers at conservative evangelicals. Did you notice the wide variety of traditions in trouble that are mentioned?

    • What about Mark Dever giving sanctuary to C J Mahaney after the sexual abuse cover-up at Sovereign Grace blew up in his face?

      Might want to go over that list again…

    • Actually, I’d take Russel Moore out of that list…he had the guts–until his job was threatened–to criticize Christian™ support of The Don.

    • Christiane says:

      Seneca,

      Dobson has written about beating his little dog with a belt. I’m sorry, but some things a human person can’t do without losing cred and beating a little dog with a belt, because you are bigger and can, is one of those things.

      If he can do that and brag about it, is entirely possible there are other things he is doing that he is hiding and they are much worse (although to me, hurting a helpless animal seems pretty low itself)

      Thing is, Dobson seemed proud of his actions. He wants people to know what he is. So if they accept him and follow him, they will carry the knowledge of who he is openly also . . . . you wonder, about the followers of bullies, are they of the same ilk or worse? I mean if your number one go-to theologian is a beater of little pups, does that make it ‘okay’ to do the same thing? I don’t get it.

      Don’t get me started on Dobson writing about the ‘discipline’ of small children . . . . dear God, too much already

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Thing is, Dobson seemed proud of his actions. He wants people to know what he is.

        God’s Infallible Anointed?

        . . you wonder, about the followers of bullies, are they of the same ilk or worse? I mean if your number one go-to theologian is a beater of little pups, does that make it ‘okay’ to do the same thing? I don’t get it.

        This reminds me of a phone conversation re how a Groupthink Lockin threshold of Christians took the Mark of The Trump. The idea that came of it was that Trump acts a lot like the Christian Leaders/Apostles/Prophets that make the news her on the blogs and conditioned their Mega/Giga-followers that this was the Sign of God’s Anointing. So when Trump comes along and acts even more like these Godly Leaders, well, he must be even more Anointed!

        The exact words were “If you liked Mark Driscoll, you’ll LOVE Donald Trump.”

        Like the story of the kid raised in a Holiness church environment who went Mormon because “Mormons don’t drink or smoke”, i.e. they practiced the Holiness tribal recognition markings even more than his Holiness church.

  7. I watch the evangelical circus from an increasingly distant vantage point, and I don’t regret doing so. It’s far more peaceful out here.

    The damage the evangelicals inflict on their own system doesn’t overly worry me; I won’t be bothered greatly if it collapses.. I do worry about the innocent victims caught up in the system and hurt by it, and I worry that the circus, although in reality hardly Christian in anything other than name, is the face Christianity for many and thus is largely ruining any Christian witness for a generation.

  8. senecagriggs says:

    God always has His remnant. The “Evangelical Church ” will not collapse, though it may change it’s name.

    People who take Scripture quite literally will never cease to exist. However, the culture appears to change daily from my perspective.

    • You’re right, anti-intellectualism will always be around.

      But many grow in wisdom and learning.

  9. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    Meanwhile, this is some people’s idea of what we need to make us “strong” in these tumultuous days.

    Monster trucks, submachine guns, Special Forces commando raids, Metalocalypse/Dethklok pyrotechnics, “demon drumming”…

    All that’s missing are the pole dancers and gladiatorial combats.

    • ‘All that’s missing are the pole dancers and gladiatorial combats.’

      That reminds me of a post I saw on my wife’s facebook from one of her Reformed, ‘full quiver’ Christian friends. It was about a ‘Christian pole-dancing’ class. My first thought was, ‘what’s the point?’ Fully-clothed and probably quoting Scripture while dancing around a pole? 🙂

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        My first thought was, ‘what’s the point?’ Fully-clothed and probably quoting Scripture while dancing around a pole? ?

        IT WOULD NOT SURPRISE ME.
        (In Denim Jumpers… and Looooong Waaaaavy Haaaaaair….)

        • Christiane says:

          wait, wait, wait

          when I hear ‘pole dancers’ I think about skimpily-dressed dancers clinging and climbing a pole on a stage surrounded by leering drunks

          But there are OTHER ‘pole dancers’ in northern Europe who celebrate Midsummer by erecting a ‘maypole’ covered with ribbons and flowers and everyone dances around this (formerly pagan) symbol of the celebration of the coming of warmth and sunshine after a long winter . . . .

          the UK has these celebrations, as well as Scandinavia . . . I know they have them in Sweden, and they are joyful and community-centered and not at all similar to the pole-dancing ladies of the night, no.

          Christian Pole-dancing? Good Grief! I don’t even want to think about this. Give me a good-old fashioned pagan-rooted celebration of the Sun in a Swedish village at Midsummer and I can join them in spirit. 🙂

    • There’s probably a little bait-and-switch here as well. I live in a city where this is being held (sponsored by James River Assembly, a former AG church that runs several thousand a week in attendance). None of the billboards around town (that I have seen) say anything about it being a church event. It’s held at an arena at the university and billed as a ‘men’s event’ with motivational speakers. I assume anyone who plans to go will see what it is when they register, but you might get invited by a friend and not know. Just part of the circus pitch.

    • Rick Ro. says:

      Just watched the video. I really, really want to believe that was satire, but sadly I think I’m mistaken.

    • “WITNESS (TO) ME!!!”

  10. senecagriggs says:

    But as C.M. points out, the circus continues, and always will until the Lord’s return.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      So we should just just sit down, fold our hands, piously intone “and always will until the Lord’s return; Come Lord Jesus!” and wait for the Rapture to take us out of Meatspace into Fluffy Cloud Heaven?

  11. Klasie Kraalogies says:

    Speaking as an outsider:

    Seneca’s responses typify what some outsiders, former insiders, see as what is happening. Evangelicals first sold their “birthright” for a bowl of political pottage way back in the early 1980’s. Those chickens have come home to roost. The extreme defensiveness is a symptom – but so-and-so hasn’t been accused of sexual misconduct! If only they could apply the same standard to the rest of humanity – the amount of radical Islamists is actually an incredibly small faction of all of Islam, the amount of nasty atheists a very small faction of all atheists, etc etc. But of course they can’t do it, because, surprise, they actually are just another group like, as Stephen says, the Elk’s Club. They really are their own worst enemy. The Church (Evangelical, Catholic, etc) is the most potent force for Unbelief ever. Not just because of misbehaviour (I personally don’t give credence to that argument per se), but because they have proven that belief or the absence thereof makes no difference in the lives of humans. You get nice Christians and nasty ones, nice atheists and nasty ones, nice conservatives and nasty ones, nice liberals and nasty ones….

    BUT: The way the Church now operates is coming to prove Hitchen’s old maxim – Good people will do good things, and bad people will do bad things, but to get a good person to do bad things you need religion. I realise that you can insert any ideology in the place of “religion”, but that fact strengthens my point.

    • 🙁

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Take this from the guy who was in Furry Fandom for 20+ years:
      LOUD CRAZIES HAVE A WAY OF DEFINING THE PUBLIC FACE OF A MOVEMENT. ANY MOVEMENT.

      AND THERE IS ONLY SO MUCH YOU CAN DO TO DISTANCE YOURSELF FROM THEM; NOTHING PREVENTS THE CRAZIES FROM GOING TO THE MEDIA (MAINSTREAM OR SOCIAL) AND PROCLAIMING THEY’RE ONE OF YOU AND YOU’RE JUST LIKE THEM.

    • Ditto.

  12. john barry says:

    Klasie,K. do you think the evangelicals base their religion on their political beliefs or their political beliefs on their religion? Evangelicals like any other special interest groups are in the political arena to get their beliefs and ideas if not advocated at least not ignored . What recourse would a Christian have if they wanted to try to insure their taxpayer dollars was not used for something they consider morally and ethically wrong.? Should Christians be like J. Witness and not be involved with the secular political world at all.

    The majority of Americans not just Christians have a problem with the fundamentalist fraction of Islam that threatens Christians and others in majority Muslim countries. God blesses and let prosper the good , bad and ugly, I think that is covered in Job. Indeed the prosperity preachers quote the OT not the New Testament as no convents are given in the NT for this world.

    I can be in the secular political arena advocating my concerns and beliefs without forfeiting my faith. I disagreed and still disagree with a moral majority idea or endorsements by faith based groups as a discerning Christian like a discerning atheists, Muslim, Mormon, pagan, vegan, or whatever can vote on who to support based on their beliefs and who will best represent their special interest.

    One example, President Obama had a very large and progressive Immigration round table advocating for immigration policies I do not support. Many of the group were from evangelical organizations and many other faith as well as the usual advocates for the illegal aliens and other front groups, Chamber of C. Koch Brothers and others. . H. Clinton would have kept the group going as they had a common goal.

    What do you suggest people of faith do ? Abstain, be quiet, not promote their viewpoints.. I voted for Trump to be President in the secular political world based on his stated policy positions. My other choice was to vote for someone who advocated many policies I did not agree with. I do not look for Trump for moral guidance, for spiritual advice, to be an example but I wanted the issues I listed above in my post to be addressed. I still have my birthright as u guess it I am born again and you cannot lose that birthright even if you vote for Obama, Clinton or Trump. Christianity is not inherited or transferable by laws of man.

    Thanks for your thoughtful post that raised good points.

    • I’m not Klasie, but…

      “do you think the evangelicals base their religion on their political beliefs or their political beliefs on their religion?”

      I think, in the beginning of the process, most tried to base their politics off their religion. Unfortunately, for many today the two have become so muddled that for all practical purposes, their religion is based off of their politics. Hence, you get Christian bloggers on Patheos writing defenses of gun ownership using cherry picked verses from the OT law after the latest school shooting.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        “do you think the evangelicals base their religion on their political beliefs or their political beliefs on their religion?”

        These days the two have become so intertwined that you cannot tell where one ends and the other begins.

      • Klasie Kraalogies says:

        What Eeyore said. Also, any political belief based on religion (say Christianity) will necessarily have to cherry pick the religion. The Bible is a complicated document, with a complicated history, a history which is far removed from present day reality. You can justify anything from Monarchy to Democracy to Communism from it, depending on what you try to emphasize.

        • Ronald Avra says:

          ‘The Bible is a complicated document, with a complicated history.’ Severe understatement. Being raised in a particular tradition tends to inoculate a person from examining the origins and development of their faith.

          • Being raised in a particular tradition tends to inoculate a person from examining the origins and development of their faith.

            +1 and a little louder for the people in the back!!!

            Seriously. Question. Study. Discover. It changes so much.

            and don’t be like a pastor friend of mine who said “yeah, that’s all true, so what, I still accept it”.

            • Burro (Mule) says:

              “of the making of many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness to the flesh”

            • “Being raised in a particular tradition tends to inoculate a person from examining the origins and development of their faith.”

              And… I disagree!

              You need something to compare against. Without a foundation a person may not even make the attempt to question, study and discover. I walked away from my faith but I had a foundation to compare against once I came back. And I studied Catholicism, the main line Protestant traditions, Eastern Orthodoxy as well as Mormon and non Christian. If I didn’t have the initial foundation I would never have wasted my time.

              My thoughts….

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          You can justify anything from Monarchy to Democracy to Communism from it, depending on what you try to emphasize.

          Chesterton described Christianity as an ever-changing dynamic balance of opposing doctrines, “any of which in isolation could lay waste to a world.”

  13. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    John Ortberg responds to the Bill Hybels controversy at Willow Creek.
    “I was approached over four years ago with disturbing information that I did not seek out. Along with others who received this information, I directed it to the elders of Willow Creek. The process that followed was, in my view, poorly designed and likely to expose any woman who came forward to grave risks….”

    Feature, not Bug?

    Ortberg posted this with comments closed.
    Trying to head off Hybels’ Attack Dogs?

  14. Radagast says:

    So… all these contributions to the circus only helps to make one thing inevitable… that in another generation our children will be grown and they won’t be in Church. I am seeing it now in my Catholic faith tradition, I am trying to explain the reasons for staying to my children as they leave the nest, I am watching the numbers drop in Mass attendance, particularly among young people. Most cite the pedastry issues with priests, or the moral stances they cannot reconcile with or even immigration policies which they don’t understand very well (I find most people don’t really dig deep on this issue on either side) and just react to soundbites.

    Anymore the noise overcomes the good, and that is not to say there should not be accountability, but in an age of all negative news triumphs it does not bode well for the Church. For example, many do not realize that Catholic Charities is very active in legal immigration. In my area alone they have settled many Nepali immigrants, and 20 years ago did the same with Bosnian refugees who have integrated successfully into the community.

    • There may be some lost generations. We may have to spend a few generations in the wilderness to unlearn the crap that has accumulated onto Christian traditions in America. And we will definitely have to do a lot less yammering and a lot more obeying.

      But one thing is certain – we won’t win them back by doubling down on the crap.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Unfortunately, the standard response of a True Believer is to Double Down AND SCREAM LOUDER!

        Anyone who’s been on the receiving end of a Wretched Urgency Witnessing Session (and tried to disengage) knows that one.

      • Radagast says:

        Unfortunately what I think it will mean is the loss of community and communion…. a direction we’ve been headed in for long time… to be replaced by individualism and what each feels should be their own correct path…. then religion and faith as we know it will disappear…. that is currently what I have observed over the last 15 years I’ve been paying attention…..

        • I agree, but (and?) the Bible would suggest this is part of a pattern that repeats itself over, and over, and over, and….

      • “…a lot less yammering and a lot more obeying.”

        That’s really what this post was about. There’s a circus going on, and Christians are yammering more and more and obeying less and less.

        • That “Strong Men Conference” video seems to suggest you are correct, sir. More flash, more glitz, and we will try to tag Christ in on it.

          • More marketing… like a business…. but that is what happens when you take the holy and sacramental element out of faith….

  15. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    And yet another evangelical leader steps down because of an “inappropriate relationship.”

    Whenever I hear the Christianese “inappropriate relationship”, my first thought is “Live boy or dead woman”?

    And when they pull the “I did not know him/her in the Biblical sense”, it means he used another orifice so it wasn’t REALLY sex. (LOOPHOLE! LOOPHOLE!)

    Take a look at any of the spiritual abuse watchblogs — it’s a constant stream of corruption and scandal. Same scandals, same abuse, same M.O., same defenses, same attack dogs. Lather, Rinse, Repeat, Lather, Rinse, Repeat, Lather, Rinse, Repeat…

  16. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    And the circus goes on. Deeds done in darkness are being brought to light. There’s no place to hide.

    Mash-up…
    A little bit of AC/DC:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvMFhYMVawk
    Followed by:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etYHWZyRSMU

  17. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    Meanwhile, this is some people’s idea of what we need to make us “strong” in these tumultuous days.

    Has anyone thought of doing a YouTube mash-up of that Stronger Men’s Conference video using the audio from Emerson, Lake, and Palmer’s “Karn Evil Nine”?

    “WELCOME BACK MY FRIENDS
    TO THE SHOW THAT NEVER ENDS!
    WE’RE SO GLAD YOU COULD ATTEND!
    COME INSIDE! COME INSIDE!”

    • Robert F says:

      Roll up! Roll up! Roll up! See the Showwww!!

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Further lyrics:

        “SOON THE GYPSY QUEEN
        IN HER GLAZE OF VASELINE
        WILL PERFORM ON GUILLOTINE!
        WHAT A SCENE! WHAT A SCENE!

        “AND PERFORMING ON A STOOL
        IS A SIGHT TO MAKE YOU DROOL!
        SEVEN VIRGINS AND A MULE!
        KEEP IT COOL! KEEP IT COOL!

        “COME INSIDE!
        THE SHOW’S ABOUT TO START!
        GUAR-AN-TEED!
        TO BLOW YOUR HEAD APART!
        ROLL UP! ROLL UP! ROLL UP!
        SEE THE SHOOOOOOWWWWWWWW!”
        — EL&P, “Karn Evil Nine”

    • Radagast says:

      Keith Emerson committed suicide recently because he felt he no longer had a purpose….

      • That’s sad. May he RIP.

        • Patriciamc says:

          On the face of it, ELP’s song “I Believe in Father Christmas” is quite beautiful until you really listen to the words, then it’s quite cynical.

          • Jethro Tull put out a song entitled “A Christmas Song” off of the Living in the Past Album that was equally cynical…

          • Robert F says:

            Don’t like the song, but Emerson was an enormous musical talent, as were his bandmates. I see that song as an expression of pained disillusionment rather than cynicism.

  18. seneca griggs says:

    Bill Hybels stepped down from Willowcreek this evening.

  19. The Stronger Mens Conference makes me want to vomit. I need Christ because my strength is weakness, and only his crucified weakness is strong enough to save me. If I’m fortunate, he’ll count me among the Lazaruses who lay outside the gates of the venue the Strong Mens Conference will be held in — they are the certain inheritors of God’s election of Christ.

    • Yep.

      Though I think someone who doesn’t think Jesus is doing a face-palm as he watches the video over their shoulder doesn’t know Jesus.

      • Dan from Georgia says:

        Agreed Robert F and Rick Ro.!

        I thought this fad peaked in the early 2000s with John Eldredge – I actually liked his book, but many people misinterpreted it to mean “go live in the woods, kill a few animals, and you’ll be a man”…

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Hypermasculinity usually manifests itself as toughness, meanness, “shooting guns, picking fights, and getting laid.” And living rough and killing things is the epitome of Toughness.

        • Eldredge’s “Wild at Heart” video was shown at our men’s Sunday class a few years ago. It was a low point in the move toward complementarianism.

          The Stronger Men advert gave me flashbacks.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:
  20. “The human race adheres devoutly to the belief that one more application of power will bring in the kingdom. One more invasion, one more war, one more escalation, one more jealous fit, one more towering rage—in short, one more twist of whatever arm you have got hold of—will make goodness triumph and peace reign. But it never works. Never with persons, since they are free and can, as persons, only be wooed, not controlled.”

    — Robert Farrar Capon, <I<Romance of the Word: One Man's Love Affair with Theology

  21. Any sexual impropriety is horrifying. But should we really be startled that any leader fails in this way? The biggest part of the problem in my opinion is that we have created these situations by giving men this power. It is one of the biggest reasons I doubt I will ever go back to a church, at least an independent, pastor-as-celebrity type church. And it doesn’t have to be a megachurch to fall into this. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if this type of abuse happens more in small microchurches where anonymity is easier to attain ( I suppose it’s much harder in a megachurch with a staff of hundreds around all the time.) I am no longer surprised when I hear of sexual misconduct in leaders. It’s time for us, the populace to stop letting them have the power.

    • Part of the problem is the people AROUND the leader who don’t have the courage to challenge the leader.

      • Dan from Georgia says:

        Rick Ro.,

        That’s right. Also remember in some/many/most? churches…”touch not God’s annointed” will be used against you.

      • they are 2 sides to that. Yes, a lack of courage, but…If you challenge you are asked to leave, so why would you?

  22. He has no political philosophy except what keeps him in the center and popular with the base he relies on.