Tony Jones and Julie McMahon: secrecy and silence

"Suffer in Silence" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“Suffer in Silence” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

This is my personal confession of my frustration. Bear with me.

The secrecy and silence around the Tony Jones and Julie McMahon case is deafening. (Please read the comments of that post. You may continue a google search if you want more on the story.)

From the very beginning of this fascinating and sad story, the attempt to silence Julie and her supporters was powerful, scary, and ominous.

Now I fear it has been effective.

As the story gained speed and attention, the attempt to envelop the case in secrecy has been just as powerful.

Now I fear it too has been effective.

Nothing is being said.

Life goes on for Jones. Life gets worse for Julie.

Secrecy for those in power and silence for those who critique it. This is the vision statement of those in power.

I’ve claimed since the beginning that this was not about the breakdown of a marriage. I know these are always messy and complicated. For me, it’s been about the coverup, the protection of a ministry, and the perpetuation of a movement of so-called leaders and their career goals. Many supporters of Jones would like you to believe we are taking sides in the breakdown of a relationship so that it makes people like Julie’s supporters look sentimentally petty.

I’m painfully aware, even as I write this post, that some people will accuse me of baiting readers, gleaning traffic, sensationalizing something private for personal gain, and being trivial and small-minded for selfish reasons.

I must admit I am discouraged. I’m not so much  surprised. I have a strong disdain for authority and the abuses of power that are not only prevalent but more and more acceptable. I am discouraged because the obvious agenda to silence Julie as well as the obvious agenda to protect Jones with secrecy seems successful at this point.

We love to talk about caring for people. We love to talk about justice. As ideas. But when it comes to the application of these values onto specific situations with certain people, we neglect them and actually defend the abuse of power in the interest of a greater idea, and that’s the protection of those in power. Bob Jones University’s refusal to change anything in spite of the report from GRACE is just another case in point.

Very few people seem to recognize that the way things are now is typical of the abuse of power. Some would like to claim that secrecy and silence is appropriate for the breakdown of a marriage. But some see through this smoke-screen for what it is: those in power finding ways to protect the two things they care about most: their reputation and revenue.

These twin idols of reputation and revenue remain on the throne, undeterred in their mission to rule over the spiritual lives of everyone.

I’m in a kind of hibernation, waiting for clarity on how to more effectively challenge the principalities and powers that seem to be winning the day.

It saddens me that for some people this is good news, while for a few it is a sad reminder that power prevails.

I need to continue to remind myself daily that even if we lose the battle we can still win the war.

SHOP

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99 Responses

  1. AnnieBanannie says:

    Thank you for saying this.

  2. This needed to be said David. Thank you.
    I am not sure what should be done next but your facilitating/leading us in this is very helpful.
    The abuse of power is the issue.
    I feel sad about this and a little powerless – I can’t imagine what Julie must feel like.

  3. Ducatihero says:

    I hear your strong disdain for authority, your pointing out of the idolatry of reputation and revenue and waiting to effectively challenge the dark principalities and powers.

    I’m going to make a couple of assumptions – that being a church issue this is best dealt with in the love of Jesus and obedience to him as lord and that you want to do the will of God. If I am wrong in these assumptions, what will follow may be offensive to you. I put this in as a disclaimer and to any reader who finds what follows to be offensive.

    Our battle is not against people but against dark forces and spirits in the heavenly realms. We demolish arguments and pretenses that set themselves up against the knowledge of God and we hold every thought captive and obedient to Jesus. We enter into battle strong in the Lord with hearts guarded and armoured with truth, salvation, righteousness, Spirit, good news and faith, not entering into stupid arguments or becoming resentful but showing kindness hoping that false teachers will be granted repentance by God.

    On a personal note, I recently felt not dissimilarity to you David with someone I know when she was being mistreated by the father of her child, a man in a powerful position. She was emotionally exhausted over issues connected with events concerning visitation with his daughter. While I felt naturally protective towards her (as I would do to my sister) and angry towards him, I knew I had a responsibility also to respect his right as a father to visit his daughter and to how I managed my anger. The empathy I had to her gave her hope but when she displaced her anger towards him onto me, that left me with choices of how I managed that. I chose to walk away rather than being abused and not being welcomed and listened to.

    I have found that sometimes there’s nothing we can do when we are not welcomed and the best thing for our own sanity is to avoid certain people and conversations, instead focusing on good that we can achieve within our own circle of influence, writing things that irritate those dark forces and powers and giving confidence to others who’s actions are for good.

  4. Nathanael says:

    Thank you, David, for your honesty and courage in this difficult situation. I am astounded at the total silence of emergent leaders in the face of documented evidence of Tony’s abuse. It is truly disgraceful. And yet, as you say, it seems to be working. Their reputation and revenue is intact, for now. However, I do believe it is only a matter of time before Tony’s ship goes down. The veil has been lifted. Too many of us now see his true colors. I keep hoping the leaders who supported him–even just one!–will do the right thing and apologize for their complicity in his abuse. But that hope is fading fast.

  5. Curtis says:

    While Jones may succeed in silencing conversation on the dominent social media sites, he can’t silence conversation, and broad awareness of the issue, on smaller venues across the internet. Everyone involved — Jones, Pagitt, McLaren, Evans’s, Bolz-Webber, and others, will be making dozens of public appearances throughout the year. While they all remain silent in the media, they will all have to answer to thousands of people concerned about this when they meet face to face.

  6. David L says:

    Hi, I have been following this issue for quite some time,and you are right,”the silence is deafening”

    Now,as to “hibernating” or holding your breath,wait and see,etc.,I think many true believers are in the same place. Look at Elijah at the end of his ministry. He thought he alone was left and was ready to give up. But the Lord informed him that seven thousand faithful yet remained. So how is it that Elijah did not know this? I suspect they were keeping their heads down,so as not to become a target. They were “hibernating”. I don’t believe there is anything we can do to change the direction of the “church” and society at large,and to try,would be to fight against Gods prophetic predictions. There is still much we can do,as individuals,and collectively, but we will fight against disappointment and discouragment at the way things are in these last days.

    Now,as for authoritarian leaders,I’m not sure I offered this link here. But I highly recomend this short book,or very long article

    http://www.cultwatch.com/authoritarianleadership.html

    God bless you all,in Jesus name.

  7. Joe Sewell says:

    One little problem, David: your link to “Tony Jones and Julie McMahon” takes me to an article on Jones and Mark Driscoll (more the latter). I’m only now picking up who McMahon is. You might want to include a note telling us to read the comments (or try to, since I find unthreaded commentary very difficult to follow) to see more about McMahon.

  8. Gary says:

    Ducatihero wrote:

    “Our battle is not against people but against dark forces and spirits in the heavenly realms. We demolish arguments and pretenses that set themselves up against the knowledge of God and we hold every thought captive and obedient to Jesus. We enter into battle strong in the Lord with hearts guarded and armoured with truth, salvation, righteousness, Spirit, good news and faith, not entering into stupid arguments or becoming resentful but showing kindness hoping that false teachers will be granted repentance by God.”

    Ducatihero,
    I think your statement that some would find the above “offensive” does not really describe my reaction to it. Let me share my thoughts upon reading your Christianize gobbledy gook.

    I find your statement to be a very thinly veiled attempt to portray yourself as on an elevated plane of spirituality that others should recognize and acquiesce to. And from that pedestal, you may feel you have made the case to be dismissive of those who would seek to stand up to the abuse of the powerful. In fact your comments ring true as to one who uses shame (kind of implies we are less spiritual than you if we believe an abuser SHOULD be outed and the abuse stopped) as a form of control. I find your post to be a very passive aggressive form of manipulation.

    Jesus confronted the powerful abusers in His day with great candor. I honestly don’t understand why in the hell people like you believe we should now give them a pass now. Spiritual puffery which seeks to ignore harm and allow abuse to continue, just does not seem that spiritually mature to me.

  9. Thanks Joe. I’ll insert something like that.

  10. Ragnarok says:

    Ducatihero wrote: “While I felt naturally protective towards her (as I would do to my sister) and angry towards him, I knew I had a responsibility also to respect his right as a father to visit his daughter and to how I managed my anger. The empathy I had to her gave her hope but when she displaced her anger towards him onto me, that left me with choices of how I managed that. I chose to walk away rather than being abused and not being welcomed and listened to.”

    This statement is simply monstrous. Of all the things it represents, love of, and obedience to, Jesus as Lord is most certainly not one of them. Suggesting that a father’s rights to have a relationship with his children takes precedence over his abuse of their mother is the height of enabling an abuser and plainly immoral on its face. Your subsequent decision to characterize the mother’s entirely understandable and justifiable anger toward your stand as abusive to you is an example of masterful displacement of responsibility and represents a level of callous disregard which Jesus would have decried with a venom one would assume you are in every conceivable way unprepared to consider.

    Ducatihero also wrote: “I have found that sometimes there’s nothing we can do when we are not welcomed and the best thing for our own sanity is to avoid certain people and conversations, instead focusing on good that we can achieve within our own circle of influence, writing things that irritate those dark forces and powers and giving confidence to others who’s actions are for good.”

    Avoiding people who have suffered abuse because they have the audacity to behave as though they have suffered abuse is one of the least Christ-like things anyone could do. Similarly, attempting to restrict our activities to one’s “circle of influence” (which sounds a great deal like keeping objections confined to the realm of whispers rather than that of roars) is precisely what people in positions of power would prefer we do. Under no circumstances would such people wish to hear their transgressions shouted to the rafters, but they would certainly be content to have them left to the realm of celestial judgment as opposed to that of earthly justice.

    You are not part of the problem, Ducatihero. You are the problem. I strongly suspect that you feel no shame whatever, but you most definitely should. What you’ve written here is disgraceful, and attempting to represent it as arising from love and an obedience to Jesus’s example fulfills every requirement for blasphemy.

  11. Kari says:

    Thank you for this. I check every day for updates and find the silence scary.

  12. It is scary. Like calm before the storm. Or the eye of the storm. Or the storm is passed. I hope it’s not the latter.

  13. Luke says:

    I will confess my silence on this issue. I play at the idea that I don’t know what really happened in the relationship as I barely know what’s going on in my own. Every mind is a different world, as is every couple. We don’t know what people carry around with them and think about and I’m not sure that we ourselves know to the full extent.

    All I know is that when I met both of the Jones, I found people who had good intentions but there was a darkness about them. Now this has happened and I just don’t know what’s what but I’m listening to both. The best I can do is tend to my own darkness and try to stand more in the light.

    Just my thoughts on the matter. I’m happy that you’ve posted this and it generated these thoughts. I hope there’s some salt and light mixed in the ramble.

  14. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    And ToJo leans towards Julie and with a grin of Triumph that only she can see says in a voice nobody else can overhear: “I. WIN.”

  15. Caryn LeMur says:

    As I study this situation, I am deeply saddened by it. My focus has been on the non-Biblical marriage counseling advice that was published by Tony Jones.

    In my opinion, Tony Jones’ false doctrine of ‘two marriages’ continues to provoke contempt towards Christianity.

    Tony, imo, created a simplistic doctrine of ‘Church Sanctioned Pre-marital Sex’ or, if you wish, ‘Sacramental Pre-marital Sex’.

    In this doctrine, a man and woman can marry with the church’s ‘sacramental’ blessing, live together, and later divorce with a simple handshake (or with tears). There is no requirement to get legally married within this doctrine… and the spouses forgo all federal and state protections and benefits. And, of course, if you wish, you can dedicate your lack of legal marriage to any struggling people-group in the world.

    This false doctrine makes the church, and the New Testament, yet another laughing stock to all the younger generations.

    This false doctrine was offered under the disguise of dedication to the struggling LGBT community, and then lived out by Tony Jones whom ‘sacramentally married’ his second wife at a church, and then over 2 years later, when he legally married the same woman. All documented by Tony Jones on the Internet.

    Granted, this was an outright abandonment of the scriptures, especially I Tim 5:8… but it appears that Jones own ‘manifesto’, titled “THERE ARE TWO MARRIAGES” (Amazon.com), totally avoids all biblical references.

    Oh, here is the scripture Tony ignores, “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

    Yes, Tony Jones is advocating that a church bless a ‘sacramental marriage’ while asking them to ‘deny the faith’ and make the blesser and blesse ‘worse than an unbeliever’.. . And the response from Church institutions has been silence… are they that unthinking?

    Judging from past commentaries, and the JOPA site (Tony Jones is the JO of JOPA), the sponsors of Tony Jones include Fuller Seminary, the Presbyterian Church Progressive Youth Ministry, Hatchery, Sonoran Theological Group, Chalice Press, San Francisco Theological Seminary, and the Seattle School of Theology and Philosophy.

    It is so sad to see these grand organizations giving implicit acceptance of the false doctrine of ‘Sacramental Pre-marital Sex’, and implicitly joining Tony Jones in abandoning the Bible instructions to ‘provide for the wife’. They implicitly deny the faith they preach… and become worse than the unbeliever they hope to reach and heal. None of these organizations appear to have the backbone to speak against this false doctrine… how sad.

    Granted, Tony Jones published (on the Internet) that he was indeed certified with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), ‘in which a person is excessively preoccupied with personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity, mentally unable to see the destructive damage they are causing to themselves and to others in the process. ‘ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_personality_disorder

    While I thank Tony Jones for his honesty, and even thank Tony for inadvertently admitting to being unable to see the destructive damage he is causing to theology and marriages and the reputation of Christian organizations… I still await to see him apologize for his doctrine and his poor actions.

    In my opinion, by his false doctrine, Tony Jones destroys the foundations of a stable marriage. By his example, he leads others astray and away from Biblical principles of spousal protection and provision.

    To my knowledge, not one of those organizations has spoken against the false doctrine and example of Tony Jones. Tis very sad.

    Keeping in with your site’s lovely sense of humor, I thought I would supply the link to the Bellicose Brothers. They bring a sense of humor to this sad situation. Granted, they are poking fun at Fuller Seminary and then (at about 3:50 or so) poking fun at Tony Jones’ own words and publications… but it is still a good source for seeing the false doctrine in the very words of Tony Jones.

  16. Margaret says:

    Hi David,
    I want you to know that there are those of us who appreciate you speaking up for those who have been abused and silenced. I read your post and subsequent comments regarding Tony Jones. Once Julie started sharing her experiences, others opened up about their experiences. It was intense, but yet so refreshing. I loved how open and honest their comments were. It helped me in dealing with some of my own issues. I hope it brought some healing to them. I thought it was great that you didn’t intervene but allowed the conversation to flow like it did.
    Even if those so-called ‘spiritual’ leaders (I don’t consider them spiritual) are successful in silencing the opposition and keeping things hidden, they can’t take away our freedom of speech. Speaking the truth threatens those in power, especially when they have achieved that status based on lies and manipulation. An honest leader will welcome truth and transparency. A dishonest leader will try to suppress the truth and want to keep things hidden
    Please don’t give up. You give a voice to the abused, to the oppressed, to those who have been silenced, to those who feel powerless. You have a gift of speaking truth, whether in your drawings and paintings or your writings.
    You have my support.

  17. Thanks for your encouragement. I’ll keep speaking as long as I can.

  18. I was just thinking this same thing. I liken it to the same set of behaviors as addiction and denial. I was writing on this very thing today and thought about Bob Jones as well. The same set of social behaviors are in all of these situations. Cunning, baffling, powerful.

  19. I wish the Jones/McMahon case was an isolated incident… but it’s not. This is normal functioning for the ‘godly leaders’ in the “Business-Driven Church”. And it’s utterly foul!!!

  20. Michaela says:

    Ducatihero wrote:
    “….I’m going to make a couple of assumptions – that being a church issue this is best dealt with in the love of Jesus and obedience to him as lord and that you want to do the will of God.”

    Let me see the hired trollers from The Emergent Crowd have sent a supposed attorney, a supposed therapist, a supposed next door neighbor of Tony Jones’, various friends, a supposed journalist, coworkers, various public relations folks (Tony Jones hired the best public relations firm in MN) to The Wartburg Watch and to The Naked Pastor (and other blogs to defend Tony Jones). Your post has the ring of one of the ‘hired hands’ that we’ve seen before.

    Let’s get the facts straight. Tony Jones is A BUM who bailed on his wife and three young children so he could have sex with some other woman, herself also married! At that time The BUM should have been confronted by The Emergent Leaders, but being the pathetic, spineless cowards that they are they couldn’t ‘man up’ and take care of business’. Spineless cowards: Doug Pagitt (co-pastor with Tony Jones at that church in Minnesota, co-owner of a business, friend, etc.), Brian McLaren, etc. NONE of them did what the Bible said! Tony Jones should have been: a) confronted; and b) fired.

    Doug Pagitt, Brian McLaren & Company then left Tony Jones’ wife, now ex-wife, to “twist in the wind”. They didn’t do what Jesus said and they didn’t help her and her children. Their ‘religion’ is useless. If the only Bible someone ever reads is how they ‘handled’ this situation, than is it any wonder that the church has so little credibility with a watching world.

    P.S. They also notified David Hayward here/The Naked Pastor that he had ‘been warned’. I contacted Free Speech attorneys in both countries.

    Brian McLaren, Emergent Leader, threatened to take legal action against Tony Jones’ ex-wife, Julie. Brian is A LOSER!!!

  21. AnnieBanannie says:

    I’m getting a Brian McLaren vibe from Ducatihero. Surely there can’t be two such faux-kindly sanctimonious spiritual shamebots who would comment on the McMahon/Jones situation.

  22. Derek says:

    Hi David. Thank you for being an example of courage and righteous bravery as you pen your words in this matter. For the many of us who are observing, questioning an wondering how to participate, you are setting a fine example. Keep strong, Keep slinging the stones.

  23. William says:

    I don’t think anyone is “winning the day.” There is only scorched earth left in this awful situation.

  24. Rob Grayson says:

    Keep on banging the drum, David. Raising the voice of the victim in the face of mighty principalities and powers is not for the faint of heart. But be of good courage: many are those who are now hearing, and beginning to question things that they were previously unaware of. A day is coming when all that was hidden will be revealed.

    As for those who remain seated on the twin thrones of revenue and reputation… well, as one first century Palestinian Jew said, “They have had their reward.”

  25. Sarah says:

    Michaela just posted the best summary of all of this I’ve seen so far.

    Are people seriously buying this ~spiritual marriage drivel? How does that fly ANYWHERE? Guys, I read that story in a novel and it seemed over the top then, but it made for some dramatic fiction. How on earth did it ever gain any traction and how was this idiot not immediately fired and socially ostracized for something so ridiculous? You’re married, you don’t get to cheat on your spouse with another married person and call it ~spiritual.

    Also his blog ISN’T EVEN THAT GOOD. I feel like a petty twelve year old but beyond all the emotion and spiritual abuse and good posts about injustice (thanks, David!) there is another part of me that is just completely incredulous, this guy is a JERK and an abuser and he isn’t even remotely impressive enough to make any of this understandable. HOW does he have a following? HOW is he worth defending? He’s a mediocre writer who managed to make a blog, and not even a very good one.

  26. David says:

    David – you are doing an excellent job. Pulling down strongholds takes a while. Even with Divine help you may have to go round & round in circles for seven days, blow trumpets when required, and eventually even have to shout. However, eventually the stronghold falls, potentially in a Driscollian manner.

    Don’t be discouraged!!

    One option is to speak into other sources. This is Tony Jones Amazon page.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tony-Jones/e/B001IR3E1G/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1426251846&sr=1-1

    People may wish to comment ‘About the Author’. Amazon generally don’t take down bad reviews.

    Just a thought.

  27. Gordon Schneider says:

    David – please keep reminding us all of Julie’s situation so we don’t forget!

  28. Ducatihero says:

    I was painfully aware that some may have accused my previous comment of being inappropriate, hurtful and damaging to faith even when I wrote it. I don’t often take such criticisms seriously. If I tried to answer every such complaint that came to me, I would have no time for constructive work. However since I think everyone here intends good will and that any criticism made will be sincere, I will try and answer any reply in what I hope will be a patient and reasonable way.

    Some very interesting responses there from various sources to the approach of walking away and addressing issues with the love of Jesus and in doing God will. If my accusers were to check, then they will have found (as anyone with a modicum of bible knowledge knows) that everything I have mentioned has been consistent with what the bible teaches. Within Christianity, without the bible and Jesus as authority then feelings and perceptions opinions determine choices. We all have our own narratives that strongly influence these and opinions are open to anything and everything. Like you put in your video David, I am unashamedly Christian.

    I’m not surprised that there have been such responses, after all Jesus didn’t get killed because he was being nice. The obvious questions that arise are whether what I have commented on is consistent with imitation of Jesus and in doing God’s will in which case my accusers are in opposition to that and rather than addressing abuse are enabling it. Or if indeed the opposite is true and that I am encouraging abuse and therefore deserving of my accusers criticisms.

    I am not on trial here and I don’t need to defend myself.

    However I would ask, what would you do when a woman is being abused by a powerful man and you as another man try to help and she argues with you in defense of what this powerful man is doing to abuse her? That is she doesn’t want you being involved is angry with you for what you are saying towards the other man to the point of being verbally abusive towards you, calling you all kinds of names aggressively. What alternative is there to walking away?

    If we allow ourselves to get into stupid arguments and become resentful instead of being kind, what good does that do anyone? Isn’t it better to use our time in energy where we can have influence for good instead of being involved in exhausting and fulfilling circular arguments?

    All I know from events discussed is what I have read, and the suffering sounds horrific, tragic and at the same time issues that none of us who are not directly involved can address. Obviously we can have influence where others will listen and welcome what we have to say in our circle of influence.. I know if I were able to (and in any situations I do face with any false teachers) it is imperative for me as an unashamed Christian to hold my thoughts captive, making them obedient to Christ, and in so doing demolishing arguments and pretenses that set themselves up against the knowledge of God being kind and not becoming not become resentful.

    If I am to be judged as abusive or enabling abuse and hated for this then that’s nothing that Jesus and other followers of Jesus haven’t had before me. “You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive… Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends” Martin Luther King 1963 Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.

  29. Ducatihero says:

    Oh one last comment. If David will permit me by way of contributing to discussion.

    I have met Brian McLaren on one occasion where we talked about the emergent church. I did question about his approach which did seem to have merit in addressing difference and relating to “the other” in non-essential matters to the faith where there might otherwise be discord and division. At the same time, when I asked a question about application truth his response was to quote Romans 14 and to talk of not doing anything to distress your brother.

    I’ve not seen any reports of what involvement he has had with Tony Jones and Julie McMahon other than what has been mentioned here. However if he has been involved in discussions with Jones in a manner that has not caused Jones distress, then his conduct would have been consistent with the answer he gave me when I questioned him about applying truth.

    This next comment I make not as a Christian, but as a human being who has been present when seeing a woman in public being verbally abused by a man. To hell with acting in a manner that the man won’t feel distressed. I acted in a way that shut him up and put the very fear of God into him as any decent person would!

    I hope that clarifies any misunderstanding from any previous comments!

  30. Caryn LeMur says:

    Ducatihero: just some thoughts to help you in your journey on the Internet.

    If possible, use your real name. A Ducati is a motorcycle. While you may indeed love the bike, comments by someone named HarleyHero, KawasakiKing, and/or YamahaSuperMan tend to be discounted among bloggers.

    Use shorter sentences. I am a lover of long sentences. Nonetheless, I am in a minority. The size of my normal post is also too long. A number of readers simply skip over my longer posts.

    A good writer studies the general audience, and makes the desired points in a manner that is acceptable to that audience. You are good writer. So then, shorten your sentences. I believe you have the skills to do so.

    To your point: A time ago, I too believed that there was a ‘highest path’ within Christianity. And thus, I would present what I thought was the highest path. As years passed, I encountered many arguments that provided good Biblical evidence of multiple higher paths.

    It appears that you are thinking that non-confrontation is the highest path.

    [If this is the case, then I do not think you are alone in this regard. It is my current understanding of the Mennonite community, that they also teach non-confrontation as the highest path of Christ-likeness.]

    As I understand the basic argument of non-confrontation: judgment belongs to Christ alone, and therefore the example of Christ-on-earth brining acts of judgment against the money-changers, or His public rebuke of the Pharisees, is not applicable to His disciples.

    The counter-argument is that Christ commanded the church informal institution(s) to make judgment against evil teachings and evil teachers in the Letters to the Seven Churches (Rev. Chapters 2 and 3). Of the 7 churches, I find:

    – Sardis: Commended for ‘not tolerating wicked people’ and for ‘testing’ those that claimed to be apostles.

    – Pergamum: Commanded to insist on repentance from those that held to ‘enticing others to sin’ (most likely by participating in idol sacrifice and temple prostitution), and to also insist on repentance from the ‘teaching of the Nicolatians’.

    – Thyatria: Commanded to no longer tolerate the teachings of Jezebel, though she claimed to be a prophet.

    – Sardis: Commanded to repent (to ‘wake up’ from ‘unfinished deeds’). Implies that they should uphold those that have not ‘soiled their robes’.

    – Laodicea: Commanded to repent from being ‘lukewarm’; and from an apparent belief that worldly wealth must equal heavenly acceptability.

    Thus, the first three informal church institutions listed above (Sardis, Pergamum, Thyatria) are commanded (or commended) by Christ to engage in confrontation, non-tolerance, testing, counter-teaching, and insistence on repentance.

    I would therefore offer that there is no higher path reserved only for non-confrontation.

    All of us are commanded to make our ‘thoughts captive, making them obedient to Christ’ – but such an expression of Christ-likeness is not limited to non-confrontation.

    While judgment may indeed be reserved by Christ for Christ alone during His earthly ministry, forms of ‘judgment’ are specifically delegated by Christ to the informal church institutions in the Book of Revelation.

    Therefore, I believe it is more Biblically correct to state that as each person (or informal institution) may perceive the direction of the Spirit of Christ, they should walk that path.

  31. Ragnarok says:

    I don’t know whether I should impressed by the degree of obfuscation in your rambling self-defense (and it is self-defense no matter how much you protest that it isn’t), or simply dismayed by how witless your obfuscation is, Ducatihero. In your first comment, you claimed you were helping a woman who was dear to you as she tried to deal with the abuse her ex-husband had visited upon her only to have her turn her ire upon you when you voiced support for his rights as a father, but in your follow-up you claim that she turned her ire upon you “in defense of what this powerful man is doing to abuse her”. This constitutes less of a “misunderstanding from any previous comments” and more of a directly contradictory representation of the facts. The only consistency between those two claims is that you paint yourself the heroic victim in each.

    As you seem determined to use scripture in this discussion as a means of supporting your claims, and for cutting off anyone’s efforts to judge your intentions based upon your comments as well it would seem, let’s talk about Romans 14 for a moment since you bring it up. Specifically, let’s focus on Romans 14:13 to start: “Then let us no more pass judgment on one another, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.” You want to apply the first clause because it offers you a buffer against criticism, but you seem to all but ignore the second clause. I say that you ignore it because you are putting giant stumbling blocks and hindrances in the way of anyone who has ever faced abuse (which, I hasten to add, does not include you in this case). In fact, your appearance on this thread in which you belch random evangel-babble and platitudinous nonsense regarding a matter which, by your own admission, you know virtually nothing is just the sort of incursion which does myriad harms, all while you declare your good intentions as you assume a posture of superior understanding despite your aforementioned ignorance.

    As a conclusion, I’ll leave you with Romans 14:19: “Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” Peace in this case would be best served by you closing your mouth while opening your eyes and your heart. Mutual upbuilding in this case, I would suggest, would be best served by you taking the role of servant and student as opposed to that of sage and teacher. Unfortunately, you don’t know enough to know how little you understand—either in this case or, it would appear, in the case of the woman you claim was abusive toward you. For everyone involved, 86 the false humility and the pontification. Even better, just stop talking altogether and listen for a good, long while.

  32. Ducatihero says:

    Caryn – thanks for your help. This is the first time anyone has commented that the handle I use is one commonly linked to trollers. I like motorcycles, used to have a Ducati, now have a Honda and like the name hero. Perhps something to do with comic book hero’s like superman. However Hondahero kinda doesn’t have the same ring to it does it. If I were to change it to another name, perhaps something containing the word “naked” do you think that might come across as perverted? I wouldn’t want to do cause someone offence and come across as a sexual predator. Of course you will know that anyone driven by approval of others is not a servant of Christ and no-one is going to be everyone’s cup of tea all the time.

    Thank you for your comment about my writing being good. I am dyslexic, and one of the things according to the tutoring I have had as symptoms of the dyslexia as well as flipping letters around the wrong way and grammatical errors is the length of my sentences. This requires time in writgin and editing.that is more consuming of effort than if I did not have dyslexia. So – I guess I would ask for an allowance for that while I am taking on borad your request for consideration of the audeicne. For example I have written the last two sentences without correction to give an indication of what I have to do and am doing in consideration of others. Thank you for your understanding and allowance due to this disability and not discriminating because of it.

    The perspective you have is that I think non-confrontation is the best path. Either I have not been clear in communication on that or you have misunderstood. I am in agreement with you about each person walking in the direction of the Spirit of Christ. While I am in agreement with you over that, I would question and need to be corrective as is your approach with what you comment as what you believe to be more Biblically correct.

    Yes I agree with you that making thoughts captive to Christ and that is not limited to non-confrontation. In fact that affirms the points I have made. Namely, that in context doing so comes in the verse after talk of demolishing arguments and pretenses that set themselves against the knowledge of God. In practice, when someone is being abusive acting in a way that is going to result in them experiencing the fear of God with the hope that God would grant them repentance. With false teachers in our circle of influence and where we have authority to do so instructing them in the hope that they will come to their senses.

    The argument you make for confrontation is a good one and something I have heard complains from about women is that Christian men are wimps or one woman I dated saying “Christian men have no balls”. So it would seem would it not that there is a challenge there for men (and women) following Jesus to rise to the challenge of confronting when appropriate whilst being kind, not given to resentment or partaking in stupid arguments.

    I hear what you say about judgement may be reserved for Christ alone in his earthly ministry. That might be true or might not.as you indicated. When he talk of not judging so you won’t be judged what I take form that is not an instruction (for everyone makes judgments) but it being hyperbole, to make a point that you are going to be judged in the same manner that you judge others. In other words, pointing to justice. I take a similar approach to what he said to Peter about putting away his sword. Some argue for pacifism being the Christian imperative from that neglecting that later Jesus told his disciples to sell their coats and buy a sword. Well why would he do that if they were not to use it? It negates the argument for pacifism.

    So it seems to me that apart from the name that you don’t like and allowance for me being dyslexic, there may be more things that we agree on than disagree on in spite of how it might have seemed at first?

  33. Yasmin says:

    David, thank you for this blog, letting us know that we are not alone in continuing to think of Julie. I come from a different background than most posters here. I have never been abused in any way, and I have only heard of Tony Jones through internet reports of what’s going on, including, but not limited, to yours, David. There is no way that Tony Jones can silence me, and I won’t remain silent. I do not move in Emergent circles, but I have discussed this with a few friends who are at least vaguely aware of the Emergent church. They, too, had heard a bit about this issue, but did not have the full story. I filled them in, reminding them that I only knew what had been posted, including the documented proof of what happened through the courts.

    Because I have no history of abuse, none of this triggers me in any way except to spark outrage at such atrocious behavior on the part of Jones and his followers. I, too, want to handle this in the way that most pleases Christ, but I do NOT for one moment think that staying silent and letting Jones get away with this will please Christ in the least. Quite the contrary, in fact. Something we can all do, of which we can be certain Christ approves, is loudly to keep stating our support of Julie, of praying for her and her children (and yes, for Tony, too, that he wakes up to what he’s doing and repents, narcissism notwithstanding. After all, God CAN work miracles.), and being there for Julie in any way we can be. Others will hear that constant support and love of Julie, and Tony will know what his objections to that love will look like, and refrain from objecting.

    (Sigh) To put it in words that my friends would recognize, “Who me? Shut up because a jerk like Tony Jones wants me to? You cannot POSSIBLY be serious! Julie, you’ve got all my support, and I’ll shout it from the rooftops!”

  34. Michaela says:

    @Ducatihero,

    I’ll say it again. Your posts bear all of the hallmarks of the public relations firms hired by Tony Jones’ top Minnesota public relations firm. We’ve seen it all before. All of “the talk” and NONE of “the walk”!

    You know ZERO about the Lord Jesus Christ and care ZERO about what He cares about. Marriage vows do matter to the Lord! Bailing on a wife and children — as Tony Jones did to Julie – just so he could have sex with some other babe does matter to the Lord!

    Tony Jones is A BUM who should have been CONFRONTED by the Emergent Leaders and FIRED!
    Ditto for Courtney Perry who should have also been CONFRONTED and FIRED! She was also married and imagine the horrific pain and betrayal her husband was put through. He didn’t get any “prize” for a wife in her!!!

    Those PATHETIC Emergent Leaders have all defended Tony Jones. What LOSERS, every last one of them!

    What would they – Brian McLaren, Doug Pagitt – and the others do if their married daughter (the mother of their grandchildren) came to them and said, “Dad, my husband is having sex with another woman. What should I do, Dad?”

    All I can say is I know this: Doug Paggitt, Brian McLaren and the others aren’t ‘real men’. Even unbelieving men can ‘man up’ and ‘handle business’. Perhaps Doug and Brian can write some essays about what it’s like to be a coward instead of real men who protect and defend women and children.

    I have ZERO respect for them. Respect is earned. All they have done is heap sorrows on this poor mother, Julie, these children, Courtney’s ex-husband, and the name of our Lord and grieve the Holy Spirit.

    They aren’t just sick: They are SICKENING!

  35. Michaela says:

    @Yasmin,

    There are some tangible ways to offer support. Dee and Deb at The Wartburg Watch in North Carolina started a Go Fund Me campaign for Tony Jones’ ex-wife, Julie. The campaign is being kept open indefinitely to help raise funds every week for Julie (family law attorneys’ expenses, court costs, living expenses, etc.). Tony Jones has hauled his ex-wife Julie in to court for years!

    Please spread the word to your friends, on Facebook, etc. and ask people to help Julie financially, large, medium or small.

    Also, keep Julie in prayer. She really needs it. If this is the garbage that we all get subjected to – hired trollers by the Emergent Crowd (Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, Brian McLaren) and this is ‘the fight’ they are willing to put up with the rest of us…do you realize that Julie has had to contend with ALL of them basically by herself for years on end?

    http://www.wartburgwatch.com/

    http://www.gofundme.com/ko5bn8?utm_content=buffer30c17&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

  36. AnnieBanannie says:

    HondaHero is alliterative, so there’s that going for it.
    Also- nice dig at David Hayward, with the “Naked” comment.

    Too bad there’s no motorcycle called Pompous Windbag.

  37. Michaela says:

    “I will confess my silence on this issue. I play at the idea that I don’t know what really happened in the relationship as I barely know what’s going on in my own. Every mind is a different world, as is every couple. We don’t know what people carry around with them and think about and I’m not sure that we ourselves know to the full extent. All I know is that when I met both of the Jones, I found people who had good intentions but there was a darkness about them.” -Luke

    @Luke,
    Why now I am curious. How did you meet both Tony and Julie Jones? How many times? What year? Do you still cross paths with them? You don’t know what’s going on in our own relationship you said in your post yet you claim to have spotted a darkness in each of them? You can’t really comment on what happened in their marriage.

    How terribly curious to me that your entire post has the ring of all of the ‘hired hands’, hired by the Emergent Leaders and that big public relations firm in Minnesota that Tony Jones hired, who say the exact same things???!!!

    Yes, “Luke”, it’s a pretty “dark” thing when a wife (Julie) and mother to three young children finds out her husband (Tony Jones) is having sex with some other woman. It’s a pretty dark thing when a husband can’t man up and honor his vows and all of the lives that are depending on him, but decides that getting hot and heavy and having sex with some babe (another man’s wife no less) is the more “honorable” thing to do.

    You may be confused, Luke, but I am not. Tony Jones IS A BUM and A LOSER! His Emergent Leader friends are also TOTAL LOSERS and BUMS! Doug Pagitt is A LOSER! Brian McLaren is A LOSER! They didn’t do what the Lord Jesus Christ said and help this Mom (Julie) and her three young children. Their religion is WORTHLESS!

    If your daughter, the mother of your grandchildren, came to you and said, “Dad, my husband is having sex with another woman” what advice would you give YOUR daughter?

    We know that Doug Pagitt and Brian McLaren AREN’T REAL MEN who can and will defend women and children. They are spineless cowards. Wow, I wouldn’t want to be one of their daughters!

    Don’t be like them. Man up and get a spine!

  38. George says:

    Michaela —

    What public relations firm did Tony hire? You have me curious…

  39. Ducatihero says:

    Thanks for everyone who responded to my earlier comment. As indicated I expected some to find my comments offensive I didn’t expect them to be likened to someone as powerful as Brian McLaren. I’ve learned something from responses so thanks again to everyone who contributed. I wasn’t aware that this would be how I would come across and it is a gift to know how one is perceived by others. Some of the comments show great creativity in their insults – they were hilarious.

    Please do keep them coming.

  40. “…I didn’t expect them to be likened to someone as powerful as Brian McLaren.”

    I don’t get the fixation on ‘power’ in the context of Christ-followers. Jesus emptied himself of power and became a servant. If someone is ‘powerful’ it’s just possible they’ve missed the point… and the mark 😛

  41. Lydia says:

    “As for those who remain seated on the twin thrones of revenue and reputation… well, as one first century Palestinian Jew said, “They have had their reward.””

    Bingo.

  42. Lydia says:

    Ducatihero sounds like a few others who have tried to plant seeds and change the narrative. What on earth does his experience (which, if true, he handled badly) have to with this situation? I think this person is simply trying to plant seeds.

    “Our battle is not against people but against dark forces and spirits in the heavenly realms. We demolish arguments and pretenses that set themselves up against the knowledge of God and we hold every thought captive and obedient to Jesus. We enter into battle strong in the Lord with hearts guarded and armoured with truth, salvation, righteousness, Spirit, good news and faith, not entering into stupid arguments or becoming resentful but showing kindness hoping that false teachers will be granted repentance by God.”

    This is the typical “shut up and let God handle it” excuse I have heard from many in celebrity evangelical circles albeit much more verbose here than usual. It totally ignores the fact we are responsible for our actions whether for good or evil. Tony does not get a pass because we battle principalities and powers. The question you need to ask yourself is why Tony aligns himself with the “dark powers”? Or do you think he cannot help it so we should look the other way? That would mean the victims of the dark powers who are controlling those who do wrong/evil (while calling themselves followers of Christ) to others should just lie down and take it?. That is nothing but enabling evil. But I know a lot of people who believe this when it comes to Christian celebrities.

    This person does not seem to be aware of the NPD diagnosis and what that means in the long run.

    On another note about the post, the celebs are most likely thrilled there is silence. They defenses and praises of Tony are now taken down (for which I think they are relieved) so the best thing for them is the silence. RHE was on twitter recently advocating for victims with no shame what so ever. Like this whole thing never happened. Not one person mentioned her hypocrisy. Of course, they are probably blocked like me. This behavior is worthy of every single evangelical celebrity leader I have come across in the last 15 years. It never happened. Nothing to see here, lets move on. Truth is, this will probably work for her. That is how shallow it al is.

  43. Michaela says:

    @George,

    I’m shocked you haven’t read about it. It’s been in the news: The LOSERS/PR firm in MN that Tony Jones and The Emergent Leaders hired to defend their PATHETIC ‘reputations’ (because NONE of them could ‘man up’ and do the ‘right’ and honorable thing). Look it up.

    Those Emergent Leaders aren’t just SICK, they are SICKENING! Bums and Spineless Cowards, every last one of them! There isn’t a REAL MAN among them. Just spineless cowards who can’t do the right thing by a wife/mom with three young children whose husband is having sex with some other babe (who happened to be another man’s wife).

    If they had been REAL MEN, they wouldn’t need a public relations firm. Only bums and spineless cowards need a public relations firm.

  44. Michaela says:

    @George,

    Question: If YOUR daughter, the mother of your young grandchildren, came to you and told you, “Dad my husband is having sex with another woman? What should I do, Dad?” what advice would YOU give YOUR DAUGHTER?

    (Note: The Emergent Leaders – Doug Pagitt, Brian McLaren & Company — AREN’T REAL MEN who can man up and protect women and children. To the contrary, they actually pride themselves on being spineless cowards WHO WON’T PROTECT WOMEN AND CHILDREN!! There was a time that REAL MEN would be ASHAMED to conduct themselves the way Doug Pagitt and Brian McLaren have conducted themselves. Those LOSERS are A DISGRACE to REAL MEN every where who ‘man up’ and ‘take care of business’!))

  45. Nate says:

    George,
    In his public statement concerning this matter, Tony Jones listed Blois Olson as his representative for “media inquiries”. Blois Olson is a heavy-hitter PR professional based in Minneapolis. I would suggest you Google search his name if you are interested in learning more. Take note of his particular expertise in crisis management and political maneuvering.

  46. George says:

    Michaela —

    I honestly can’t find any reference to the PR firm. Maybe my Google-fu isn’t very good. What’s it called?

    And if my daughter came to me saying such things, I’d try to help her find if the marriage could be salvaged (if her husband were repentant, of course) –but if it were not, I’d advise her to get a divorce.

  47. George says:

    Nate —

    Ah, I commented too quickly. Thank you for the info!

  48. Luke says:

    @Michaela, where can I get the whole story? I didn’t get these developments, just the beginning apparently.

    I met them in 2010 at a talk in Philadelphia not too long after his article telling clergy to stop performing marriages. It was strange. Then I sat in on a talk at Fuller on Science and Religion in 2012 and then at progressive youth ministry in 2013 in Chicago. Tony just had a weird vibe. Can’t place my finger on it.

    So please give me some updates, apparently I don’t have the same info as y’all. Thanks and forgive my ignorance.

  49. Luke says:

    And granted, three one-on-one conversations does not a relationship make. I’ve seen him more than that and we go in similar circles. I’m not sure if the silence is around cover-up, the nastiness of the patriarchy, the silencing of the victim, or if it’s around reserving judgment, the shame of not knowing and not being able to help, or if this is what happens when you’re in a sin denying culture. It’s prolly all of these things and more.

  50. Yasmin says:

    @Michaela.
    Thank you for the links. I have seen them elsewhere and have contributed (I will do so again, and share them.)

    So Tony has hired a public relations firm, specializing in “crisis management.” I can’t imagine what good that’s supposed to do him, since the truth is already known by the public. There are already so many of us who will set the record straight every time Mr. Olson tries to publish another lie, so what can Tony or Blois Olson possibly hope to accomplish? The official court documents and psychological diagnoses are in the public domain, and can be read and referenced by all. (Sigh) I guess I’m just curious as to how this is working in Tony’s head, how he thinks it will work and make everything fine for him again. How does he hope to silence US?

  51. AnnieBanannie says:

    Hi Luke!

    You say you met both Jones in 2010. But tony and his first wife were divorced in 2009. I’m wondering if you actually met Tony and his second wife, Courtney. At that time he would have been his girlfriend, in 2011 they were “sacramentally” married, then legally married in 2013.

    I’m extra curious now if the couple you saw who seemed to have a “darkness” around them was actually Tony and Courtney.

  52. AnnieBanannie says:

    Yasmin- I think he hopes to silence us by threatening Julie, to be honest. I know I have spoken much less since I heard rumor that things said on these fora may be being directly used to wage lawfare on her.

  53. Yasmin says:

    @Michaela.
    Thanks for the link. I’ve already seen it elsewhere, and have contributed. I’ll share it and give again as I can.

    Ducatihero, I’m a bit late with this, but this is what concerns me and seems to concern others:

    “I’m going to make a couple of assumptions – that being a church issue this is best dealt with in the love of Jesus and obedience to him as lord and that you want to do the will of God. …Our battle is not against people but against dark forces and spirits in the heavenly realms. We demolish arguments and pretenses that set themselves up against the knowledge of God and we hold every thought captive and obedient to Jesus. ……”

    You write as though you have no idea what we’re talking about. Obedience to Jesus is not at all the issue, it is obedience to the wishes of someone who has caused, and is causing, tremendous pain. He wishes US to obey him in allowing the abuse to continue. How in the world is complying with this showing any love of Christ, or obedience to Him??? Are we not to rebuke our brothers in Christ when they have done wrong? Are we not to protect and heal the victims of wrong-doing, specifically in Christ’s name? Yet you seem to be saying that we should ignore Julie and refrain from lifting a finger in her defense or support, leaving it to God to sort out later. You are saying that the Good Samaritan was WRONG to have helped the victim of theft, he should have walked on by, leaving the victim to recover or not as Jesus chose.

    You go on to say that we are not battling people, but ideas and evil forces. Again, you sound as though you have no idea what’s going on. The “evil force” in question is the one trying to silence the victim so that she is not helped, and so that abuse can continue. You are right that we are not battling Tony Jones, we are merely refusing to grant his wish to isolate his ex-wife and leave her to suffer whatever he wishes to inflict on her. That is no different at all than seeing her in a burning building and ignoring her cries for help.

    It is in total violation of everything Christ taught to ignore Julie, to grant Tony’s wishes to stay silent. He is causing her harm, she needs help and support. You are wrong. It is RIGHT to give her help, and inexcusably wrong to ignore her and what she has to say. I would go so far as to say that it is absolutely unforgivable to do so.

    Your comments were very vague, and you will say that what I have understood is not at all what you meant, but given the context of Tony and Julie’s issues on this blog, I can’t think of any other way to take your post. Any other understanding would be a non-sequitur, and completely out of place in this discussion.

  54. Yasmin says:

    @AnnieBanannie
    I’m sorry, I was typing as you posted. (I’m a bit confused. I also see a post of mine that I thought did not get posted. I’m embarrassed to have retyped the same thanks to Michaela, but I am grateful enough that my thanks bear repeating.)

    I was briefly tempted to ask David to take down my post, but realized that that would please Tony to no end. The facts of the case(s) are publicly available, and we are entitled to our opinions under any circumstances, so I will not take back one word. We will simply take note of what Tony does with these posts and make sure that the public is aware of that, too.

    I wonder if it’s his narcissism that prevents him from seeing how badly he is damaging himself by these actions. Even if Julie’s accusations were false, his subsequent actions are so wrong in themselves, that they speak against him almost as loudly as the accusations of abuse and adultery do. Can’t he see that? Are his “supporters” just standing back, waiting to see him fall, that they don’t point that out to him?

    If I had any doubts as to Tony’s guilt, his horrific behavior in trying to silence Julie and everyone else confirm his guilt to me absolutely. I’m certain that that’s true for many people. Innocent and decent people just don’t behave that way, not at all. He really is his own worst enemy.

  55. Luke says:

    AnnieBanannie, it most definitely Julie. Although I’m finding myself more and more aghast at how little I know. Reading this: https://nakedpastor.com/2014/09/tony-jones-on-mark-driscoll-what-came-first-the-thug-or-the-theology/ post and the comments there. Slowly getting the story here. Thanks for sticking with.

  56. George says:

    Help me work through my thinking. Warning: this is going to make everyone mad. I understand that, but I want to present my understanding in its strongest form, so that I can hear strong responses. Please don’t accuse me of being an abuser or Satan or (worst of all!) one of Tony Jones’ armies of loyal secret mercenaries.

    I believe Julie; she experienced her marriage to Tony as abusive.

    But it certainly reads to me as if Tony experienced marriage to Julie as abusive as well.

    Going only on the documents released by RL Stollar and the statement from Brian McLaren:

    Julie seems to be a highly emotional individual, with a tendency toward dramatic expression of those emotions, particularly when she believes she has been wronged.

    Those tendencies look like they were exacerbated in her marriage to Tony. He made himself unavailable to her, physically and emotionally. She responded by turning up her emotional volume in an effort to gain any response from him.

    In turn, her dramatic and aggressive expression exacerbated Tony’s tendency to keep his emotional distance, and act unilaterally rather than address her emotional needs and negotiate with her.

    Tony didn’t cause Julie’s behavior. Julie didn’t cause Tony’s behavior.

    Instead as happens in many marriages, their existing tendencies became polarized, with each manifesting a greater degree of the behavior than they might if the other did not behave so oppositely.

    Each felt betrayed by the other: Julie by Tony’s physical and emotional abandonment and extramarital affair, Tony by Julie’s rejection of his celebrity ministry career.

    Julie’s anger and hurt feelings are normal and predictable under the circumstances — including her outrage at being told she was mentally ill for correctly suspecting Tony was having an affair.

    But Julie’s expression of her feelings is poorly regulated, dramatic, extreme, and counterproductive.

    In 2007 Julie changed her mind about accompanying Tony on a work trip to Ireland, threatening to kill herself if he went.

    In February 2008 she grabbed him by the neck and shoulders and shook him, asking whether he knew what he was doing to their family. She said she could fall off the balcony she was standing on and thus escape her pain.

    In July of 2008 Julie called Tony and threatened to kill herself in front of their children if Tony didn’t return home from his speaking trip immediately.

    In August of 2008 they disagreed over whether to tape-record a conversation. She reached to turn off the recorder and Tony pushed her to the floor, injuring her shoulder.

    All the above comes from the RL Stollar cache and McLaren’s statement. My reaction:

    This is ugly. I understand how Julie felt abandoned and betrayed. I also understand why Tony would believe his wife was crazy. For Julie to use repeated threats of suicide against Tony is simply beyond the pale. Any relationship counselor worth their salt would tell you to get away of that relationship. And with the affair, the divorce, the restraining order, the silence, it looks like Tony is trying to get away — but Julie dogs his heels.

    So after poring through RL Stollar’s documents: I think both of these people are abusive shits.

    Tear me apart, NakedPastor crew: How am I misunderstanding? I am willing to alter my thinking; I have gone back and forth on this before settling where I am now. I could change my mind again. So I am truly interested in what you have to say.

  57. Joel says:

    Some interesting comments on RHE’s blog from 3/13 about her piece with CNN on being self-critical (you can find it at http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/cnn-self-critical-church-selma):

    Chad Watkins comments, “Too often in the Church and in politics is criticism seen as “flip-flopping” or hypocritical behavior. In reality, if I criticize something I’ve done in the past that was wrong it is a mark of growth and maturity. We should all be critical of the institutions to which we belong–government, religious, social–not because we hate them but because we love them so dearly we want to see them be better.”

    Rachel’s response? “Well said, Chad.”

    Later in the comments section, Anand writes, “Nice article. It seems like the challenge though is distinguishing between criticism and cheap shots.

    At our best, we are able to both uphold what you love about your churches past and present, while still identifying things that frustrate us. The danger comes when the “speaking the truth” comes without the loving relationship.

    One thing I often remind myself is the need to be harder on those institutions to which I hold allegiance than those with which I have parted…”

    To which Rachel replies, “Totally agree. Been thinking a lot about this lately.

    This is great: “the need to be harder on those institutions to which I hold allegiance than those with which I have parted…” ”

    Reading between the lines here, it seems like both Anand and Chad are making the same points many others have been making throughout this discussion—that if we are going to go after those outside our tribe, we should do the same to those inside our tribe. And it seems like RHE agrees, and it’s been on her mind. While she’s handled this situation poorly, she’s definitely sharp enough to see the subtext in this comments, right?

    I really want to have hope here. Am I reaching?

  58. Lydia says:

    “So I am truly interested in what you have to say.”

    Tony is an NPD. That should tell you all you need to know but I understand most folks have NO IDEA what that means in every day life with an NPD. Frankly, I am shocked more spouses of NPD’s don’t kill themselves. Perhaps because of the children, perhaps? It can take a long long time for those involved with NPD’s to really understand what is going on. It can even take years to catch on to their gaslighting tactics. By then, people are worn out….beat down and like cornered animals to the NPD. I have heard story after story from spouses of NPD’s who said, “I was NEVER like this! I started to become someone else”.

    We could spend all day trying to convince you of what NPD’s do, don’t do and their tactics. It will probably be in vain unless you have experienced one up close and personal. And guess what? Most folks won’t see it unless they either live with one or work very closely with one for years. NPD’s are some of the most diabolically clever people out there. And there are degrees of them. Those with celebrity and connections can actually last longer in those positions and do the most damage in the long run because of cult of personality. They often fool therapists so I was amazed that Julie has a diagnosis. That is rare and should be a huge wake up call for folks.

    But, it isn’t. The most healthy thing is to get as far away from folks who exhibit NPD tendencies. They are not safe or healthy people to be around. they only know how to use others for their agenda whatever that is at the moment. they can be extremely charming, smart and look reasonable to most folks. they are insidious and diabolical. They have the ability to make the right choices even though they totally lack empathy. They are usually very discerning as to how they act in front of certain people. IOW: They know what they are doing.

    That is all you need to know, George. Tony is an NPD. The sooner our culture realizes what that means, the better off we will all be. Most folks are not schooled on how to recognize one and figuring this all out can take decades. I know of NPD’s who showed NO signs until about 5 years into the marriage. They had consolidated their power and trust. The victim, otoh, have no idea what they have gotten themselves into and they try hard to fit into the NPD’s world. And that often means the victims will look just as bad in the long run. the NPD wants it that way. They are experts at playing 10 steps ahead and provoking the reactions they want to make themselves look like victims.

  59. Lydia says:

    “I really want to have hope here. Am I reaching?”

    Yes. Why look for “subtext”? She has the platform to make her views known. If she has been “thinking about it” why not say what she has been thinking about in that context and be open and transparent? Why the subterfuge? don’t get caught up in cult of personality. RHE has a business. This is how she makes her living.

  60. Joel says:

    Hi Lydia—you say, “Why look for ‘subtext’? She has the platform to make her views known.” I agree. I think RHE should come out and say something explicitly. However, it seems that isn’t going to be the case. I’ve been reading about this nearly nonstop since January, and I remember one person suggesting perhaps RHE has been silent on account of a book contract. She reviewed TJ’s book, and there may have been a clause in that agreement which wouldn’t allow her to “undo” the review she gave. It’s possible that speaking out against TJ could be legally construed as “undoing” this review. Please note that this is only hypothesis—RHE could very well just be remaining stubborn for no reason.

    You say, “If she has been ‘thinking about it’ why not say what she has been thinking about in that context and be open and transparent? Why the subterfuge?” You mention the horrors of being sucked in by an NPD above. I imagine RHE—if she’s realizing that TJ has sucked her in—may not believe she has the cards to play an aggressively open and transparent game against TJ. Look at just one of the cards Julie had: a full-fledged NPD diagnosis, for crying out loud! And STILL TJ was able to silence her.

    RHE definitely has a platform, and if she really were serious about advocacy for victims of the church, it shouldn’t matter to her whether she could win against TJ on her own. She would play her entire hand with the hope that others could be empowered to play their hands.

    My hope is that RHE is somehow being prevented from explicitly going after TJ for a time, and we’ll see a course correction after that time has passed. Obviously, the best case scenario would have been to be initially “harder on those institutions to which she holds allegiance than those with which she has parted.”

  61. Lydia says:

    “Yasmin- I think he hopes to silence us by threatening Julie, to be honest. I know I have spoken much less since I heard rumor that things said on these fora may be being directly used to wage lawfare on her.”

    https://www.evernote.com/shard/s2/sh/36f91dc4-146b-46f4-ad13-c4557b718b1b/071d7682e9832df6

    Here is a link to what Tony (or someone) put on the whytony site.

    So, the “court urged” them to remove all posts, comments etc they put up and those put up by their proxies. So when they say “court” who exactly “urged ” it? And do courts “urge” or make suggestions?

    Then we see how honorable Tony is because he followed the “courts urging”.

    This is so classic NPD!!!

    But how would Julie look if she kept on making comments at that point? Tony would look like the victim! Once again, the NPD is always one step ahead: find a way to shut her down but look like the great guy at the same time. People really do fall for this stuff and that is why Julie has to be silent.

    Nevermind that while all this is going on Tony was breaking a prior “court ordered” visitation agreement. No urgings. Court ordered and agreed upon by all parties. YET he was breaking it!!! Great guy, indeed!

  62. George says:

    Lydia —

    I have difficulty reconciling your description of “an NPD” with what I read in the RL Stollar docs.

    The way you describe “an NPD” makes him sound like a comic-book supervillian, capable of nothing but inflicting suffering in the world. What I read in the docs is a man who was an engaged husband and father at first, but whose NPD drove him to increasingly choose his career over his family. The docs say that Julie responded with over-the-top dramatic and extreme emotions as a means of getting a reaction out of him, as a means of “calling him back to the mundane.” Thus began the death spiral of their marriage.

    Julie was never suicidal. The docs go to great lengths to establish her sanity. Her mental health diagnosis says nothing about suicidal ideation, depression, bipolar disorder, or borderline personality disorder. And the psychologist says outright that Tony didn’t cause her behavior. She chose to make multiple false threats of suicide over the course of 2007-2008 in an attempt to demand Tony’s attention.

    Tony’s NPD prevented him from understanding the effect his absence and career focus was having on his family. Without that understanding, how could he have understood where Julie’s suicidial threats were coming from? So he concluded she was crazy. I think he actually believed that, because, well, who threatens to commit suicide in front of her own children?

    Tony used his conclusion to divert her attention from his affair. That was inexcusable, a lie and a betrayal. And yet Tony was speaking from the truth of his experience when he called her crazy, because that’s how he experienced her behavior.

    To quote again from the court psychologist’s offical conclusions about Julie:

    “This is not to say either has caused the other’s behavior. Rather, it seems that, as in many marriages, this couple’s pre-existing tendencies have become polarized, with each manifesting a greater degree of the behavior than they might if the other had not behaved so oppositely. Each feels betrayed by the other.”

    This just doesn’t read like the tale of a supervillain “NPD” laying waste to all that was right and good. This reads like a tragedy.

  63. Lydia says:

    “The way you describe “an NPD” makes him sound like a comic-book supervillian, capable of nothing but inflicting suffering in the world. ”

    Then I did not communicate well at all. Working with or living with an NPD is sheer hell. I would not wish it on my worst enemy. They are toxic, unhealthy and unsafe. And they often target people who are easy to manipulate for their cover— as yes men or spouses. And that works for a long while until it doesn’t anymore then it gets very ugly.

    BTW: Always communicate with NPD’s in writing. Always. But try your best not to have to communicate with them at all.

    “Tony’s NPD prevented him from understanding the effect his absence and career focus was having on his family. ”

    Poor Tony. Well I guess his “mental illness” should be proof he is not qualified to teach us anything, right? (this is what I have witnessed on the internet from his supporters…his NPD as an excuse for his behavior and we are all mean to discriminate against this “mentally ill” Christian leader. That is called having your NPD cake and eating it, too!)

    George, take a good look at who had the power in the situation (financial, status as police chaplain, minister, Christian celebrity, etc) and who was trying to get some power over the situation however, wrongly? How did that work out? The power imbalance was way off the grid. We would not be having this convo if Julie had been a good little girl and gone along with the NPD no matter what he did, did not do, etc. She could have even covered for his new spiritual wife so he could have his cake and eat it too.

  64. Bill Kinnon says:

    George,
    Your comment doesn’t make me mad. You’ve read but a fragment of the documents and conversations and decided to come to a conclusion on the entire situation. That simply makes you one of many ill-informed people who think they’ve got this all figured out. At a certain point, comments like yours are simply tiresome.

  65. Lydia says:

    “…. and I remember one person suggesting perhaps RHE has been silent on account of a book contract. She reviewed TJ’s book, and there may have been a clause in that agreement which wouldn’t allow her to “undo” the review she gave. It’s possible that speaking out against TJ could be legally construed as “undoing” this review. Please note that this is only hypothesis—RHE could very well just be remaining stubborn for no reason.”

    Hold on tight, Joel. I have actually heard with my own ears another Christian celebrity use the same exact excuse for not publicly responding to another scandal about his “friend in ministry”. The truth was closer to: I have blurbed his other books, shared stages and promoted his books and I will look like an idiot with no discernment.

    Believe me, most of the celebs think they can ride this stuff out. And that is usually true, sadly.

    Here is a clue: When a scandal breaks most contracts based upon image like that are void for obvious reasons. No one is expected to prop up wrong doing because of a contact. The LAST thing the person would want is discovery, anyway. They want it to go away fast— so would most likely not go legal.

    Anyway, There was no good reason for RHE to delete all those comments, block folks on twitter, etc. There was no good reason for her and her husband to be so cruel and condescending to Julie. She would have been better off saying nothing, actually, even though many would have a hard time withh that, too. She just made it worse for herself. There was no good reason to lash out to people on twitter and blogs from her or Nadia. They have made “oppression” their cause celebre’. It totally went against who they said they were.

    I do understand how hard it is to believe people you respected and followed would do such things. There has to be some reasonable explanation we have not been told. Right? That is rare, I assure you. You might not be taking into consideration that their brand of Christianity is their business. Just as Joel Osteen has a business. John Piper has a business. Tony, Rachel, Nadia, Doug Pagitt, McLaren, etc all have a business. It is how they make their living. And they are interconnected in some ways so they are navigating this based upon business and not principles.

  66. Yasmin says:

    From Lydia:

    “https://www.evernote.com/shard/s2/sh/36f91dc4-146b-46f4-ad13-c4557b718b1b/071d7682e9832df6

    Here is a link to what Tony (or someone) put on the whytony site.

    So, the “court urged” them to remove all posts, comments etc they put up and those put up by their proxies. So when they say “court” who exactly “urged ” it? And do courts “urge” or make suggestions?”

    Oh, yes, I remember reading about this. It is Tony trying to get us to remove all our online comments by trying to put that request on the courts. That’s nonsense, of course, the courts couldn’t make us remove our published opinion under any circumstances. We are supposed to be intimidated into silence. That isn’t even a nice try on Tony’s part.

    Again, I don’t know enough about NPD to know whether it makes Tony unable to see the damage he is doing his own reputation by these tactics. Lydia, you have some knowledge about this. How does he see his own actions? How does he assume we see them? Does he really think they help him at all? Is he really unaware of how bad these stunts make him look, or does he realize it but is unable to help himself? Does he assume he can demand of us that we see them as he wishes us to (or that we “refuse” to see them at all), or does he think he can ultimately force us to do so? He’s not a fool, he MUST see how damning all his actions are. I don’t get it, but I don’t have NPD.

  67. It was a total lie that the courts demanded or urged them to get all bloggers, etc., to take down posts and comments. A total lie. A court would not do that who respects freedom of speech.

  68. AnnieBanannie says:

    Hi Luke- I find that really odd. Julie did not travel with, or even attend, functions with Tony after their divorce. This is something both of them seem to be in agreement on.

    So without more information, and clarification from one of them, I’m tentatively leaning to you having got your facts wrong. Though it could be me.

  69. George says:

    Bill Kinnon —

    What have I failed to read? RL Stollar seems to have provided the most complete selection of official documentation. Is there somewhere else I can look for what’s missing?

  70. Joel says:

    Lydia: “Here is a clue: When a scandal breaks most contracts based upon image like that are void for obvious reasons. No one is expected to prop up wrong doing because of a contact. The LAST thing the person would want is discovery, anyway. They want it to go away fast— so would most likely not go legal.”

    This is a really good point. Thanks for putting this into words.

    I hope these folks end up doing the right thing, however late in the game it might be. The evidence is there—they just need to acknowledge it.

  71. Luke says:

    AnnieBanannie, that very well could be. Yet I am about 110% sure, I will check my journal and get back to you. I could be thinking of a Shane Clareborne event in ’10 vs. meeting Jones in ’08 also in Phila. I was in seminary in SE PA from ’07-10 (also the time I found this site) and made a lot of trips to Phila to see speakers like McLaren, Tickle and such. I do know for certain that Jones wasn’t the main speaker when I was there, I just recognized him because I had just read Postmodern Youth Ministry. I’ll double check and get back with you on the specifics.

  72. Caryn LeMur says:

    George: NPD is a tragedy. The bottom line is that we manage certified mental disorders… we do not cure them.

    I like Wikipedia’s summary of NPD (though you can also read the DSM IV and DSM V descriptions on that Wiki page, if you wish):

    “Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a Cluster B personality disorder[1] in which a person is excessively preoccupied with personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity, mentally unable to see the destructive damage they are causing to themselves and to others in the process. It is estimated that this condition affects one percent of the population, with rates greater for men.[2][3] First formulated in 1968, NPD was historically called megalomania, and is a form of severe egocentrism.[4] ”

    So, how can a wife and spouse manage his NPD? I have no idea. I imagine that they would do couple’s marriage counseling every 2 weeks for life.

    I image this kind of conversation, over and over:

    Counselor: “OK. Tony, your wife has just described how much she was wounded by your behavior. Did you hear her?”

    Tony: “Yes. Of course. But I still don’t get how she can be upset with me being gone so long. And, she should own her own damage. I have a schedule to keep. I need that spotlight on me a lot. Without that attention, I feel that I am powerless, a nobody, and someone to ignore.”

    Counselor: “”hmmmmmm…. OK. Tony, your wife also read several posts about how your doctrine of “Two Marriages” was so damaging to many young Christian couples.. they only ‘Sacramentally married’, and later, did not legally marry. So, the wife never had all the Federal and State benefits when they divorced. Did you hear the pain of that reading?”

    Tony: “Yes. Of course. But I still don’t get how anyone can be upset with me being right for so long. And, the readers should own their own damage. I have a schedule to keep. I need that spotlight on me a lot. Without that attention, I feel that I am powerless, a nobody, and someone to ignore.”

    And then, the counselor might suggest that Tony find a new career field, such a celebrity chef on television.

    Tony would then be only gone to the local restaurant to build his career; and then working on home videos for the Internet… then later, he would have TV contracts (a few weeks in the studio each season). He would still have the spotlight that he craves.

    However, the damage to others may be lessened.

    I will post more in just a few minutes.

  73. Caryn LeMur says:

    George: very briefly, I wrote my last post, because I am certified with Gender Identity Dysphoria (GID). I am also diagnosed with PTSD.

    Like Tony, these mental disorders will never leave me. They are part of me. There is no cure. There is only management.

    I wrote the above imaginary conversation based on me.

    You see, a person suffering from the mental disorder of GID cannot see the world that others see. Oh, maybe for a moment. However, we work on making sure that we can see the pain that we cause in ourselves, and in others. But seeing takes time.

    Then, we select a path of management that works for us. And hopefully, minimizes pain for others.

    We have to recognize that our spouses will grieve. Many will divorce us. I understand.

    We with GID, and at times with PTSD, change careers. We have to move to careers that are less triggering for our mental disorders. I changed contracts many times… and am now happily with a company that watches over me (and I watch over their clients, as well).

    Tony has a long ways to go.

    How the Emergent leadership will deal with him, I do not know. However, perhaps they will fund further counseling for Tony and his new wife. Even require couple’s counseling (at the expense of Solomon’s Porch, TJ’s church).

    After all, Tony is an enormous liability to the Emerging church concepts in his present series of sponsoring, speaking, and publishing. His inability to apologize; to cease from destroying others is legendary.

    “Two Marriages” was written by Tony – and is easily seen as “A Manifesto for Church Sanctioned Pre-marital Sex”. The Emerging Movement does not really wish to be known as the next cult.

    As Tony selects a path for managing his mental disorder, perhaps RHE and Nadia and Brian McL, and even Doug Pagitt will watch over him, and assist him on his way.

    New careers are hard to start.

    I will always be with GID. Tony will always be with NPD.

    I was fortunate that I learned to listen to others, and to learn to minimize the damage to myself and to others.

    Tony can learn too.

  74. Serena says:

    Hi George,

    “What have I failed to read? RL Stollar seems to have provided the most complete selection of official documentation. Is there somewhere else I can look for what’s missing?”

    I would say you may want to review the great work being done in documenting the facts of this case by Brad Sargent, The Futurist Guy. He has a webpage devoted to Tony’s horrendous behavior before, during and after his marriage to Julie. In the meantime, I just want you to know that I have spent a great deal of time reading about all that has gone on here and I want you to know that I unequivocally reject your assertion that Julie and Tony are somehow equally to blame for this situation. There are a multitude of reasons for why I would say that not the least of which is the significant imbalance in power between the two and the fact that only one of the two is trying suggest he is qualified to be a Christian leader. To disregard those elements represents a gross misreading of what has been going on here. Tony has all the power and influence and he is trying maintain his leadership position within Christianity. Julie has had no such power base and is not claiming to be something she is not. But, let’s set that aside for now. The part you are falling to fully comprehend, which is not the primary focus of Stollar’s piece, but is even more damming of Tony’s behavior is all that followed in the years since the divorce was finalized (again, see Brad Sargent’s work or read the court records). From almost the moment the divorce was final, Tony Jones has used the court system as a battering ram in a never ending attempt to destroy his ex-wife. He has filed motion after motion after motion to reduce child support and/or flip custody. Almost 3 dozen motions have been filed. Brad Sargent reports that over the past six years Julie has had to suffer through ongoing litigation for all but just 6 months during this entire time period. The onslaught has been relentless and continues even now with no end in sight. Why is this happening? Wouldn’t you think Tony would want to just get on with his life? Isn’t it stressful for him to be heading into court every five minutes? Is he actually enjoying this? His behavior would defy logic and common sense were it not for the pathology that has driven so much of his actions. Because of his NPD, Tony can not help himself. He has his Narcissistic Target (it’s a clinical term, look it up) and Julie is it. She must be destroyed and he will never give up trying. He’ll use every means possible to achieve that end. If it sounds diabolical it is because it is. That’s the sad truth about NPD – it leads to behavior that is evil. To minimize Tony’s role in this by suggesting that both he and Julie are equally to blame only emboldens Tony to continue the abuse he is carrying out through the court system. What he needs now, and for the rest of his life, is for folks to be calling out his bad behavior in no uncertain terms. Like it or not, that is why what is happening here, courtesy of the Naked Pastor, is so very important. Someone has to do this because the silence from Tony’s so-called friends is deafening.

  75. Bridget says:

    Caryn LeMur March 16, 2015 at 11:59 am

    Your entire post is focused on what can be done to help Tony, EV, and those who support Tony.

    The people most hurt by Tony have been Julie and Tony’s children. Why nothing directed to their care and well being?

    It seems you are doing all you can do to manage your life. That is wise and important. You had to be brave to acknowledge and seek help for what you are experiencing. I applaud you. I don’t know if Tony Jones is there yet. I hope he gets there. If not, then people need to be protected from him, since he is unable to regulate himself. That is just a simple fact of reality.

  76. Caryn LeMur says:

    Bridget: I do admit that many of my posts were focused on Tony, and/or his false doctrine.

    And, in this most recent series of posts by me, I have focused on what positive steps the Emerging Movement leaders and Tony Jones can take, especially in light of helping Tony to manage his mental disorder.

    Tony is a victim who has created other victims. The first, I understand; the second, I cannot excuse.

    I do agree that Julie has been hurt by Tony. I assume the children have also. My small assistance to Julie has been in other posts, and in other correspondence that I have held privately.

    Concerning issues of voice being allowed vs. voices being silenced: I am a strong advocate that Jesus instructed the church to speak out against abuses of power, and against blatantly false teaching (as discussed earlier in this thread). I hope to continue to do so.

    My personal focus in most situations is to listen to all parties, to consider the life and words of Jesus in relation to what has been spoken, to speak out with strong gentleness, to never silence my opposition; and to point to sources that can assist with healing others, thoughts that may help encourage others, or paths that can provide reconciliation between others.

    I hope these statements help explain my view of being a Follower of Jesus.

  77. Lydia says:

    “Again, I don’t know enough about NPD to know whether it makes Tony unable to see the damage he is doing his own reputation by these tactics. Lydia, you have some knowledge about this. How does he see his own actions? ”

    I am just a layperson but in my experience with NPD types in celebrity/CEO cirlces is they only know: Win at all costs. They also have the benefit of being somewhat insulated because their positions are in the public domain and about image. It is not like you are sharing a cubicle with them. :o)

    They are not exactly introspective in terms of how am they are affecting others. (Note: Think ofTony’s kid that he did not return because there was something horrible about mom all of a sudden right AFTER she spoke out? Nevermind he had no problem leaving those kids with a “crazy woman” years before) It is about winning if even for that day, that minute. Tomorrow is another day with other strategies.

    I tend to see it as their own brand of organized chaos. Create chaos, keep folks off balance with gaslighting, playing folks off each other, playing the victim and then “fix” the chaos. Think of this irony: He is “saving” his kid right now by “breaking a court ordered agreement” yet at the same time he positions himself as a hero for listening to the “courts urging” to take down all the internet stuff. I am amazed at how many people have missed that. NPD’s make their own rules and are quite bold about it.

    All this takes many forms in different circumstances. What gets me is that they are rarely embarrassed by their behavior and have a tendancy to make comebacks from all sorts of wrong doing because they are bold about changing the narrative. Most of us get sucked in because we tend to think no one would be that bold and a totally guilty liar who manufactured everything…. at the same time. Most of us just don’t think that way. It can take years to figure all this stuff out if you have no clue about NPD.

    I am going to make a big guess here but I would bet that about now, there are some supporting celebs who wish he would go away but would never admit it publicly. They will continue to do damage control where they can and try to make it about the divorce when they cannot delete, moderate and control the venue.

    Unlike some, I wish NPD had never become a “disorder”. NPD’s often mirror people to get what they want in those venues. They have the ability to choose what to mirror. In other words, if they can build big ministries and rule over mega church empires, why do we assume they cannot choose other less damaging options even though they lack empathy?

    NPD’s are never more dangerous than when they are being held accountable.

  78. R.F. says:

    George, if it seems like some of us are overlooking Julie’s behavior in favor of piling on Tony, we’re not. There’s a context here that makes us judge their actions very differently.

    What I read in R.L. Stollar’s reports of both Julie and Tony reminded me of the relationship between my mother and stepfather. My stepfather is a verbally abusive alcoholic with narcissistic tendencies (I wouldn’t consider him full-blown NPD; his addiction drives much of the pathology and he does have his moments of clarity). My mother is also highly reactive and lashes out verbally when she feels she is being attacked. Both of them have been physical with each other on a few rare occasions. My mom’s ways of responding to abuse are (to me), unhelpful and often escalate the situation rather than diffuse it.

    (To clarify, I am an adult and live on my own now)

    My mother is not a perfect person, yet I have no problem pinning most of the blame on my stepdad. Why? Two reasons:

    1. My mom’s bad behavior is almost always in response to his goading her and pushing her buttons. She is rarely this way with other people, and has become less and less like overall this the more she has learned about his condition and how to set healthy boundaries. At times, though, I have literally witnessed him badger her to the point of getting her to yell, and then, once he has gotten her to this point, lower his voice, act calm and collected, and play the “reasonable, rational man” while she is still upset and yelling. He knows how this looks to other people, and has fooled many.

    Most other people, however, have not seen what my stepdad turns into after downing a half bottle of Jaegermeister in the garage, so I am not so easily fooled. Likewise, none of Tony Jones’s defenders truly know what he is like behind closed doors. The children did, and the children requested to live with their mother.

    Julie’s psychological diagnoses are consistent with someone who had been worn down by years of abuse and was grasping after some tiny modicum of control. She can and will (and I think has) gotten better, now that the “problem” is not ever-present in her life. Tony’s diagnosis of NPD tells us that he is just an asshole by nature, and will continue to be an asshole until he is held accountable for his behavior, the only semi-effective treatment for people with NPD. Too bad his so-called “friends” are too afraid of/bewitched by him to do that.

    2. My mom suffers the consequences of her behavior pretty immediately. She hit him once; he called the police on her (the police wanted to arrest him too, for public intoxication, but he was clever enough not to follow them out of the house when they asked him). When he hit her, she only filed a report against him with the DHS. His own (quite wealthy) mother would have bailed him out of jail almost immediately and paid his court fees, so no real lesson learned there, and horrible retaliation to come. He has always been the one with the high income, and holding him fully accountable for how he treated us would have hurt the entire family in the form of us losing that income. Pointing the finger at my mom’s behavior was easier, and only wounded her.

    In Julie’s case, the situation is even worse. Tony has the advantage of his celebrity as well as finances. He already has the trust and support of scads of other powerful people, meaning that while Julie has been reaping the consequences of her mistakes for years, Tony has been free to abuse her, cheat on her, slander her, and sue her into poverty with zero accountability from his so-called “friends.” We don’t need to scrutinize Julie anymore–that’s already been done to death. Now it’s time to shine the light of truth on Tony, and what that light exposes is very, very ugly.

    A final comment: I cannot speak for what went through my mom’s head at her darkest moments, but I was suicidal at the age of twelve because of what was going on in my home.

    And yes, I used it as a tool.

    Not because I’m an “abusive shit,” as you termed it, but because I felt utterly powerless and voiceless, and my life was the only thing I felt I had left to bargain with. Was this rational? Of course not. Was it cruel? Probably, but being abused makes you irrational and desperate. I had asked for help in the form of therapy and medication, but that wasn’t heard or taken seriously, for various reasons, so one day I cut class, marched into the office of my high school, and threatened suicide in front of a very confused and alarmed receptionist. My fear was legitimate–I really did think about suicide, often and in graphic detail. Death seemed like the only way out. Saying it out loud was a cry for help, a desperate one, and even that proved to be only a partial solution.

    My feeling is that Julie had probably been thinking of suicide long before she made her threat, and I can easily imagine the fear and pain and hopelessness swirling like demons around her spirit when she uttered those words. Maybe, while she was still in the fog of thinking that Tony actually cared about her, she expected him to feel something like “holy shit–I need to slow down and take care of my family,” instead of “awesome-I’ll get all kinds of mileage out of this.”

    All this to say, I read the same documents you did, and those same passages, and the only thing I felt as I read them is “God, I hope people don’t misunderstand what was happening here.” But some people will. Just World Fallacy and all that. There will never be a perfect victim.

  79. George says:

    Thank you all for your feedback. I will be continuing to think about this.

  80. Bridget says:

    Thanks for your explanation, Caryn. It’s hard for me to be thinking of reconciliation in regards to the Jones/Emergent/Julie situation. I don’t think reconciliation is even warranted (by Julie) until there has been some acknowledgement by the others that there were serious issues with how Julie was treated by Tony and his supporters.

  81. Yasmin says:

    Thank you, Lydia, and those of you who explained NPD in more detail. Book deals notwithstanding, I can only hope that Tony’s supporters are trying hard in the background to rein him in. They don’t seem to have NPD, so I have to assume that they can see the damage Tony is doing to himself and to them (even if they’re not overly concerned with the damage done to Julie), even if he can’t. The word is spreading and will NOT help their sales, so they’re going to have to do something to stop him, or to cut him loose completely.

    I can and do feel sympathy for someone who is mentally ill, but when he is rational enough to KNOW that he’s harming the innocent, and continues because he’s glad of it, all I can feel is the greatest contempt. I know that’s true for very many people.

  82. Caryn LeMur says:

    Hi Bridget. In my mind, perhaps there is settlement, surrender, and reconciliation. I offer my thoughts:

    In settlement, we purchase peace. That is, I offer to ‘settle’ with my opponent outside of court. Perhaps I agree that his case has merits against me… and thus, I may ‘purchase peace’ by offering to pay his attorney fees, and to provide what he has requested (and generally not provide nor agree to punitive damages against myself). We are still enemies at heart… but we have peace at a social/societal level.

    In surrender, I devastate my opponent until there is no choice but death or miserable surrender. I conquer. I win. I take. We are still enemies at heart… and if I can continue my enforcement, we have peace at a social/societal level (but underneath, there is a tense level of hatred that can reignite).

    In reconciliation, I agree to a process of listening and speaking. I will normally agree to a counselor, to help guide us through difficult discussions. We will meet many times. We will allow each other to speak our thoughts, and to re-engage any aborted grieving process (anger, bargaining, depression, etc.).

    The goal of reconciliation is not settlement nor surrender; the goal is mutual respect and mutual understanding. The goal is to change my heart into a person that no more senses the call to war between us as instruments to kill and destroy; but to sense that you are a valued human being, with a family, sons and daughters… even worthy of long life and blessings. The goal is that I will become your friend (at best), or at least depart from you in peace (at worse). We become no more enemies at heart.

    In settlement, at the societal view, we have a win/win situation for both of us… but at the heart-view, we are still lose/lose.

    In surrender, at the societal view, we have a unstable win/lose situation for both of us… but at the heart-view, we are still lose/lose.

    In reconciliation, at the societal view, there is no win/lose paradigm… it is gone, because the win/lose paradigm leans towards a static moment, and reconciliation is a living process.

    I offer that we measure success if the fallow ground of continuous hatred has been broken, if the rain of mutual listening has been allowed, and the seeds of mutual respect and understanding have been sowed. It may take a season or two… but we sense that peace is growing.

  83. Caryn LeMur says:

    Hmmmm… just to add on, for a moment:

    When Jesus said that His followers should abandon their worshipful gifts at the altar, in order to first be reconciled with the believer that ‘had something against them’…. well, I think Jesus was using a definition of reconciliation similar to mine, above. [See Matt Chapter 5, the first ‘distinctive’ of those that wish to be disciples of Jesus.]

    I hope Jesus wanted something more than just settlement or surrender.

    As best I can recall, Julie has never asked my thoughts on reconciliation. [Tony and I have not corresponded.]

    In my observation of Julie’s posts, she desires reconciliation.

    In my observation of Tony’s posts, he desires surrender.

    Therefore, I see little evidence of Tony seeking reconciliation.

    I hope and pray that Tony will repent.

    I hope and pray that the Emerging Movement will realize that Mark Driscoll represented their first test, and they failed. Yes, Mark was removed, but too many were damaged by Mark, and the church organization dissolved like a house built on sand.

    I hope and pray that the Emerging Movement will now realize that Tony Jones is their second test. At this time, they continue to fail.

  84. Ducatihero says:

    I have been reading through the comments here and a thought has occurred to me about the encounter I had with Brian Mclaren. It was some years ago now when I was young in faith. Although when I asked him about truth and applying it and wasn’t quite fulfilled by his quote of Romance 14 about not distressing your brother, I guess at that time I was more inclined to defer to a leader.

    Reading the comments here has helped me reflect on this and realise that what I hope I would do in a similar situation is engage differently.

    I write after reading your comment above Caryn. Surely if there is to be reconciliation there has to be the right circumstances. If Jones is as reports suggest incapable of relationship then does that not indicate that without significant change on his part then any attempt for them to be together would be setting things up to fail?

    A scene comes to mind from the film 50 Shades of Grey where the powerful and rich Christian Grey describes himself as “50 shades of f****d up just before Annabell finally says no to him and walks away from his control.

    I suppose the power we all have is to what support we give and to whom. If we walk away then leaders have no power. I suppose I am wondering now if there are times when I could be more effectual by standing up to such leaders and effecting change. I guess my fear is that I would not like to become like one of them in doing so. Also, it’s better to choose the battles that you have a chance of winning.

    It seems to me that the strength of the civil rights movement with MLK was in practicing direct action while having love for enemies and forgiveness. Although of course militant citics of this misunderstood it as weakness and enabling oppression by whites. MLK gave an excellent response to this in saying love is powerful an direct action does not make the white man feel comfortable but works on his conscience until he feels shame about his oppression.

    I don’t know the way forward, just some thoughts that have come to my mind as I process this in the light of reading comments.

  85. Caryn LeMur says:

    Ducatihero: I hope Tony Jones is capable of attempting reconciliation. I truly do. However, Tony would not be the first theologian to live in a constant state of war or live with constant insistence on dominating the other party.

    And I like what you wrote about ‘processing’… one of the great gifts of blogs, and especially the comments, is that it helps all of us to see things differently… and then we pause in our race through life, and ask questions once again.

  86. Lydia says:

    RF, Your entire comment was magnificent!

    “My mom’s bad behavior is almost always in response to his goading her and pushing her buttons

    This nails it. Think of years of that. Trying to reason and please. Being gaslighted at every corner. People married to NPD’s ending up not knowing who they are. They break because they DO have a conscience. They often have PSTD. Living with an NPD is like living in a war zone where ambushes are part of every day life. The same with working for one who has great power.

    But it is the “response” to the constant provocations that people remember. It is the response that ends up on legal documents and such. Such responses play right into the hands of the NPD because now you are worse than them. You- are the one with the problem. And you proved it for them.

    I tell people who are living with an NPD type to pretend they are a cold grey rock. Nothing can provoke a rock.

  87. Lydia says:

    BTW: If you know anyone who is in a relationship with an NPD type who is a believer, here is a helpful book I have given to several women. The authors also take on the typical evangelical teaching on divorce and the submission verses.

    http://www.amazon.com/Promise-Despise-Abuse-Marriage-Narcissistic/dp/0615406564

  88. Ducatihero says:

    Thanks Caryn,

    Yes it does help us to practice the pause when we see other views whether it be on blogs or in life in general. I like what you mention about that.

    Of course that does require we accept that none of us has all the answers and for us to have the willingness to experience discomfort to a greater or lesser degree as naturally happens when out core beliefs are challenged. This being the pathway to broadening of horizons and appreciation of previously thought of takes on things are heard.

    When someone is reluctant to join in with condemnation of Driscol, Jones, McLaren etc. it is apparent that it’s not uncommon for such to be perceived as a great evil. However when accusers blame anyone for either being abusive, enabling abuse or being on the side of power and not listening to victims but causing victims further abuse in doing so, I think that is a misunderstanding.

    It seems to me that same course of direct action and love that MLK took with the civil rights movement it available as a choice for all. The militants hate it and say it’s not doing enough. I think that is confusing direct action with pacivity and compliance in the face of oppression. The love for enemies, and practicing forgiveness that Jesus taught is powerful and freeing. Doing this while at the same time pursuing justice and release for the oppressed has an effect on the conscience of the oppressor in them feeling shame. This makes it painful and fearful for them to continue with oppression.

    I hope with you that Jones is able to reconcile. However at the same time, your are right to say that many are in a constant state of war and domination of others. Not unlike ex-servicemen experiencing the effects of war some tragically never find freedom from that. Instead going from relationship to relationship, job to job self-medicating with alcohol, self-harming, harming others etc. Perhaps like the character Christian Grey in 50 shares of Grey he himself was abused as a child and masked with achievement, status, money, power and control over others some childhood trauma has gone addressed and he is incapable of healthy relating for now, showing up in the psychological reports as a disorder. If so, I hope he does have the humility to let help in, that God grants him repentance and Julie gets what she would like with reconciliation and a husband that will love her as Christ loves the church as it incumbent on a husband who is a follower of Christ.

  89. Ducatihero says:

    Lydia,

    I am surprised, I find myself agreeing with you.

    What you say about a rock with the advice you give sounds not dissimilar to what Jesus talked of with guarding your heart and elsewhere in scripture being strong in the Lord with truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, Spirit and reserving tenderness of heart and connection for people who relate healthily.

    That might or might not change the behaviour of a warmonger but instead them inflicting wounds it will cause them to encounter the fear of God, which they should! That’s real empowerment and security for anyone who otherwise would be a victim.

  90. Caryn LeMur says:

    Ducatihero: I am wondering about your reference to Martin Luther King (MLK).

    Tongue in cheek:

    Are you truly suggesting we hold a public march, risk dog attacks by police, being knocked down by fire hoses, and garner national television in order to bring attention to Tony’s alleged systemic abuse?

    Are you truly suggesting that we hold a gathering at the Washington DC ‘mall’, stand in front of monuments, and proclaim that there shall be a day, a dream, wherein no person with certified Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) will be able to dominate others within the ministry, or within the home?

    I personally prefer the Internet.

    Here, within this virtual ‘March for Peace’ of the Internet, we are able to ask for evidences. People point us to the many links detailing the alleged abuse against the person of Julie, Tony’s abuse of power and money in court, Tony’s abuse of the Bible’s intent and scriptures, and Tony’s abuse of relationships in shutting down voices (such as done by Rachel Held Evans).

    Here, within this virtual ‘mall’, we are able to speak of a day, a dream, wherein Tony can learn to manage his NPD without damaging other human beings, or destroying the institution of marriage by his false doctrine.

    And here, within the Internet, we are able to study each other’s opinions, evidences, and determine for each of us the next steps we should personally take.

    Here, within the Internet, you are able to offer your thoughts on a mixture of social justice (MLK style), Jesus’ love of enemies and practice of forgiveness, and can mention pursuing justice and release for the oppressed.

    Here, within the Internet, I am able to point out that I would not recommend following the MLK style, I would recommend following Jesus’ example for loving enemies while speaking against them (see Matt chapter 23), and Jesus’ style of forgiving people while overturning the tables of those that let profit dictate their Christianity.

    And yes, I might also point out that we should ‘make a thorough investigation’ of the evidences [Deuteronomy 19:18] of false doctrine, alleged abuse of Julie, silencing tactics by the Emerging Movement, and manipulation of court and law.

    And I may also point out the verses on Justice concerning Julie:

    “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.
    Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” [Proverbs 31]

    Only on the Internet, can such a Christ-like approach, even be attempted.

  91. Luke says:

    It was 2008 in Phila where I first met Jones, but I’m unsure if it was Julie or the spiritual wife at that time. My memory tells me Julie, but who knows. So I admit my uncertainty on what I once was certain about. I do know that I came away with the feeling that “Tony Jones is a strange dude.” cause I wrote that in ’08 in that journal entry.

    I’m learning so much about this and what I’m finding is troubling. And yet I find myself wondering about reconciliation. What would that look like? We know that God is just but we also know about grace. How do these two things come together in a situation like this? Or do we just say Tony is the bad guy and we’re done with him and Julie is the good gal and we side with her. I don’t think reality is that simple or is it the reality we’re called to in the example of Christ. So I’m left wondering how we bring about a beloved community in the midst of this. Thoughts?

  92. Bridget says:

    Refresh to see the newer comment.

  93. Caryn LeMur says:

    Hi Luke: you may wish to read my comments above. Bridget and I had a small exchange of thoughts concerning reconciliation. Likewise, Ducatihelo and I had a small exchange of thoughts.

    In my opinion, much depends on how a person defines ‘reconciliation’. When I read that ‘God was in Christ reconciling the world’, then I lean towards studying how Jesus reconciled during his earthly life: he spoke his mind, he listened, he showed great respect towards those that sought him, he showed no respect towards those that sought to make profit their conscience, and no respect to those that abused spiritual position or trust.

    Therefore, I have moved far away from the ‘righteous suffering’ model of reconciliation. This model normally orders the woman to submit to the man (as their foundational premise). Thus, the husband will listen, make a few changes, and demand she submit to his abuse again.

    I also have moved far away from the ‘ignore and avoid’ model of reconciliation. This model normally applies to a church institution, and insists the church say ‘this is none of our business’, and ‘this is best handled by professionals’.

    I have already posted my thoughts on person-to-person reconciliation, and its process.

    Allow me to offer thoughts on church-institution-reconciliation with individuals and the general community (of believers or non-believers):

    I lean towards the following:

    The Emerging Church community should condemn the use of legal courts as warfare. Thus, they should condemn the many over-uses of the legal system done by Tony Jones. This can be accomplished author-by-author, and thus, spare their reputations from the charge of having an obvious lack of integrity.

    The Emerging Church community should be open to allowing the voices of women that state their abuse. Instead, Rachel Held Evans ‘hid’ a number of comments on her website begging her to have nothing to do with JoPa Group (Tony JOnes is the Jo in JoPa). She hid the voices, rather than take a stand to (at a minimum) simply allow the voices to continue. Therefore, if Rachel Held Evans is too weak to handle this, other Emerging authors should form a joint website that allow such postings. This would ensure that we are allowing all voices to speak and engage in discourse.

    [The sad joke has been the Rachel Held Evans is co-leading the ‘Why Christian Conference’… why Christian indeed, in light of her behaviors. However, RHE may have been simply overwhelmed, weak, and frightened by the postings… her husband came to her rescue, as I recall, and announced the ‘hiding’ of FaceBook comments. Other stronger Emerging church authors may wish to come to her rescue and work together to say, ‘never again will we say we are advocates for women, and then hide their pleading’.]

    Because the Emerging Church is a loose-knit community, I offer that Solomon’s Church (Tony’s church) should investigate the allegations against Tony. Then, publish their report on the Internet along with the evidences. While Solomon’s Porch has no power to invoke church-based sanctions against Tony Jones, their supplying the evidences to the Internet community, their interviews, and their conclusions, would do much to save their reputation as a non-cultic group. This would be in keeping with ‘making a thorough investigation’ [Deut 18]

    The point is not that they ‘take sides in a civil matter’, but that they honor the concept of community, Christ-likeness, honesty and integrity to the believing and non-believing communities.

    Equally, because Solomon’s Church is Tony’s Church, they should condemn law warfare. It is my opinion that Tony Jones is engaging in law warfare (based on the number of cases/motions he has introduced to the courts against Julie McMahon, his first wife). After condemning the use of law as warfare, then Solomon’s Porch should pay for any future defense needed by Julie, or needed in the future by other people or organizations. This would be in keeping with ‘bear one another’s burdens and thus keep the law of Christ’ [Gal 6]

    Sincerely; Caryn

  94. I just posted the final segments in my site on Diagnosing the Emergent Movement. You’ll find the purposes and an expanded table of contents on page 00, and a lot of source links and analysis throughout.

    Perhaps the most intriguing and surprising page was the final one I wrote, page 12 Toxicology: Conclusions and Recommendations. After weeks of developing pages and pages of material, I ended up going with my gut and a relatively short article. That was a surprise, but a Spirit-led one, I trust.

    Anyway, the saga is likely not at all over, but here is my contribution to helping people hopefully understand better the overall context of the institution of Emergent/Progressive Christianity, and some of the people and controversies involved.

    https://diagnosingemergent.wordpress.com/

  95. Lydia says:

    “When I read that ‘God was in Christ reconciling the world’, then I lean towards studying how Jesus reconciled during his earthly life: he spoke his mind, he listened, he showed great respect towards those that sought him, he showed no respect towards those that sought to make profit their conscience, and no respect to those that abused spiritual position or trust.”

    This. Is. It.

    “Therefore, I have moved far away from the ‘righteous suffering’ model of reconciliation. ”

    You have been able to articulate exactly where I am in all this. It is shocking how many “religious leaders” are convincing people that to suffer injustice and/or cruelty from another believer will make them more pious or Holy or whatever. They position the “suffering” from such treatment from a fellow believer as a good thing.

  96. Rob Grayson says:

    Tweeted by Rachel Held Evans yesterday:

    “I consider defending the dignity of the marginalized part of defending the gospel.”

    …except where it might affect book sales.

    Can you say “cognitive dissonance”?

  97. SCH says:

    Seems to me that everyone who has a story to tell now a days just writes a book. I think Julie should tell her own story on her own terms. I would buy that book.

  98. SCH says:

    Seems to me that everyone who has a story to tell now a days just writes a book. I think Julie should tell her own story on her own terms. I would buy that book.

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