ABUSERS & THEIR TACTICS, Learn to Discern, Spiritual Bullies

Learn and Discern: Pastor Jim Standridge and His Bully Pulpit

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For the past five years, I’ve been “choir mom” at two different high schools.  This volunteer gig consists of going to class each day, doing sectionals (this is when we split into groups to learn their choral parts, ie, “altos” or “tenors”, etc,), accompanying on the piano, etc.  I also am an extra set of ears and eyes which means I get to confiscate forbidden cell phones, tell them to quit chatting, tell them when something is off-pitch,  off rhythm, doesn’t have good tone, etc.

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JA doing her thang at the piano with her choir students.

When the teacher is gone, an official substitute comes to the class, but I take over the class doing what the teacher would normally do.  I love doing this.  I’m more strict than the teacher.  In fact, I kick butt.  I don’t tolerate talking out of turn or spontaneous potty breaks – nope, not on my watch.

These are high school students, for crying out loud.  In just a few short years, they will be launched into adulthood.   I can’t stand lazy students who think they are coming to choir as if it is a basket-weaving class.  Because of my relationship with them, I know their musical potential and dang it, I want to see them work hard so they can see and hear excellent results.  Some of the kids are lazy and don’t want to work hard.  Teaching music and having high expectations is not about me trying to be their friend.  If that happens in the long run, fine, but my first job is to help them to sing well and enjoy music by instilling in them a good work ethic and an ear for good choral music.

My height can be intimidating and I use to my advantage.  Hmm, am I a bully?  But those kids who know me best know that I’m a softy inside.  They finally realize that choir is cool and it’s much more rewarding to work hard and get good results.  By the end of the school year, they usually are sad to leave, they plaster my Facebook wall with sweet notes and I know we’ve succeeded in transforming their school choral experience from taking choir as an extra filler class to taking choir because it’s a great musical skill to have which can last a lifetime, and the relationships are the cherry on top.  Just today on our choir Facebook group there are a couple of kids whining about missing each other.  Good grief, they are pathetic kids.  I might have to do something about that.

Well, there’s another guy who wants good results from his people.  He’s tough and doesn’t mince words.   He yells out from his position of authority.  He says he loves them.  His name is Pastor Jim Standridge.  There’s a video spreading around and going viral.  I’ve lost count of how many e-mails I’ve received on this particular video.  Maybe you’ve seen it.

I’m telling you, if you ask my choir kids how I treat them in sectionals, they will tell you I am a drill sergeant.  Even the choir director refers to me as such because I point out their mistakes and drill with them until they succeed in fixing mistakes.

But is it okay to be a drill sergeant as a pastor?  Is it okay to call out congregants’ sins from the pulpit?

I don’t know.  This sounds familiar to me.  From the piano, I yell out to the kids that they are flat or sharp.  I don’t beat around any bushes.  Should the school fire me from my volunteer job because I am singling out someone?  Am I destroying their self-esteem?   I don’t know, for some reason, they keep allowing me to come back and my Facebook friends list keeps growing.

Let’s read about this pastor and his antics from this Christian Post article:

A video excerpt of a sermon by Jim Standridge, senior pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Skiatook, Okla., has gone viral on the Internet, inspiring hundreds of comments about the Christian minister storming from the pulpit during his message to admonish a congregant for falling asleep and then calling out other worshippers, one of whom he decries as “the sorriest church member I have.”

After hearing that a video of his sermon has gone viral, Standridge responded to the Christian Post “that he could not care less what a few strangers on the Internet think about his message. The minister insisted that he held no anger toward online commenters.”

“It was a family meeting, not a national meeting,” he told CP, adding that his May 19, 2013, sermon was full of grace and love. “But you can’t judge a man by one message.”

Why has the video gone viral?  Here’s more of Standridge:

The preacher, who had declared that he was there “representing the king of kings and lord of lords,” again picks up his message to the general congregation, but at 40 minutes into his remarks, Standridge appears to lose all patience with the young man who again had nodded off.

Storming from the pulpit, Standridge says, “Don’t you lay your head. I’m important, I’m somebody.”

“Now you might do your English teacher that way, but I’m not teaching English, I’m teaching eternal life here,” he adds. “I love you. You know I love you. Have I convinced you that I love you?”

In the video, Standridge appears to physically help the young man lift his head.

“You say, ‘Well, he may never come back.’ Well he aint’ here now,” Standridge says afterward as he walks between the main aisle separating the pews. The minister then calls out a man whose wedding he was to officiate and declares him “the sorriest church member” who is “not worth 15 cents,” presumably because he has been absent from church. Standridge follows up the open rebuke with a bear hug and tells the man he loves him.

As he heads back to the pulpit amid a quiet congregation, the minister says, “You can’t get this at any other church in town. Now y’all don’t want me, all you got to do is tell me. We won’t have a church fight.”

After stating how he and his wife have no problem packing up and finding another church to guide, Pastor Standridge says, “But I’m not interested in recreating the prostitute of the church.”

Here is the video.    Is this a loving pastor?  Am I a loving choir mom?    What’s the difference? Does he want his congregants to be the very best they can be just as I want my choir students to be their very best?  See for yourself and tell me what you think.  Darn, too bad I don’t have a video of me in action to compare the two of us side by side. 🙂

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77 thoughts on “Learn and Discern: Pastor Jim Standridge and His Bully Pulpit”

  1. Well, I don’t know what you say to your choir kids, but I highly doubt you tell them that they’re the sorriest singers you’ve ever seen, or guilt tripped them into what they’d do if they love you.

    Good lord, Jim Strandridge is a narcissist who has no clue what the word love actually means.


  2. I do tell them when they are singing poorly. I do tell them they deserved a poor ranking when adjudicators grade them harshly. But I don’t guilt trip – that’s true.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As a former chorale singer and present guitarist/singer, the question that needs to be asked is what is the basis of the group? A choir or band is based on performance, and only stringent critique from others and self will bring the best from practice to performance. Is a church really supposed to be a performance-based group? It seems that way in some churches (especially when they get a sermon on tithing! lol), but Christ doesn’t demand performance to gain salvation. In fact, many allegories concerning our relationship with God are based on our poor performance.


  4. That’s the makin’ of a great cult leader, right there, yes ma’am. Le’me tell ye: you can’t get good comments like this anywhere else — that’s for sure right there.

    He’s a control freak, with a lot of other issues going on, I’m sure.


  5. From the website of Immanuel Baptist Church of Skiatook, Jim Standridge’s church:
    “Dr. Jim Standridge is not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill pastor. When it comes to preaching a gospel of change and higher living, we are not engaged in a run-of-the-mill relationship. Bro. Jim’s style is Spirit-led, encouraging, and practical, engaging the believer in matters of the heart and barring no word in confronting the follower of Christ on issues of sin and iniquity. Bro. Jim toes the line, counsels with the Word of God, and has a heart for God and the church.”

    That non-run-of-the-mill relationship has a lot of the same dynamics as a physically abusive relationship.


  6. First, that Rockcitytimes link in the comment at 3:06 is a parody news site for those unfamiliar with it. (Think of The Onion)

    Second, this pastor is so arrogant. It’s all about him. “If you loved me and submitted to me.” He seems to think that he’s responsible for anything good that has happened in this church. What about God and the working of His holy spirit? It seems like Standridge has his panties in a wad over some goings on, and takes it upon himself to rebuke everyone in public. The Bible says to first go to someone in private.

    The man who he said isn’t worth 15 cents quit going to church. No surprise there.

    And, Julie Anne, I just could never imagine you being tyrannical with your students in this way. I had strict teachers, too. But they never beat me over the head about how worthless I was. And, students usually didn’t get called out publicly unless they misbehaved publicly.


  7. BTDT – – Ahhh, good point. When I go to choir it is not about me, it’s about them and their music progress. You’re right, he was putting a lot of attention on himself.

    Thanks for the clarifying the other link was a parody. I was thinking the poor mom had postpartum depression with little support.


  8. The guy is an arrogant bully, a narcissistic jerk, and a bold manipulator that doesn’t even bother to camouflage his manipulation. When men begin lifting themselves up as ” the answer ” with this attitude of here I am the all spiritual god like puppet master to fix you, RUN. Personally I could see the guy getting sued for malpractice and losing big. I wonder how low the self esteem is of these church members that return for this kind of abuse. Makes me sick.


  9. The toughest teacher I had in high school was the choir director. She stood for nothing. Except when she was conducting, ha-ha.

    I sent the video to my brother, an ex-pastor. He could hardly believe it, and hoped that he was no longer a pastor.


  10. I understand his frustration with the state of the Church, “recreating the prostitute” as he calls it. But I think a lot of pastors are seeking popularity in their preaching, more than the promotion of Christ. I don’t know if that’s what he’s doing, but either way, I don’t think this is an effective way to wake people up to the declining state of the Church and Christianity in Amercia Today.


  11. sorry, didn’t read ja’s post. . just had time to watch the video and scan the comments. . actually i only watched up to 1:15. . UNBELIEVABLE—not so much this spiritual retard berating his subjects, but the DUMB SHEEPLE who just let him yak on like that. . i can’t believe not one person. . nevermind. . if i were in the room WAY before we reached the one minute mark of this video monax would have Stood Up and Shouted that man down. . that pastor has mistaken a loud mouth with spiritual authority. .


    flip’n unbelievable!

    and at 1:15 that old fart he could hardly stand. . he certainly wouldn’t have stood up to Anyone with an ounce of righteous anger and spiritual authority. . and i mean anyone


  12. “that he could not care less what a few strangers on the Internet think about his message…”

    Does Standridge understand what going viral means?
    Nearly 1/2 million views on YouTube, who knows how many more off websites, news outlets and Facebook.

    Does he believe his actions have eternal consequences?
    What about here and now consequences?
    His words and behaviour didn’t go viral because he is the greatest thing since sliced bread.


  13. Great Kick Butt Post, Julie Anne!

    great comments too

    you know, BTDT, even going to them privately (in Matt 18 fashion) would have been just as perverse an abuse. . i mean, really—there’s no sin in falling asleep or missed church attendance. I’m glad he did this openly on camera so he’s outed to the world and the rest of the church.

    Good shepherds build up, they don’t tear down. . O goodness. . what’s so sad is to see all those pews filled with dead people


  14. Great comment, monax, you’re absolutely right. Calling out sin should be done orderly and in private first.

    BD said:
    “Does he believe his actions have eternal consequences?
    What about here and now consequences?
    His words and behaviour didn’t go viral because he is the greatest thing since sliced bread.”

    That’s such a good point. What has he modeled to the world? Seeing this kind of thing makes people not want to even try to go to church. Who wants to walk into this?


  15. but for a pastor to call out “sin” where there is no sin—whether done openly or in private—is a severe sin itself. . a spiritual abuse


  16. First off this pastor isn’t all that – despite what he says in his mind to himself. Its rude, and what he did was unbiblical. You want to be all fancy pants about people sleeping during your service? You do it the proper way – Matt 18. You certainly don’t act worse then they did.

    I’m currently working on an article using this ‘sermon’ portion, because people seem to forget that there are many aspects of modesty – he just blew that aspect right out of the water. Your heart, attitude, behavior, mindset etc is all part of it. His immodest behavior should be called out. His ‘clothing’ maybe proper, but his presentation is immodest in every sense of the word.


  17. ” Pastors should not complain about their congregation, certainly never to other people, but also not to God. Congregations have not been entrusted to them in order that they should become accusers of their congregations before God and their fellow human beings. When pastors lose faith in a Christian community in which they have been placed and begin to make accusations against it, they had better examine themselves first to see whether the underlying problem is not their own idealized image, which should be shattered by God. And if they find that to be true, let them thank God for leading them into this predicament. But if they find that it is not true, let them nevertheless guard against ever becoming an accuser of those whom God has gathered together. Instead, let them accuse themselves for their unbelief, let them ask for an understanding of their own failure and their particular sin, and pray that they may not wrong other Christians. Let such pastors, recognizing their own guilt, make intersession for those charged to their care. Let them do what they have been instructed to do and thank God.”
    – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together


  18. I’m being lazy at the moment, is there a contact email for this pastor? Not that I necessarily think that any of us would be heard, but it does seem more constructive to directly confront someone (lovingly) in something like this rather than just be outraged by it.


  19. Daving obviously being the act of having notebooks full of awesome and timely quotes. Named for David (don’t call him Dave). Also referred to as being monaxic .


  20. Oops. I’m on my phone commenting and I am very bad with typos on the tiny keyboard. I saw and fixed my typo before reading this, but after reading this I’m going to put the typo back. Lol. You’re hilarious.


  21. Yeah, Dallas, I Davided it myself in my quote file.

    and you know, ja, only Fred Butler get’s to call me “Dave” and get away with it.

    btw, i get all my great Bonhoeffer quotes and more from my buddy Dallas.


  22. ja, i sometimes wish i could go back and edit some of my less than happy accidents here. . and, yes, Dallas is one of my friends who sometimes reads here. . he’s been a real source of strength and wisdom for me. . i appreciate him immensely


  23. I actually had to Dave that myself. I had to find that one the (new) old fashioned way. Old fashioned because I had to look it up in the book itself. New because I looked it up in the digital version on my cell phone and googled to copy and past the quote.

    He goes on to say later that spiritual love “will encounter the other with the clear word of God and be prepared to leave the other alone with this word for a long time. It will be willing to release others again so that Christ may deal with them.” We, whether we are a pastor or not, are not meant to reach out and beat people into submission, but to bring them into contact with the truth of scripture and let Christ “deal with them”.

    As far as someone falling asleep during a sermon, I would wonder if the true servant’s heart wouldn’t more likely err on the side of concern than taking offense. If it was someone (maybe a teenager) that was simply bored it might lead you to thinking about how you could better engage this segment of your congregation. Otherwise I would possibly wonder whether there might be a good (or potentially troubling) reason why this person might not be getting adequate rest.


  24. Monax @7:56,
    You’re right. Even for a pastor to speak to someone privately the issue had better be what the Bible considers sin- not just falling asleep in church.

    This video was pretty triggering for me (I saw it first on a news app). Ministers in my former church would call people out in Sunday services for falling asleep. And people were regularly called out in small group meetings, and yelled at, for perceived attitudes. I once had a minister up in my face, yelling, jumping up and down, and shaking his finger at me because I failed to find a book at the church offices for the literature they were writing. I “volunteered” 20 hours a week to serve this church. Jim Standridge is every bit as abusive as what I’ve seen before.

    “Good shepherds build up, they don’t tear down.” Amen to that.


  25. It is fine either way. It seems that on the computer I can log in an number of ways, but it only wants to let me log in under my wordpress id on my cell.


  26. BTDT, although i fully read ja’s post and all the comments here. . i did not go back to watch the video. . (and last evening i only watched it to the 1:15 minute mark) . . that thin slice of him was enough to know what he is. . if i would have heard his voice again he’d probably trigger my anger and a phone call. . (found the church’s number on their website)

    i’m sorry for you and everyone else in your former church. . even as a boy i would have spoken up to abusive bullies like this. . that kind of behavior is not CHRISTIAN.

    Are our churches really this sick to allow for such unchecked wolfishness?


  27. David, I was reading, either on here or another blog, about the idea of a clergy/laity distinction, and the thought that cam to mind is that the so called laity is probably just as guilty for perpetuating that distinction as the so called clergy is. We have both a group of people that crave control, and a group of people who despise personal responsibility. It’s the same way that dictators often come to power, they promise to take care of things that we would rather not have to deal with ourselves (like reading our bible, caring for the poor, or discipling our friends and family) the price is simply giving up some power and control.

    If someone has the quote I would appreciate it, but I remember someone saying that if we are not confronting the idols of our day we are not truly preaching the gospel. There are many idols within the culture today, but few are worshiped as much as comfort. The comfortable christian is empowering the wolves in the pulpit.


  28. Dallas, my friend, you know me too well. . . I don’t know if you’ll remember me confessing to you some time back that as I examined my own heart for idols I recognized the one I had given myself to was the idol of comfort. . . It has been of late that I’ve come to truly realized (via trust and obedience) that my only abiding comfort is Christ, being led by His Comforter

    just got your phone call. . we’ll continue this with beer cooking out next to the pool. .

    see you in a minute

    here’s what you may have been referring to: PxP’s host Michael Newnham:

    My Philosophy of Reform: Why do I encourage dialog with Calvary Chapel pastors?

    Michael writes:

    The only path to reform is the same as in a Southern Baptist church or one of the multitude of other independent churches loosely affiliated under some brand.

    One pastor at a time.

    One congregant at a time.

    Change in the free market church will only come when pastors are persuaded to insure accountability and congregants are educated in their biblical rights and responsibilities and the warning signs of abusive leadership.


  29. i should have posted a WARNING

    SSB is a “safe” place.

    PxP, however, exists as a “bully culture” and is the haunt of a few unchecked wolves, so be warned if you enter into their community with your comments.

    I consider it to be an “unsafe” place.


  30. Eric Fry mentioned Peter Rollins in another thread. As I Didn’t know who Peter Rollins was I looked him up and found his blog. His current post fits most perfectly with our above comments:

    He provides a video illustration beneath this introduction:

    We Are The Naked Emperor: On Not Wanting to Know What We Know
    posted 28/6/13

    One of Hans Christian Anderson’s most famous short stories is The Emperors New Clothes. It concerns a vain Emperor who loves nothing more than wearing the finest of clothes. So he hires a couple of charlatans who convince him that they can make make the most beautiful outfit made from an exclusive material that is invisible to all but the smartest and most noble. The Emperor’s advisors can’t see the material, but they pretend so as not to look stupid or unfit for their office. The Emperor also afraid of looking like an idiot also goes along with the charade.

    Eventually the fraudsters finish the suit, “dress” the Emperor and let him parade around the kingdom. The townsfolk also play along with the pretense, not wanting to appear stupid. But there is a child in the crowd who blurts out that the Emperor is wearing nothing at all. Something that exposes the foolishness to everyone, who begin to laugh and mock. The Emperor also suspects the truth, yet continues his procession.


  31. When the pastor concludes with, “I feel better now,” I think that gives us an indication about the difference between bullying and helpful (healthy) choir-mom-critique. Do you fuss, critique, or yell in order to feel better yourself? Are you acting out of a desire to express your own frustration? Is your motivation personal satisfaction or are you driven to help your youth?

    It becomes bullying in the moment when this pastor slips from holding people accountable for their edification into fussing at them for his own relief or need to “feel better.” As a leader, parent, teacher, coach or pastor, what you say in that role of authority should NEVER EVER be about how YOU feel. It should be what will encourage, challenge, support and hold accountable the members, youth, children or peers whom you aim to lead. (Yes, it’s OK to find places to express your frustration and feelings – but not to the people you’re trying to lead, not to your kids! That is part of what a decent therapist, friend, coach or supervisor should offer you!)

    I don’t know you, but because you are asking the question, I bet you are acting out of love and concern, not out of your own frustrations. And that is the vital difference. (Thank you for your service!)


  32. Great distinctions, Audrey (welcome to the blog, by the way!).

    You are right – – my desire is for them to be all they can be musically and as a person. It’s not really about me. What’s cool, though, is that once the kids figure out that it’s all about them, the blessings come back to me. Funny how that works. I adore those kids . . . . . and despite my bluntness and “rudeness”, they know I am pushing them for their own good. I can’t wait for school to start up again, I miss them like crazy.


  33. Church is not supposed to be about him, or the people. Period. Saying, “I’m Important, I’m somebody”. Who does this man think he is? The Messiah? PSH! I think he is way out of line both is his position as a minister and personally. I wouldn’t let my mother tell me I’m patheic and “not worth 15 cents”. He’s a self-glorified lunatic


  34. “My height can be intimidating and I use to my advantage.” And, you find this acceptable? You don’t have to be a tyrant to get results. You don’t have to be a “drill sergeant” to get results. My husband is a high school teacher, and never once has he acted in the way that you describe. He commands respect, not because of what he says, but because of the way that he conducts himself. He remembers what he was like when he was their age. He remembers that we are parents of past and present teens. He treats his students with respect and dignity, and rarely has discipline problems. He treats in the same way that he was wants to be treated (Matthew 7:12). That “pastor” is an absolute joke. How does anyone know why the guy was sleeping? Maybe he was sick during the night, or up with a sick person. That is irrelevant. The Bible speaks of Jesus being the Good Shepherd, and that the shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. This guy is an abusive windbag. And, your drill sergeant ways are no better, “teacher.” Why is is that immature students have to divine and see through a veneer of a person who uses her height to intimidate in order to know that you love and care for them? You’ve got it backwards, sister.


  35. Cathy – Trust me, the kids know beyond the shadow of a doubt that I love them and care for them. If that weren’t the case, I wouldn’t have a ridiculous number of young choir friends on Facebook over the last 5 years (they invite me, I have a policy to never befriend a young student).

    And drill sergeant? You better believe it. They don’t want to work. They want to settle for a place that feels comfortable and good to them. They don’t realize what potential they have, but I do. So I push them. And we may in fact go over a particular section 10 times in a row until they get it. Is this cruel? Heck no, it’s showing them how to pay attention to detail, to have a critical musical ear, to strive for musical excellence. It paid off last year. Last year was the first year in the school’s history that Concert Choir achieved “Superior” grading at festival. That was an amazing accomplishment. This was a beginning non-auditioned choir and they competed with audition-level advanced choirs. That doesn’t happen without hard work.

    The proof is in the pudding and I have that on two counts: great musical results and kids who want me to be a part of their lives.

    Again, this is not about me, this is about them – – pushing them to be all that they can be, musically, as citizens, as part of a community.


  36. Cool, but “great musical results” don’t necessarily mean that the “proof is in the pudding.” People who act as Svengalis may get “good” results, but that is a far cry from success. You can beat people into submission, but so what? I am not intimating that you’re beating the students, but to equate success with being a drill sergeant is, in my view, to be short-sighted. Again, to use my husband as an example–he teaches AP and honors Chem…he is diligent, kind, willing to bump up a kid’s’ grade who works hard but whose test scores may not be reflective of that hard work, and doesn’t take himself too seriously. He managed to be all those things, and by the grace of God (don’t ever forget to factor that in, JA, when talking about all your proof), his students scored a 4.6 average on the AP exam. For that, we praise God. And, as I always say, even though we have given it everything that we’ve got as parents, if our kids turn out to love God and walk in His ways, it is DESPITE our parenting, and by His grace alone.

    Monax,, she said that her height can be “intimidating,” and that she uses it to her advantage. Doesn’t sound like a gentle giant to me.


  37. Fwiw, we have an enormous dog in our neighborhood, a black Great Dane about the height of a small horse. . he looks VERY intimidating, but actually—if you get to know him—you’ll find he’s one of the most gentle of God’s creatures. . Big Dog would slobber all over me if i gave him the green light.


  38. Cathy – I wish I had had your husband for Advanced Chemistry, the class in which I had the most trouble in HS. However, I’m not sure that “grade bumping” is a good idea, no matter how hard the student works. The grade is supposed to reflect the competency of the student, not how hard he/she works. Otherwise, it gives a false impression of that competency. And the student may expect it to work that way in the outside world.


  39. Correction: I don’t know you at all. I am merely responding to what YOU wrote. I mean, c’mon, you’re on the internet talking about using your height to intimidate, how you “kick butt,” and how you “get to confiscate cell phones.” You sound like a cop that I know that finds it “fun” to write tickets. Now you want to walk it back. Fine. But don’t expect that when you talk like a tough guy there isn’t going to be pushback. Sheesh.


  40. JA, is this class an elective? `Cause back in my day, when there’d be a substitute—we’d clear the chairs and play dodge ball! Or get a poker game going on in the corner.

    This is what we’d have to say about you, ja: “O No, it’s the mean substitute, Mrs Smith. She kicks our butts and makes us sing and won’t give out the hall pass! Grief. . .”


  41. That’s okay, Cathy, I purposely wrote it that way. I do kick butt. Ask my choir students. I do get to confiscate cell phones. That’s what teachers do. So what? My height is what it is and without doing anything but walk in a room, my height intimidates. Grown men are intimidated by me. Is it fair for them? Is it fair for me? Should I complain to God? It is what it is. Eventually, people learn to look past the height, beyond the fact that I work them hard, and see my heart. I used me as an example because clearly there must be a difference between me being tough with students and this pastor who is being tough. I wanted my readers to point out the differences because I know how they defend themselves.


  42. Jeff, I don’t think that grades necessarily reflect the “competency of the student.” There is much room for grace. My husband isn’t unfair, and keeps the integrity of the class, but he also believes there is wiggle room. He teaches at a high-performing school in an affluent area, where students try to get into four-year schools that are the best (whatever that means in secular education). If a student is on the bubble, he will do everything that he can to help them with their grade, i.e., looks for points that he may have missed, etc. If grades are TRULY a reflection of “competency,” then what about the curve? Should participation points be a part of a grade if the grade is solely to show “competency?” What about accepting late work (as my husband does)? Each teacher has their own grading policy, as well. I don’t want to go too far afield (and I fear that I already have), and hijack this blog, so I’ll stop. Bottom line–a teacher has leeway when it comes to grading, and grace can be factored in. The letter of the law isn’t always the answer.


  43. Yes, it is an elective. Kids by nature are lazy. Shoot, I’m lazy. But there is nothing like the sense of accomplishment when a team works hard and achieves the goal. Now that they have tasted that kind of success because of their musical excellence, they are starting to naturally push themselves harder. My bullying paid off 😉


  44. i think kids “by nature are lazy” only if what they’ve been forced to do is BORING! (sorry for shouting there, sis, but i don’t think kids are lazy by nature.)

    and if i had to go back to school again i’d want to go to one of those institutions that have NO grades nor locked-in Paths for my personal Education. . fwiw, i hated public school for the life it took from me et al.


  45. monax – –

    That’s a good point about boring classes creating laziness. I agree with you there. I help to ensure that choir is not boring. Trust me, all they have to do is watch their accompanist’s facial expressions; I give them enough entertainment for the day 🙂


  46. ja, i’m certain you’re a fiery and fun teacher. .

    i studied some Attic Greek at university. . this class met one hour / five days a week, plus the teacher gave us 3 hours of work outside the classroom. . (there went 20 hours of my week!). . my Greek professor was very good and i learned much. .

    a couple years later i audited some Koine Greek at seminary. . when i signed up for the class i made a decision not to take a certain professor who had the reputation for being a strict and heavy taskmaster. . so i took this other guy instead who—truth be told—i didn’t learn much of anything new from. .

    my point is this: i regret not taking Dr So-and-so for the challenge and opportunity to have been sharpened by a very sharp man. . (and for goodness sakes, i was only an auditor—i wasn’t taking it for the grade, nor would i have been required to submit my work)

    bottom line: i believe the passion of a good teacher is naturally infectious. .


  47. I don’t care to have too much dialogue about it, but do you see what you did with regard to your height? Remember, YOU wrote about first, I commented on it., i.e., not on your height, but the fact that you spoke of using it to your advantage to intimidate. Then, in your last response, you flipped it. “Should I complain to God? It is what it is. ” I have zero idea of how tall you are, but you wrote about your height in your post, and I commented. It isn’t as though I brought it up and accused you being threatening or intimidating. In my book, that’s erecting a straw man.

    As to your remark, “that’s what teachers do,” I submit that not ALL teachers confiscate cell phones. Besides, I thought that you wrote that you’re in a volunteer position as a “choir mom.” What am I missing here?


  48. Cathy:

    When I was telling my story, I was also thinking of defenses that high controlling pastors use to defend themselves and tried to incorporate it into my story. So, you could say that I embellished it a bit. I am intimidating whether anyone (including me) likes it or not. I kid you not, I have had grown men act very uncomfortable with my height – very uncomfortable. It’s a very odd situation for me to be in.

    Regarding this: “As to your remark, “that’s what teachers do,” I submit that not ALL teachers confiscate cell phones. Besides, I thought that you wrote that you’re in a volunteer position as a “choir mom.” What am I missing here?”

    You are missing that in the student handbook, no kids are allowed to have their cell phones out for any reason. If they are viewed by a teacher/helper, they are confiscated and turned in to the office. That is the rule. I abide by the rules that the school has. You better believe teachers love having the extra set of eyes.


  49. Wow, that is a disturbing, sad, and thought-provoking video. I was spiritually abused by a man like that toward the end of my 15 years in American Evangelicalism. Rather than leave Christianity altogether, I stumbled into the conservative Reformation by reading Luther. But that is another story.

    Regarding your worthwhile question about whether or not you are a loving substitute teacher, I can also offer you some insight or at least share some words which have helped me.

    As an English teacher, I read all of my students’ writing and use lots of red ink in my attempts to help them learn how to write. I do so at a fellow writer and with kindness, but I tell my students the truth about their writing. This is the hardest part of my job. (I would much rather build the self-esteem of students than actually do the difficult work of helping them learn how to write.)

    Last fall I was accused by a mother (I’ll call her Mrs. Dursley) of not loving and “affirming” her boy (I’ll call him Dudley) as other teachers had apparently done, for Dudley had earned a failing grade on writing assignment. Yes, laziness was involved.

    Mrs. Dursley accused me of not loving her son, of being “heartless.” So I asked the same question that you asking: Do I love my students? What is love? What did Mrs. Dursley mean by that word? Well, to quote Inigo Montoya, that word that she kept on using, I do not think it means what she thought it means.

    As I thought about it, I was greatly helped by C.S. Lewis in his little book on suffering called The Problem of Pain, so in answer to your question about loving your students, I direct you to him:

    “There is kindness in Love; but Love and kindness are NOT coterminous, and when kindness is separated from other elements of Love, it involves a certain fundamental indifference to its object, and even something like contempt of it. Kindness consents very readily to the removal of its object—we have all met people whose kindness to animals is constantly leading them to kill animals lest they should suffer. Kindness, merely as such, cares not whether its object becomes good or bad, provided only that it escapes suffering. As Scripture points out, it is bastards who are spoiled: the legitimate sons, who are to carry on the family tradition, are punished (Hebrews 12:8). It is for people whom we care nothing about that we demand happiness on any terms; with our friends, our lovers, our children, we are exacting and would rather see them suffer much than be happy in contemptible and estranging modes. If God is Love, He is, by definition something more than mere kindness. And it appears, from all the records, that though He has often rebuked us and condemned us, He has never regarded us with contempt. He has paid us the intolerable compliment of loving us, in the deepest, most tragic, most inexorable sense.”

    Lewis continues:

    “You asked for a loving God: you have one. The great spirit you so lightly invoked, the ‘lord of terrible aspect,’ is present: not a senile benevolence that drowsily wishes you to be happy in your own way, not the cold philanthropy of conscientious magistrate, nor the care of a host who feels responsible for the comfort of his guests, but the consuming fire Himself, the Love that made the worlds, persistent as the artist’s love for his work and despotic as a man’s love for a dog, provident and venerable as a father’s love for a child, jealous, inexorable, exacting as love between the sexes.”

    I hope those words from Lewis help you. They helped me.

    Pax Christi,



  50. I see many comments from unbelievers. Why would unbelievers even be concerned with the rantings of a preacher of righteousness? I also see many comments from those who think they believe, yet have no Scriptural foundation, thus, will be destroyed for their lack of knowledge. I see a few comments from those who seem to have a foundation in the Scriptures, that applaud the pastor’s attempt at keeping the younger people from ending up in the lake of fire. If your child was on the tracks and the the train is barreling towards them, would you want me to yell, shout, and if needed, use physical force to get them out from harms way? Would you rather I politely and “lovingly” try to coax them from the tracks using my “indoor” voice? The problem most of you have is that you have become lazy and no longer are looking for the return of Christ. You and your children will be caught off guard because you do not want to submit to the rule of Christ, much less a pastor. That is also why we have an abundance of ignorant, even stupid children running around with headphones plugging their ears. The first “real” experience most children are going to have is when they lift their eyes up, being in torment, in hell. Everything he said in his sermon is biblically solid, even if you do not believe it.


  51. This happened to me at Mt Ararat Baptist Church in Pittsburgh and TD Jakes Jim Cymbala support this type of abusive pastors


  52. Hey terrie

    I live in the East End of Pittsburgh and visited Mt Ararat once shortly after the Reverend Dr. William H. Curtis was brought in. I believe this was 1997.

    Was this Pastor Curtis who did this to you?

    In any case, I’d be very interested in your story.

    David Johnson


  53. First of all, it is unbiblical to confront someone publicly rather than meet first with them in private. There is NO excuse for what that pastor did. The bible says pastors should not “lord’ thier authority over the sheep. They should have a servants heart toward those in thier care. I see nothing like that in this pastor. Try being the one that is publicly rebuked in front of hundreds of people and with no way to defend
    yourself. The bible says we should treat others the way we want to be treated. In the first place, this pastor may have driven out more potential believers in his congregation than ten people sleeping during service would have. I bet he did not even think of that. He just wanted to prove how “important” he is. If he had real authority, he would never have had to put on such a show. I think some pastors do things like that just because they can. I’ve had enough of this constant accusotory, condemning preaching that wears people down, even sincere believers in Christ. Yes, the truth of the gospel must go forward, but once that is established, it’s only the grace of God that changes a person. Scolding people and humiliating them can backfire and instead of maturing a christian can stunt thier spiritual growth. I wonder what life is like when he gets home…..By the way, I am a middle aged christian woman, married three decades to a wonderful man, and I have been saved for about 22 years. I see this as spiritual abuse, plain and simple. There is no other word for it. It is not loving, it’s not kind, and it certainly shows his lack of self -control. My biggest concern is for the ones that stay in that environment and subject thier families to that abuse. (Notice the look on the little girls faces as he berates these people publicly)They’re going to remember that the rest of thier lives. I would never step foot inside of that church again!!!!! (Several years ago the Lord kept speaking to me about “The Emperors New Clothes”, and it was not hard to make the spiritual connection.)


  54. I’d not heard of Jim Standridge before, and obviously hadn’t heard him preach. However, the little tirade I did watch on the video was enough for me to conclude he was just another typical bully. His words and body language convey that he is important (which he says), and that everyone else is minor. From his comment to the one woman and how he refers to his wife has “my little Connie.” indicates women are even lower than men in his opinion.
    This is not preaching the gospel but tearing into people. He bullied people into standing and hugging him and agreeing with him that they know he loves them (“Yeah, you better know it.”) Where are the men of Immanual Baptist Church who keep this arrogant bully accountable? My guess is there aren’t any. He’s top dog in his mind. I feel really sorry Connie, his wife, who is his equal in God’s eyes.
    Yet another Baptist man who spews out stupid, unsupported, unBiblical garbage that is yet another example of why the world wouldn’t even want to stop and hear the gospel.
    As far as the music teacher. This man in a pastoral position has greater influence and ability to be a stumbling block to people knowing Jesus than you do during your little song and dance time with your students.


  55. Truth be told, Kate, I adore those kids. A lot off them have been in touch with me via Facebook throughout the summer in our FB group – they get my attitude, they know exactly what’s going on although the first week or 2 might be a surprise. There is mutual respect for each other and most importantly, they are becoming not only very skilled musicians, but also wonderful people who care for their choir family. 1-1/2 wks to go until I get to put on my Choir Mom hat again – woohoo!


  56. I guess everyone here is attempting to be gracious. But, this is cultic, and this is disgusting. I have recently seen what church “authority” (and I do believe strongly in biblical church authority, vested in God’s Word) can become, and, to me, at this point, when it becomes about the man (“I’m somebody”), when it descends into ranting about the people you are supposed to be shepherding, when it becomes a binding of individuals’ consciences to your “God ordained” power, you have become a cult and nothing more than a bellowing servant of this world interested in his own affairs rather than the shepherding of God’s sheep by His Word and His grace. I have been counseled with that kind of counseling after seeking help once, and I was completely turned away. I found someone that counseled me later with “your sins are forgiven” and “if you are pursuing Christ, your conscience belongs to no man”, and “the only way your sin is baggage is if you continue to carry it and not look to Christ.” THAT kind of biblical shepherding encouraged me to move forward with strength. This video is not biblical; it is not shepherding (show me in Scripture how ranting publicly from your pulpit at individual sins, outside the loving scenario of necessary church discipline, is biblical); it is not love. This man may know God. But, if I were to judge from this video, I would say he needs to repent and he needs to understand what the gospel is. Lead them to Christ… not your building.


  57. Just read upthread. (I always start at the bottom for some reason)

    JA, I have your same attitude and wish you were my daughter’s choir teacher. Yes, work them!! Real self esteem comes from accomplishment. A job well done. Which teachers do you remember best? Yep, the ones who had high expectations and insisted on your very best efforts.

    Now, I totally get what you meant by your height. All you have to do is walk into a room…just existing….and some will be intimidated. That is simply how it is. Not a thing you can do about it but use it to your advantage. As my mom would say, hold your shoulders back and embrace it.

    You go, girl.


  58. “You and your children will be caught off guard because you do not want to submit to the rule of Christ, much less a pastor. ”

    I will take Christ, Billy. Not a mere human with a conferred title of pastor which is a “function” in the Body as per scripture. Not an “office” as the translators added. And since it is a spiritual function, IF we really do know Christ and are guided by the Holy Spirit, we can spot a fraud far off. Sadly, many are allowing a “pastor” to function as their Holy Spirit these days.


  59. “Now, I totally get what you meant by your height. All you have to do is walk into a room…just existing….and some will be intimidated. ”

    Yes, that’s right I cannot help it. It only happens initially . . . and then I blow my cover 😉


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