A Spider Web of Emergent Leader Tony Jones and His Business and Christian Celebrity Supporters

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Emergent Leader Tony Jones has a group of friends who fail to look beyond the benefits his celebrity status gives them

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Have you been following the ongoing Tony Jones/Julie McMahon strife in social media lately?  Tony Jones is part of the Emerging Church movement. R.L. Stollar did a great piece summing it up and here is a quick overview:

On January 27, 2015, Emerging Church leader Tony Jones released a statement responding to allegations of abuse against him by his former wife, Julie McMahon.

These allegations, which date back to 2008 when Jones served McMahon divorce papers, received a breath of new life in the last year in the comments section of David Hayward’s blog post about Jones and Mark Driscoll, “Tony Jones on Mark Driscoll: What came first, the thug or the theology?” They then came to the forefront of numerous people’s attentions when popular Christian leaders Rachel Held Evans and Nadia Bolz-Weber announced their WX15 conference, originally produced by Tony Jones’s organization, the JoPa Group. Several concerned fans of Evans, for example, commented on one of her blog posts about Evans and Bolz-Weber’s associating with Jones. “I saw your upcoming conference featuring women and got super excited,” said one individual, “until I saw that you’re partnering with Tony Jones and Doug Pagitt for the event. This is surprising to me because you’ve always been an advocate for the abused and for victims, but Tony Jones had been accused by his ex wife of some serious things, including throwing her against a wall and dislocating her shoulder from its socket.” A Response to Tony Jones’s Statement

Here is how Tony Jones responded publicly about his divorce:

Being a theologian has always felt like the right fit for me. I realize that my divorce impacts my credibility in some circles, but I am thankful for the communities that continue in relationship with me and continue to allow me to serve in the capacity I have felt called to since middle school. – Tony Jones 

Interesting … he still feels called to ministry despite one of the most bitter, contentious, and ongoing divorce court battles I’ve seen (the battle still continues today), while evidently leaving his wife and children in dire financial situation. But it is the second part of this quote that I’d like to focus on:

… but I am thankful for the communities that continue in relationship with me and continue to allow me to serve in the capacity I have felt called to since middle school.

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What communities?  Who is allowing him to serve in the capacity he has felt called to since middle school?  Who are these people who ignore domestic violence among their ranks in support of a friend? 

There is a disturbing pattern that we have seen time and again, where the church creates a climate where leaders defend other leaders for no other reason except that they are their buddies, meanwhile the marginalized, the abused are left in the dust. Let me name a few stories SSB has covered:

It has happened in Calvary Chapel: Chuck Smith knew of the gross abuse problems going on with Pastor Bob Grenier and his church and sons. But the abuse was overlooked and Chuck Smith essentially said his hands were tied. It’s messy to call out one of “your own,” isn’t it?

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It has happened in my case. After Chuck O’Neal’s lawsuit against me and four others was dismissed, he tried to recreate his image and has done so by buying a relationship. Chuck O’Neal’s church supports Tony Miano monthly for his full-time street preacher “ministry” and also endorsed Tony Miano’s book. They speak at conferences together. Do you think that Tony Miano would ever speak out against Chuck O’Neal and his bad behavior for suing?  Nope, nada. You don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

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In the Sovereign Grace Ministries/CJ Mahaney situation, we saw how pastors covered up for each other and kept known sex abuse cases amongst themselves instead of reporting to authorities. The pastors continually denied knowing about these sexual abuse cases, yet once in court, one pastor finally admitted under oath that he did in fact know of the sex abuse coverup.

This lawsuit was dismissed only because of the Statute of Limitations, but the appalling pattern which we are observing is leaders in high places who deliberately turned a blind eye to known abuses. In C.J. Mahaney’s case, his friends in high places (at The Gospel Coalition and Together for the Gospel), even wrote public statements in support of C.J. Mahaney. Not one of those men who issued those statements has publicly recanted them (although one of the statements has been removed).

But this is how I see it working with C.J. supporters: “We love C.J. Mahaney and what he stands for. He’s got all the right doctrine. He believes in complementarianism just like we do. He’s Reformed, he’s got charisma, he draws a crowd, and a crowd follows him at conferences and buys his books. He has endorsed the books that I wrote, so that means more people buy my books, so let’s not let a little church squabble interfere with OUR relationship. I’ll just let C.J. Mahaney handle his church because it really doesn’t affect me.”

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We are now watching the same pattern unfold with Tony Jones and his circle of friends who have come to his defense.

They have done this publicly via statements of support, they also support him by endorsing his books, inviting him to speak, etc. Additionally, some of these defenders shut down anyone who challenges their endorsement of their good buddy, Tony Jones. They shut down the conversation by removing comments, unfollowing on Twitter, etc.

In fact it was seeing this kind of behavior by a notable friend of Tony Jones which prompted a recent tweet of mine:

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They have even attempted to shut down conversation by threatening lawsuits against bloggers who speak out or allow conversations on their blog. Yes, David Hayward was threatened when he allowed Julie McMahon and others a place to share their personal story on his blog post. Her voice was previously silenced in Emergent circles and she was referred to as “bat-shit crazy.” (That exact and very memorable phrase was heard by people who had never even met Julie, but were warned to stay away from her.)

I stumbled across a great video which describes the pattern of what is going on with Tony Jones and his friends. Some call this kind of network diagram a mind map, others call it a spider web. Whatever the term, “Emergent Parody” uses it to show how Tony Jones and some other people involved with Emergent events and books are all tied together. This video is only 4 minutes long, but as you see the web of connections between these folks, we have to ask ourselves, “who is benefiting from these business-like connections?”

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Brad Sargent has been following and writing the ongoing developments in the Tony Jones situation, especially as it relates to abuse systems. This is from his article, 10 Institutional: Christian Industrial Complex:

If/when money becomes a major issue to the insider elites, the oligarchy typically becomes a plutarchy (i.e., plutocracy, rule by the rich). This is where the individual celebrities link up with complementary financial partners: event sponsors and promoters, publishers, speakers bureaus, social media platforms, certifying agencies, etc. Where grassroots movements might be far more sustainable, the consumer networks require constant streams of new products to keep the income maintainable – and sometimes the reduction in the size of the celebrity group at the top of the publicity pyramid.

When the demand side of consumers marries with the supply side of elites-and-partners, this once-creative counterculture is on the way to a closed system. Only those individuals who have the required platform, message, social media following, connections with others in the directory are allowed to be designated as elite insiders, and – for “the greater good” – there is now a gridlock against outside voices that critique. Inside critiquers are likewise not very welcome, and so various enforcers of the system find ways to silence, deflect, or remove them.

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45 comments on “A Spider Web of Emergent Leader Tony Jones and His Business and Christian Celebrity Supporters

  1. Julie, It’s sad to see some in the emergent movement–a movement that I identify with–ignoring domestic violence allegations simply because someone has the right theology. As you point out, that is what conservatives have done time and time again with ignoring spiritual and sexual abuse.

    The big difference I see between these movements is conservatives put more stock in right theology and church authority and less stock in loving their neighbor while emergents (progressives) put more stock in loving their neighbor than having the exact right theology or church system. So conservatives can’t tolerate diverse theologies or churches outside their box (while they can tolerate harming others) while emergents can tolerate diverse theologies and churches or lack of church. In theory, that means emergents shouldn’t tolerate harming others–whether that is spiritual abuse, domestic violence, or whatever.

    If this example you give is true, then yes, people may be defending an abuser because he is one of the “good old boys.” I don’t know enough about the situation to know if that is happening, but if it is, yes, call it out.

    On the other hand, I think the theory brought out in that video is absolutely ridiculous. It is creating a conspiracy by assuming guilt by association. That web is just a group of authors, speakers, pastors, and emergent leaders who promote their ideas together at conferences. The video seems to imply that every person in the “web” is guilty of associating with and defending an abuser for greedy purposes. I venture to say that is an extremely simplistic and even potentially damaging way of looking at the situation, as it appears to judge everyone in the “web.” Just because Rachel Held Evans or anyone else speaks at a conference attended by Tony Jones doesn’t mean she/they are condoning domestic violence. They may have no connection or knowledge of what is going on in his personal life.

    There is a call for progressive Christians to call out abuse wherever we see it, however, whether in among conservatives or emergents.

    Like

  2. Tony Jones behaves like a middle-schooler. I lost all respect for RHE, the way she handled this was appalling, removing comments was lower than low. I haven’t heard a peep from Brian McLaren after the TWW article, his silence speaks volumes to me.

    I wish ALL sheep would awake from their slumber & realize that we don’t need these expert celebrities to teach us about Jesus.

    And I BELIEVE JULIE! If anyone has a spare dollar, TWW has a go fund me page to support her. I could say so much more, but will hold my tongue because it is on fire.

    Great article J.A. Wish I had a whip to take down these money-making movers & shakers.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. “absolutely ridiculous” is making blanket statements about the video without knowing the context of discussion over the last six years and especially since September. “They may have no connection or knowledge of what is going on in his personal life.” But what if they do? And they do. The issue here is, having knowledge of the context, they choose to ignore it for the sake of a right “theology of networking” over all else.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Michael, I have to disagree with you. If someone knows about abuse, but remains silent while benefiting financially by the connection, and then even shuts down conversation, I absolutely believe they are complicit in the pattern Brad describes as the Christian Industrial Complex.

    Any time someone’s free speech is shut down, there usually is an abuse of power in control.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I can’t speak about the court cases you mention, but the parts about what it means to be on the inside and preserving the status quo remind me of C.S. Lewis’ That Hideous Strength where the young academic trying to rise within the university system finds that the group he’s envied and tried so hard to join turns out to be full of people doing things he wouldn’t have endorsed if he’d thought about it ahead of time. Once he’s in, he finds he lacks the power to leave them.

    Liked by 1 person

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  7. @Tim:
    It’s C.S.Lewis’s “Lure of the Inner Ring” interbred with Todd Browning’s Freaks (“One of Us! One of Us! Gooble! Gobble! One of Us!”)

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  8. Good post today Julie Anne! And, that video is great. It reminds me of symbiotic relationships. If one is gone, the rest are affected because they rely enough upon each other. And, like the commentator said, it’s not necessarily bad to have relationships like that, but we’ve seen how they can turn on outsiders or even on those within.

    Gail – I, too, have been so disappointed by RHE. I can’t bring myself to take her seriously any more.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Pharisees, anyone?

    Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!

    “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.

    “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

    “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, ‘If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ So you testify against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?” Matthew 23:23-33

    Spoken by the One who knows the hearts of men. Public perception is clearly not enough.

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  10. I’m strongly convinced at this point that a preacher should not pastor a church unless they do something else for a living on the side. The huge salaries that megachurch pastors command make the entirety of modern ministry suspect.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. mwcamp: Hogwash that “conservatives” love their neighbours less, or “put less stock in it”, whatever that is supposed to mean. Physical, sexual and spiritual abuse goes on under all kinds of theological and ideological labels. It is really no surprise that Lib/Progs have these problems despite their rhetoric.

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  12. A Spider Web of Emergent Leader Tony Jones and His Business and Christian Celebrity Supporters

    AKA “ONE HAND WASHES THE OTHER…”

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Keith Blankenship said,

    MARCH 21, 2015 @ 3:31 PM
    mwcamp: Hogwash that “conservatives” love their neighbours less, or “put less stock in it”, whatever that is supposed to mean.

    It means that they put doctrine and being judgmental and condemning sin above caring about people – and that is in fact true for a lot of conservatives. I am a conservative. But I’ve had my eyes opened in the last few years to the problems conservatives – both Christians and political ones – have, and this is one of their weak areas.

    And no, I do not agree with all of squishy, “kum-bah-yah”, let’s excuse, or water down what- the- Bible- calls- sin- so- as- not- to- offend anyone liberal Christianity, but some of their adherents are correct in some of their criticisms of conservative Christianity.

    The people Jesus Christ argued with the most in the Bible were the theological conservatives of his day, the Pharisees.

    The Pharisees had a lot of right doctrine, got some of it wrong, and Jesus had to correct their misunderstandings and distortions constantly, and he pointed out how they missed the big picture, which was showing love to people and granting them mercy.

    Again, I am a conservative, but I’ve become pretty critical of other conservatives in years past. One of my politically and religiously conservative friends is, as a matter of fact, ticked off at me because I no longer fall into knee jerk conservative defense mode when I see a liberal criticizing cons.

    I say, “Wait a minute, let’s hear this lib out. Maybe his critiques of conservative theology or behavior have some merit.” -That makes her blood boil, and she now accuses me of being a liberal (though I am not one).

    To the guy farther above, mwcamp.
    RHE and the others know more about this situation than you think they do, and in cases where they do not, it is because they are willingly choosing to stay blind.

    RHE was approached by Tony’s ex-wife, Julie, and RHE and/or RHE’s husband dismissed her, brushed her off, told her to use the “proper channels” to report her abuse if it really did exist, etc.

    None of these emergent authors and speakers will even talk to Julie and let her speak for herself. Some of them scrub their Facebook pages or blogs of anything said in favor of Julie, or anything critical of Tony.

    I would really encourage you to read more about this case that is out there, because there is far more going on than you realize, and none of it flattering to the Christians in the emergent circles.

    Like

  14. Money, fame, power, abide these three…at least among “Christian Celebrities”

    Should not the LibProgs be strong egalitarians? He gender egal is it to divorce one’s spouse?

    mwcamp: What are permissible grounds for divorce in “emergent” churches? Is it fine with you to divorce because of mental illness?

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  15. Keith B said,
    “Should not the LibProgs be strong egalitarians? He gender egal is it to divorce one’s spouse?”

    What does gender egalitarianism have to do with any of this?

    I’m a conservative gender egalitarian. Being a gender egal does not necessarily equate to being a liberal.

    Plenty of conservatives who claim to be gender comp and anti-divorce cheat on their wives, look at dirty web sites, beat their wives, etc.

    There have been many preachers with conservative theologies who have been caught diddling kids or having affairs, such as IFB preacher Jack Schaap. I think his wife recently divorced him? He was diddling a 16 year old girl who went to him for counseling.

    Keith B asked the other guy,
    “mwcamp: What are permissible grounds for divorce in “emergent” churches? Is it fine with you to divorce because of mental illness?”

    Why are you asking him about that? How does that question tie into the post about Tony J and Julie M?

    I know Tony J (who many claim was diagnose with NPD) accused his first wife (Julie) of being an unstable nut. Is that why you are bringing it up?

    Like

  16. Daisy: My point was not a criticism of egal at all, but the opposite, i.e. the hypocrisy of asserting egalitarian views but then not living like it.

    I am asking Mr. Camp the mental illness question because I read somewhere that that was an issue. Who knows if he will respond.

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  17. It’s ironic that pastors and most-favored people get different treatment than others. I know women who’ve left their abusive husbands and are not able to be part of the worship band at church for a year. But no one makes Tony step down . . . not even for 6 months.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. “So conservatives can’t tolerate diverse theologies or churches outside their box (while they can tolerate harming others) while emergents can tolerate diverse theologies and churches or lack of church. In theory, that means emergents shouldn’t tolerate harming others–whether that is spiritual abuse, domestic violence, or whatever. ”

    I understand where you are coming from and agree with some of it but think you are missing a huge point. One, the emergent/progressives as in especially Tony Jones make up their own theology as in his two marriages, sacramental wife/legal wife scenario. Where was the push back then?

    The other problem the emergent/progressives have is their entire shtick was about being a voice for the oppressed. They were “authentic” and “real” and cared about people who are oppressed. Then when it really happens in their group (and this goes way back to Tony convincing leaders his wife was crazy and to help him get her admitted), they believe Tony and give him a pass. (It was business all along)

    Now, all these years later and after Tony using the court system so much we see an official evaluation of him having NPD. Julie was not found “bat s**t crazy” by the professionals as Tony insisted. But Tony has NPD. Not only that but he has money. You combine NPD with celebrity, money and resources and it is a recipe of ruination for the NPD’s target.

    Julie has nothing. And Tony used the court system to wear her down even after years of gaslighting. So where were the emergent leaders reaching out to her as a destitute mom raising 3 kids alone? Guess who sent her grocery money? The very creepy Mark Driscoll. (He have afforded much more and no one cares about motives when they are desperate)

    Then when RHE is asked about Julie, her response is to make a statement that she has done research and found that Tony is innocent. But then she reverses that in another venue and acts as if she knows little ad it is just a private divorce. Then her husband make cruel statements to Julie publicly to call a hotline (conveniently forgetting Tony used his police chaplaincy against Julie) and ignoring the NPD diagnosis. They deleted, deleted and blocked. Then she set about doing the celebrity whine about the bullies online. Wow, it was just business after all for RHE. All the talk about advocacy for the oppressed was just that, talk.

    And because the emergents were marketing to young people looking for authenticity they were found out to be nothing but frauds making money off Jesus just like all the conservative doctrinal charlatans they puffed themselves up over: We are nothing like them. Right.

    When it comes to business they ARE very connected. And RHE has money to make, stages to stand on and books to write. It is her business and no oppressed women from her tribe is going to get in her way. The problem is she needs lots of followers to make it profitable and now most of them think she is a fraud. She might have to get a real job.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. “Plenty of conservatives who claim to be gender comp and anti-divorce cheat on their wives, look at dirty web sites, beat their wives, etc. ”

    And they rape little girls, then rally other church men to hate raped little girls with them.

    I was born and raised in a hard core ultra conservative southern Baptist family, my grandfather was a southern Baptist preacher. They could pretend to hate little girl rape and care, but they want her to know it is her fault, she needs to keep her mouth shut about it, forgive and get over it, and do as the MEN say, as my wife beating father said, rape is not that big of a deal.

    My church going, bible verse quoting father and grandfathers routinely mocked, belittled, and dismissed wife beating and little girl rape as, the women and little girls fault, and every one should really feel sorry for the wife beater and little girl rapist.

    The most hateful things I have ever heard said about little girl rape came out of the mouths of conservative Christian men.

    My father and his friends loved, wifely submission to husband, it was their FAVORITE.

    In my experience with progressive men, they don’t need a female slave (submissive wife) like conservative men do.

    I do not consider Tony Jones a real Christian, I think he is in it for the easy money.

    Rachel Held Evans is a hypocrite, I do not like her anymore.

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  20. @Anonymous2:

    I know women who’ve left their abusive husbands and are not able to be part of the worship band at church for a year. But no one makes Tony step down . . . not even for 6 months.

    RANK HATH ITS PRIVILEGES.

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  21. 100pinkapples- Makes me sick to hear what your sperm donor (he doesn’t deserve the name father) and your relatives put you through. Words fail me right now, just wanted to tell you how sorry I am that you suffered at the hands of such evil & despicable men.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. 100pinkapples, so sorry here, too. I don’t know if you want to hear this kind of thing or not, but my heart is all cut up and devastated for you, and I just hope so much that you are surrounded with comfort and love, by people who truly care about you, who really, really love you, because that is what you deserve.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Tim and HUG make mention of C.S. Lewis’s 1944 lecture, Inside the Inner Ring, which (if my experimental foray into the world of HTML succeeds) can be found here. Regarding the common desire to be admitted to the Inner Ring, what we might also call the inner circle, Lewis says in part:

    My main purpose in this address is simply to convince you that this desire is one of the great permanent mainsprings of human action. It is one of the factors which go to make up the world as we know it—this whole pell-mell of struggle, competition, confusion, graft, disappointment and advertisement, and if it is one of the permanent mainsprings then you may be quite sure of this. Unless you take measures to prevent it, this desire is going to be one of the chief motives of your life, from the first day on which you enter your profession until the day when you are too old to care. That will be the natural thing—the life that will come to you of its own accord. Any other kind of life, if you lead it, will be the result of conscious and continuous effort. If you do nothing about it, if you drift with the stream, you will in fact be an “inner ringer.” I don’t say you’ll be a successful one; that’s as may be. But whether by pining and moping outside Rings that you can never enter, or by passing triumphantly further and further in—one way or the other you will be that kind of man.

    It may be that Rachel Held Evans, having once been admitted to the Inner Ring, is now held captive to both it and it’s depredations. Inasmuch as the so-called local church is often just another expression of the Inner Ring, those of us who have been excluded, or else who have excluded ourselves, can be grateful for our Lord’s liberating mercy.

    With a tip of the hat to Tim for having recommended them to me, I highly recommend both Inside the Inner Ring and That Hideous Strength (as well as all else by C.S. Lewis).

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  24. While any relationship to Lewis’ concept of the Inner Ring may be no more than serendipitous, it is interesting to note that Dante’s innermost circle (or ring) of Hell is reserved for the likes of Judas and Brutus–for those who have been treacherous, who have betrayed those to whom they ought to have been loyal. If a man divorces his wife for just any old reason, or for no reason at all (and I really do not have enough information to say that this is the case with Tony Jones), would he not, according to Dante, be consigned to the place of ultimate torment?

    The more sobering question is whether and to what extent I might be prone to reject, exclude and betray friends, family and “the least of these” in my own pursuit, however conscious or unconscious, of a place inside whatever Inner Ring is summoning me.

    While any association of Lewis’ Inner Ring with Dante’ inner circle of Hell may be a stretch, it may well be that, in addressing the dangers of the Inner Ring, Lewis was mindful of his good friend’s corrupting ring: “One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.” –J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring, 1954, chapter 2.

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  25. Don’t want to get too far into the Tony Jones thing, but it does strike me that whatever the reasons for his marital troubles, maybe, just maybe, you take a step down from the pastorate while you deal with the fallout? That maybe, just maybe, this reflects something of his shepherding, and that the most important shepherding one can do at that point is of yourself, and maybe of your family?

    I’m glad my wife doesn’t dump her “bats**t crazy” husband, BTW. :^)

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  26. Since 2008, Tony Jones has used the legal system to continue to abuse his ex-wife by filing motion after motion after motion in order to reduce child support payments or flip custody. He’s an NPD and that’s what NPDs do. They use a messed up court system to destroy those who have the audacity to question the carefully constructed false narrative the NPD tries to perpetuate about themselves. Julie simply raised her hand to tell the world that Tony may not be the second coming of christ he would have everyone believe. This, only after his “she’s batshit crazy” campaign left her with no choice. Now she must be destroyed and the court system offers a convenient pathway to financial and emotional ruin. How is Tony able to fund this continued legal onslaught? Where does the money for attorney fees come from? You can call it a conspiracy if you want but we should all be asking if the revenue arising from the book deals, endorsements and paid speaking engagements is being used to fund this continued abuse. If it is, shame on every name found in the emergent network spider web.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. @Bike Bubba … and herein is one of the deflections that has sometimes been used in this specific situation: Tony Jones is a “theologian in residence” at Solomon’s Porch church, although I don’t think that’s even his home church anymore. He is presented as a theological thought leader in the Emergent/Progressive Christian movement, not as a “pastor.” So, if he’s not a pastor, that apparently means he is not required to be qualified for leadership under the biblical mandates for elders/overseers/deacons. That seems to have been one implication that some people have used, though rarely.

    My view is that people who present themselves publicly as Christian leaders in an organization, network, or movement are still under the same qualification and accountability clauses as pastors/overseers/etc. in a church. Although it’s easier to get away with lack of transparency and low/no accountability in a “virtual ministry” situation like publishing and speaking or event organizing, the negative impact for personal moral failure and burn-out are just as destructive, if not even wider-reaching, than if one were serving as a local church leader.

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  28. Serena, Brad, thank you–OK, he’s got plausible deniability, I guess, and obviously he’s not letting his family mess interfere with things. I disagree, think y’all do too, but OK, he’s got his following that is not bothered by this.

    Now that said, I see the financial support for his ex-wife–I would hope and assume that she also has someone (someones?) around to coach her? I personally have tried to encourage a number of women (including some of my relatives) to take notes about what the ex is doing, especially when the ex is deciding that partying/whatever is more important than his children.

    (or if someone is near this woman and would love to help her but does not have money, a shoulder to cry on and a pen and paper to write down what’s really going on might be HUGE here….)

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  29. @Brad:

    He is presented as a theological thought leader in the Emergent/Progressive Christian movement, not as a “pastor.” So, if he’s not a pastor, that apparently means he is not required to be qualified for leadership under the biblical mandates for elders/overseers/deacons.

    LOOPHOLE! LOOPHOLE!
    Right up there with Douggie ESQUIRE’s “I Did Not Know Her In the Biblical Sense”.

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  30. @GaryW:

    It may be that Rachel Held Evans, having once been admitted to the Inner Ring, is now held captive to both it and it’s depredations.

    “For the hearts of Men are easily corrupted, and a Ring of POWER has a Will of its own.”

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  31. Brad, it strikes me as well that Solomon’s Porch doesn’t even have a statement of faith, and specifically comments that they believe this would be wrong. So good luck for my idea that Biblical reproof would make a difference to Jones. Debating with him is going to be like wrestling with a jellyfish–no firm holds are possible.

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  32. (or if someone is near this woman and would love to help her but does not have money, a shoulder to cry on and a pen and paper to write down what’s really going on might be HUGE here….)

    Bike Bubba,

    Julie has a group of people encouraging her. I’m not sure how many are close in proximity, but I know she has many “virtual” friends supporting. I have to say that my “virtual” friends I’ve made along the way, the ones who fully understand spiritual abuse/abuse issues, have been my most valuable support. I suspect the same may be in Julie’s case.

    Like

  33. I’m a bit late to this post, but I’d like to offer a brief comment.

    I have substantial theological differences with Rachel Held Evans. I strongly and vehemently disagree with a number of her stated beliefs on sexuality and other matters. One area where I admired her, however, was her willingness to speak out against spiritual and physical abuse. Thanks to her alliance with Tony Jones and her treatment of those who’ve raised questions about him, I no longer do so.

    As far as I’m concerned, Rachel Held Evans has turned into yet another celebrity Christian hypocrite. She’s no better than Mark Driscoll, C.J. Mahaney, and a number of others.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. JA–understood. Sometimes the relative anonymity of the ‘net can be a good protection. The flip side is that sometimes making real progress requires someone who is there in person, optimally someone not receiving $100/hour (or whatever lawyers cost these days) to listen.

    Will be praying for this situation, that someone can defuse this. Family law is a mess that a lot of people struggle with for sure.

    Like

  35. I completely agree with you, singleman. I can come alongside people of varying doctrinal views who defend the defenseless, but once you cross the line and turn a blind eye to one of your friends because he is connected to your business, that’s it for me. Either you are a defender of survivors or you are not. As I said in my tweet, if you think you get to pick and choose who you defend, you are truly not a defender of all victims.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Ugh! Sad.#willnotbelistening. “Next week’s All Together/ Huffington Religion will feature author Tony Jones about his new book Did God Kill Jesus?”

    Like

  37. Pingback: The Problem of Donald Miller…at Willow Creek | E.S. Martin

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