Questionning the Morality and Ethics of Samuel James and His Recent Article

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 Samuel James, ERLC, watchdog blogs, abuse, and the church

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Merriam-Webster defines the following:

Morality

beliefs about what is right behavior and what is wrong behavior

the degree to which something is right and good : the moral goodness or badness of something

Ethics

rules of behavior based on ideas about what is morally good and bad

It’s important to take note of the meanings above when reading this article.

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Samuel James is Communications Specialist at The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) and works directly for Russell Moore, who is President of the group.

Samuel James’ most recent blog article, What Not to Do When a Fellow Christian Embarrasses The Rest of Us, left quite a few people disturbed.

I tweeted about this particular article on Friday:

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I will be covering points 6 through 9 in this article. You can read the rest at his site.

At first, I was struck that this was yet another person giving the warning about “watchdog blogs:”

7) Don’t start a “watchdog blog.” Seriously, don’t ever.  

We’ve seen that before.

And then I discovered that Samuel James had preemptively blocked me on Twitter. We’ve also been seeing more and more of this pattern on Twitter. Mr. James then went on to block several others who were either bloggers or others who questioned him about his article:

Samuel James, ERLC Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 7.29.17 AM

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So, what we have here is, “I get to say what I want to say and you don’t get to respond back.”

That’s just rude. It’s also the pattern we see in abusive authority figures:  the no-talk rule. The no-talk rule prevents others from raising the alarm of abuse because any kind of negative talk is shoved under the carpet. If you can’t talk about the problem, then no one else will know about it. The dark secret stays contained and abuse continues.

But all of the above is trivial compared to what follows. I wonder about Mr. James and what he thinks about morality and ethics after reading the next paragraph, and I shudder to think about the group he represents (ERLC) if they believe as he does. This next paragraph is a doozy:

6) Don’t ever, ever, ever, EVER even passively, suggestively, or indirectly legitimize or rationalize bitterness and suspicion towards the church. If someone says to you, “This is why I don’t go to church,” they might think they’re telling the truth, but they’re not. They don’t love the church because they don’t love Jesus. Saying, “Yes, you have a point, church can be so frustrating” feels like empathy, but it’s not. It’s self-preserveration at the cost of slandering Christ’s body.

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Mark Lawrence’s response to Mr. James on Twitter is very important:

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G.R.A.C.E. (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) also left a response to the article on their Facebook page:

These types of posts written by church “leaders” are so damaging and hurtful for many reasons. Pious demands for silence are inconsistent with light, truth and love.

And finally, the last two comments:

8) Don’t read the comments.

Note:  Samuel James closed the comments on his own blog article.

9) Don’t leave a comment.

Note: Samuel James closed the comments on his own blog article.

Now, let’s take a look at ERLC’s first three ministry statements:

MISSION

The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission exists to assist the churches by helping them understand the moral demands of the gospel, apply Christian principles to moral and social problems and questions of public policy, and to promote religious liberty in cooperation with the churches and other Southern Baptist entities.

MINISTRIES

1. ASSIST CHURCHES IN APPLYING THE MORAL AND ETHICAL TEACHINGS OF THE BIBLE TO THE CHRISTIAN LIFE.

Provide research, information resources, consultation, and counsel to denominational entities, churches and individuals with regard to the application of Christian principles in everyday living and the nation’s public life.

2. ASSIST CHURCHES THROUGH THE COMMUNICATION AND ADVOCACY OF MORAL AND ETHICAL CONCERNS IN THE PUBLIC ARENA.

Represent Southern Baptists in communicating the ethical positions of the Southern Baptist Convention to the public and to public officials.

3. ASSIST CHURCHES IN THEIR MORAL WITNESS IN LOCAL COMMUNITIES.

Provide information resources that inform and equip churches for active moral witness in their communities.

Mr. James’s statements are inappropriate and distasteful, especially to those who have been harmed by the church. The issues that many bloggers discuss are of moral and ethical concerns: how sex abuse cases are handled in the church, how pastors use their position of authority as a spiritual weapon, how the church handles cases of domestic violence, how the church takes care of the oppressed.

I wish Mr. James could read just a week’s worth of my e-mails and get a reality check to what many are experiencing. I also question what kind of ethics and morality is going on at ERLC that Mr. James could produce such a piece.

Since, Mr. James does not allow comments, blocks people on Twitter who engage him (and even people who don’t), he leaves me no choice but to blog about it. And now you may have the opportunity to share your thoughts, too.

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143 comments on “Questionning the Morality and Ethics of Samuel James and His Recent Article

  1. His arrogance calls into question his qualification for serving a body devoted to ethics and providing ethical guidance to others. The first thing someone working in that field needs is the ability to listen well to everyone.

    Liked by 7 people

  2. Saying “They don’t love our church because they don’t love Jesus!” is like saying “They don’t love Justin Bieber because they hate music!” (–My tweet yesterday)

    Liked by 4 people

  3. This is so typical. Never, ever, ever say anything negative about the church. Never question an action or decision. When they abuse you, sit back and let them, and, not only that, you’d better enjoy it (Count it all joy, my friend, when we treat you like scum – we are doing this because we can and God isn’t stopping us so it must be His will.) And then justify kicking people out because they are Jezebels and apostates and all manner of bad people because they were brave enough to tell, question, blow a whistle or bark like a watch dog. I’m sorry. I usually refrain from descending into name calling, but this guy is just an idiot a**hole.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hmmm?

    Samuel says…
    “If someone says to you,
    “This is why I don’t go to church,”
    they might think they’re telling the truth,
    but they’re not.
    They don’t love the church because they don’t love Jesus.”

    Donations must be down… 😉

    Liked by 3 people

  5. No, we don’t hate Jesus. We hate scumbag abusers who rape the souls and sometimes the bodies of others and do it in Jesus’ name, fully protected by the sycophants, enablers and yellow-bellied cowards who surround them.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. So why exactly is this commission necessary? The local church is not capable of deciding what is moral and ethical? If they aren’t, it’s time to disband. This man’s another I know everything-you know nothing quack who doesn’t want to be called out on his own behavior. JA you keep on woofin’. Somebody’s gotta protect the sheep.

    Liked by 6 people

  7. First thoughts on reading Boz T’s tweet (reacting to the statement that it’s slandering to Christ’s body for those abused in a church to feel bitter or suspicious about the church):

    I’m coming to the conclusion that the abusing church may very well not be Christ’s body. So it wouldn’t be slandering to Christ’s body after all.

    Liked by 7 people

  8. Pingback: » Questionning the Morality and Ethics of Samuel James and His Recent Article

  9. Hmmm?

    Samuel says…
    “It’s self-preservation at the cost of slandering Christ’s body.”

    Well, bless sammys heart. He’ims gots the first parts correct…
    But, the second part NOT so much…

    I love the Body of Christ… Youse guys… And “watchdog blogs.” 🙂

    I never left The Body of Christ, The Church…
    Where Jesus is the head…

    I left the 501 (c) 3, Non-Profit, Tax $ Deductible, Religious $ Corporation,
    That the IRS calls church.

    For “self-preservation.” 😉

    All that “Submitting to God Ordained Authority” – Oy Vey!!! 😦
    Over and over – Just – Pay – Pray – Stay – and – Obey
    Because Jesus wants it that way…

    Was killing me…

    And killing my love for Jesus…

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Like I tell my students, if the early church was doing everything right, we wouldn’t have much of our New Testament. There’s critique of the church all the way from beginning to the end: from how the Gospels highlight the bad questions of the disciples, to Paul’s critique of Peter, the Judaizers and others, to his critique of the Corinthian church’s practice of Communion, to the letters to the churches in Revelation.

    I suppose James is Roman Catholic, because his list rules out Luther and the Reformers. Indeed critique is in the name of the branch of the church: Protest-ant.

    Lots of people hating Jesus out there, especially those Baptists and their long standing critiques of church life and practices that led to splitting off.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. My experience with the SBC was that they pretty much equate organized church with the Body of Christ. The result was that organized church (and only Southern Baptist Churches counted) became an idol. False idols are indefensible, but for that very reason they must be shielded from criticism.

    While the congregants were generally appalled, and remain my friends, the “pastor” of my small-town Southern Baptist church basically made it clear several years ago that I was no longer welcome to participate in their Sunday School, which I had been visiting on the invitation of the other participants. Funny thing is, I’ve been waiting for them to remove me from their membership role since about the late 80’s. Not sure why they won’t do it. Maybe they would consider that tantamount to an ejection from the Body of Christ, and they prefer not to take any action that would condemn me to eternal conscious torment. Maybe not, but that would seem to be the logic of their ecclesiology.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Wow. It just struck me. “Religious Liberty Commission”. Liberty for whom? The captives? No, it appears that liberty is only for abusers.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. “Don’t read the comments.”
    “Don’t leave a comment.”

    And probably, though I haven’t gone to read his original blog post, “Don’t read a watchdog blog.”

    Because, if we remain in blissful ignorance, if we speak no evil of the church, then all the bad will *poof* magically disappear from the church. There was no abuse, there is no abuse, there will be no abuse! As a matter of fact, it is impossible for there to be any abuse, just so long as we refuse even to name such evil.

    Because, like, the church has this magic power to repel evil in all circumstances. And there is no such thing as a false shepherd or a hireling. Because the Bible doesn’t say anything about false shepherds or hirelings (really?), just that you should honor and obey your elders because they have such a hard job to do. It is the job of the sheep to make the shepherd’s job easier, lighter, more joyful. The Bible says so.

    Sola Scriptura.

    Like

  14. What does “moral demands of the gospel” mean, anyway? I thought the gospel was good news, that Jesus’ yoke is easy and his burden is light. “Moral demands of the gospel” sounds like a heavy burden, one to stagger under.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. “I wish Mr. James could read just a week’s worth of my e-mails and get a reality check to what many are experiencing.”
    Julie Anne, he won’t do that. He might learn something. And from a women, no less. He has that mentality of “I’ve made up my mind. Don’ confuse me with the facts.”

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Hmmm? – Go To Church???

    Samuel says…
    “If someone says to you,
    “This is why I don’t go to church,”
    they might think they’re telling the truth,
    but they’re not.”

    Well – “This is why I don’t go to church,” NO More, NO More…

    Because – It’s NOT biblical to – Go To Church… (Wow – Can I say that?)

    Hmmm? Samuel? Am I “telling the truth?”

    Now I cudda missed it – BUT…
    In the Bible, I can NOT find one of His Disciples who would “Go To Church.”

    What did His Disciples know about The Ekklesia 2000 years ago???
    That those who call an IRS Corporation The Ekklesia miss today???
    Should one of His Disciples call an IRS Corporation – The Ekklesia???

    Now I cudda missed it – BUT…
    In the Bible, I can NOT find anyone who would…
    1 – Go to Church. 2 – Join a Church. 3 – Tithe to a Church. 4 – Give silver, gold or money to a Church. 5 – Build Buildings with crosses called Church. 6 – Apply for Church membership. 6a – Apply for Formal Church membership. 6b – Call excommunication, shunning, Church Discipline. 7- Call it MY Church: by a pastor. Nope, His Ekklesia, the body of Christ, belongs to Jesus. 8 – Call it My Church: by sheepies. 9 – Call it Your Church. 10 – Call it Our Church. 11 – Talk about Church Leaders. 12 – Talk about Church Growth. 13 – Talk about Church Planting. 14 – Talk about Church clean up Day. 15 – Talk about Local Church.

    These are all things taught to WE, His Sheep, His Disciples, by…
    The 501 (c) 3, Non-Profit, Tax $ Deductible, Religious $ Corporation,
    That the IRS calls church.

    Did Jesus shed His Blood for…
    An IRS Corporation? An Institution? An Organization? A Denomination?

    NO – Jesus shed His Blood for WE, His Body, His Ekklesia, His Church…

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Preemptive victim shaming going on in the article, for whatever faulty motives. It’s like warning people ahead of time, “If your kids are abused by our youth pastor, don’t you ever report the abuse to anyone outside of this church’s leadership. Ever.” He seems like another young guy trying to short-cut himself to influence, without going through the long years of preparation and softening required. Hopefully, he’ll learn from this moral failure on his part.

    Liked by 7 people

  18. Kathrinegluvna,

    It was purely a hypothetical thought about sharing emails (they are private). He’s already demonstrated that he has no capacity to hear someone’s concerns. Let’s hope and pray he stays out of the pastorate.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. S. James says, “If someone says to you, “This is why I don’t go to church,” they might think they’re telling the truth, but they’re not. They don’t love the church because they don’t love Jesus.”

    I think it’s over a A Cry for Justice I picked up on the idea that one of the marks of an abuser is that they try to tell their target what the target thinks.

    Liked by 6 people

  20. Don’t ever, ever, ever, EVER even passively, suggestively, or indirectly legitimize or rationalize bitterness and suspicion towards the church.

    Yay!! Finally!! He just called us bitter! 😀

    Granted, he did it passively, suggestively, and indirectly, but in this case I think that gives him extra points. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Maybe, but I suspect he isn’t responding because he’s not mature enough nor confident enough in his position to engage. I hold his employer responsible for the embarrassing post.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. I can’t stop laughing at the notion of a self-proclaimed communication specialist posting “don’t read comments” and “don’t post comment”. That’s non-communication and has the odor of a lawyer trying to protect his corporate client.

    Liked by 7 people

  23. I think it’s over a A Cry for Justice I picked up on the idea that one of the marks of an abuser is that they try to tell their target what the target thinks.

    You know, reading through this all I could think was Minitrue from 1984.

    And really, the more I am exposed to these guys the more Orwellian they seem to be.

    Liked by 3 people

  24. @Refugee:

    Because, if we remain in blissful ignorance, if we speak no evil of the church, then all the bad will *poof* magically disappear from the church. There was no abuse, there is no abuse, there will be no abuse! As a matter of fact, it is impossible for there to be any abuse, just so long as we refuse even to name such evil.

    The Party Can Do No Wrong.
    Ees Party Line, Comrades.

    Like

  25. @Barnabas:

    I think it’s over a A Cry for Justice I picked up on the idea that one of the marks of an abuser is that they try to tell their target what the target thinks.

    You know, reading through this all I could think was Minitrue from 1984.

    And minitrue requires miniluv with thinkpol and room 101 to make sure the proles think properly.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. There seems to be a putrid odor emanating from Louisville.

    “[For people] to refuse a hearing to an opinion, because they are sure that it is false, is to assume that their certainty is the same thing as absolute certainty. All silencing of discussion is an assumption of infallibility.”
    ― John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

    “But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.” (Galatians 2:11 ESV)

    “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”
    (Ephesians 5:11 ESV)

    “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17 ESV)

    Liked by 6 people

  27. @refugee

    “Because, if we remain in blissful ignorance, if we speak no evil of the church, then all the bad will *poof* magically disappear from the church. There was no abuse, there is no abuse, there will be no abuse! As a matter of fact, it is impossible for there to be any abuse, just so long as we refuse even to name such evil.”

    These aren’t the droids you’re looking for. 🙂

    Like

  28. Mark Lawrence’s tweet REALLY pointed out how ridiculous Jame’s faulty reasoning (if you can call it that) is. Of COURSE James has to stop comments. His POV is indefensible.

    Liked by 3 people

  29. Ken Garrett said:
    “Preemptive victim shaming”

    I really like that phrase. That is so concise. That is it in a nut shell.

    “Preemptive victim shaming” is the genre of many types of essays and blog posts I’ve seen the last few years from these church spokespersons, or Christian magazines, who shame Christians for leaving church, for publicly airing church dirty laundry, for pointing out how so many churches are hurting or failing people.

    It seems about once a month, some blog or online magazine, such as Relevant, Desiring God, T4G or whatever, will publish an article telling Christians,

    “Shame on you for speaking ill of the church. The church is Jesus’ bride, so stop insulting the bride. I don’t care if you’ve been hurt by church people or not, shut up about it.”

    -That right there is the gist of like 99% of blog posts by talking head Christians who represent denominations or para-church groups directed at the “nones” or to other disaffected, wounded people.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. When I was a newbie believer, I got wrapped up in the Word of Faith (WoF) crowd. It took me a long while to disentangle myself completely from that group. The last straw for me was a new members class I attended at a church I almost joined in North Carolina. The task of the congregation, we were taught was to support the vision given to the pastor. We were not to talk negatively about the pastor or the church in general. If we were out at supper after church service and heard another member slandering the church (read: the pastor), we were to admonish them not to; our ministry was to make the pastor and the church look good.

    The basis for this teaching was “touch not God’s anointed”. There were grave consequences for doing so. This boiled down to any disagreement or concern you may have about the church or the pastor – which effectively silenced anyone who may oppose what is going on, or who was being injured or abused in anyway. After that session, I almost tripped over my own feet trying to get out of there. I never returned.

    What I find so ironic is that this article could have easily been written by a WoF pastor or ministry. These same conservative evangelicals that would destroy the beliefs of the WoFers as written above are practicing the same things. Different words, same principle, same oppression. And this sad and sorry practice of blocking people that disagree with you is just plain juvenile. Are we in middle school again? Is everyone suddenly 12 years old again?? My heart breaks a thousand times over for lives that are shattered by this abuse. I was broken, but praise God He lifted me out of it. It’s downright infuriating…

    Okay, I’m off my soapbox now…

    Liked by 6 people

  31. This is something I brought up at the other blog a few times, but this is common in other spheres of life, silencing critics.

    It’s not just in churches.

    I was harassed in a full time, 9 to 5 job I had at an office. Other workers knew I was being harassed, but nobody helped me, and I was raised not to defend myself.

    I was also bullied a lot by other kids when I was a kid in school.

    I read many books about work place harassment at this point, and I learned it’s very
    common for work places, schools, etc, to victim-blame victims, or to deny or downplay abuse or harassment.

    Bosses, jobs, teachers, school systems -and of course many churches- would rather ignore, deny, or downplay their faults, injustices, and mistakes, and deny or ignore that there are abusers among them, than to do the right thing and fire, demote, or reprimand the abusers and support the victim.

    There are reasons why people have this tendency, but it’s common among all areas of life. It’s sad that churches are equally as bad in this area, when they should be the first to stand up for victims and point out and fight abuse.

    Liked by 3 people

  32. After having been in a church in which we were silenced, I now look at that as a sign that there truly was something to hide. I will certainly be keeping a closer eye on ERLC and Mr. James.

    Liked by 4 people

  33. Here is the essential problem with Mr. James and those who share this particular set of beliefs: They have collapsed the institutional thing they like to call “church” with the True Church (of course rightly defined as all believers in Jesus). Certainly, to hate the latter is very close to hating Jesus (if you hate all believers in Jesus, that is listing towards hating the One whom they believe in). That makes some sense: hate the bride = hate the groom.

    But Mr. James, in his youth and inexperience and desire to be something big within that institutional thing (and perhaps salve his deep-seated feelings of inferiority?) has listened to some very bad advice on this point, and thinks that the human-made institution is in sum and substance the True Bride. So from that warped paradigm, I understand his point. But of course, it is in fact a warped paradigm and what he believes is substantively untrue, so quite naturally, when operating from a wrong-headed perspective, he ends up attacking many within the True Church who have been abused by those who may not be part of the True Church, but happen to be plugged into the institutional one.

    In short: He’s essentially hating many believers and supporting many unbelievers.

    Liked by 2 people

  34. Additionally, what he says flies completely in the face of the very open, public give-and-take recorded in the New Testament between Jesus and the Disciples (actually, it was all give there, as in Jesus telling them what idiots they were) and between Paul and Barnabas, Paul and Peter, Paul and every group of believers to whom he wrote, Peter and every group of believers to whom he wrote, John and… etc. etc.

    Do these guys ever pick up the Bible except to proof text?

    Liked by 3 people

  35. This kid has no business being on Patheos, an otherwise interesting site. Quoting from their website, “Patheos is the premier online destination to engage in the global dialogue about religion and spirituality…” It won’t remain that way if columnists are allowed to make pronouncements and disengage the comment function. I have no interest in reading anything by someone who can dish it out but not take it, as we used to say in my youth.

    Liked by 4 people

  36. How old is Mr. James? I am shocked his organization has allowed him to post such nonsense under their umbrella. Unfortunately for him, his post will probably cost him many readers. This young man obviously doesn’t have the life experience or empathy to even understand why his post is offensive. Jesus called out the Pharisees and challenged the moneychangers who were obviously sanctioned by the temple priests. Also how is it loving to allow a church leader who is abusive, unfaithful, addicted or many other problems to continue in self-destructive behavior? It is more loving to call out bad behavior early on before it gets out of control and causes more destruction. Also Mr. James, only God knows who sincerely love Him and it is not based on church attendance!

    Liked by 4 people

  37. Marsha said “This kid has no business being on Patheos”. I tagged @Patheos in a tweet asking if they knew one of their writers was stifling discussion. No word back yet.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Oh this one is great. Hahahaha. He thinks I get $$$$$$ from having a blog. No. I pay $$$ to have a blog. There are no ads here.

    Liked by 3 people

  39. “There’s a strain in American evangelicalism that turns violent when you say that it’s never right to be bitter against the church.”

    JA, have you seen any “violent” tweets? Nobody here has been violent. James sounds like a drama queen.

    Liked by 3 people

  40. No. If there is any venom, it is against stupidity not the church. Maybe it is not so much venom as pity. Unfortunately many young men like Mr. James will only dig their heels in deeper rather than open their minds to rational discussion and hearts to the suffering around them.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. “I wish Mr. James could read just a week’s worth of my e-mails and get a reality check to what many are experiencing.”

    The sooner people realize that these types do not care about the horrors people have experienced at church, the better off they will be emotionally.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. “How old is Mr. James? ”

    Emotionally or physically? :o)

    Trust me, Russ Moore and Joe Carter are proud of him

    Like

  43. what cracks me up about this is the fact he really believes people will listen to him and obey. by the time someone gets the courage to start a watch blog they are way past listening to self important silly boy-men like him.

    Liked by 4 people

  44. I see he’s trying really really hard to capture people to the angle of interpretation and perspective he wants them to hold, but Samuel is not a very good propagandist, IMO. He rather comes off like a bully than a wise person who should be listened to.

    Liked by 2 people

  45. @lydia00

    “The sooner people realize that these types do not care about the horrors people have experienced at church, the better off they will be emotionally.”

    True. For about the first year after parting ways with our cult, I seriously waited and hoped that someone would wonder what had happened. I hoped someone would call to sort out the problems and reconcile the relationship. I wanted someone to care. After a year passed I finally came to grips with the fact that they didn’t care. That first year was the most difficult emotionally.

    I hope James’ article and responses will help people to see what they can expect if they ever face a conflict within a church in his circle of influence.

    Liked by 3 people

  46. Samuel D. James @samueljamesblog

    If I’ve learned anything the last 48 hours, it’s this: There is real venom–and I mean venom–against the primacy of the local church.

    The “primacy of the local church”?

    I’m not completely sure what that means, but whatever it means to him, I think it’s safe to say that he, like a lot of Christians I’ve seen, make too much out of “the church.”

    And I don’t think guys like this define “church” in a broad sense, as consisting of anyone who accepts Jesus, but as their particular denomination or their favorite local brick and mortar building on the corner that they personally attend.

    Does this guy ever stop to wonder exactly why he’s getting so much heat from people, or why the local church gets so much venom?

    Maybe that cacophony of voices have a good reason or two, very, very good reasons, to be venomous. I really think he needs to ponder that.

    Like

  47. @ Daisy:

    I too was wondering what exactly was meant by “primacy of the local church.”

    I’m also curious which “watchbloggers” are making money from their blogs as he claims. I have a blog that critiques patriocentric theology. So am I a “watchblogger”? If I am, I must have missed something about those ad revenues, because my bank account is not getting any bigger…

    Liked by 1 person

  48. He thinks he is blocking angry sock poppets! Like Tim who blogs and tweets under his own name and is always respectful when he expresses disagreement? This young man who is supposed to be a communications expert cannot tell the difference between debate and anger and he is completely unable to interact with someone who disagrees. It is really kind of sad.

    Liked by 4 people

  49. It’s kind of funny. Wolves in sheep’s clothing– but opinions differ on who are the wolves. How does one decide?

    Well, for a starter, the very first thing they teach you about dealing with a dangerous wild animal is to never, ever, EVER take your eyes off of it. Point number one goes to the “watchdog blogs.”

    The next thing they teach you is to be as big and loud as possible– make it realize that you are dangerous, too. Point number two goes to the “watchdog blogs.”

    Lastly, they teach you to NEVER turn and run, because that triggers the “chase and kill” instinct. Point number three goes to the “watchdog blogs.”

    Traditional churchianity isn’t doing very well, is it?

    Liked by 1 person

  50. Julie Anne said,

    Just when we thought it was bad . . . he has a NEW post.
    _For Whom the Blog Trolls: A Drama_

    I don’t understand why he’s complaining or objecting, since he immediately blocked most everyone on Twitter who disagreed with him, and he doesn’t permit comments on his blog at all?

    Is he portraying every single person who contacted him as being a troll?

    Liked by 1 person

  51. “I am a man, I am a man of authority in the local church, I am man who sees all and speaks all truth-humbly, of course, knowing that I am always right, and that those who disagree with me are either bitter complainers, troublemakers who don’t understand “the local church”, or a woman (meaning that I can totally disregard you because you are subservient to my manhood and are to be silent,ignored and protected by the big bad trolls of the internet)

    Pretty sure this sums up his inner mindset….whatever. This guy deserves to be ignored.

    Liked by 1 person

  52. Thank the Lord that I’m not judged by what a danger to myself and others I was in my teens, what an arrogant buffoon I was in my twenties, and what a delusional, thinking-I’d-figured-it-out-but-not-even-close fool I was in my 30s. I shudder to think of it all. For that matter, I shudder to think of some of the posts I made in my 40s on this very forum (as have others I’m sure). Hopefully the kid has a similar perspective one day when he’s gotten enough gray on that head to start understanding.

    Thankfully, at no point throughout that parade of stupidity did I surround myself with people who thought virtually the same things I thought. There were enough checks and balances to help me grow in Christ. I fear for people like our young benighted blogger, he needs to get clear of the crowd that exalts the primacy of the local church at the expense of the true one.

    Liked by 1 person

  53. You know JA you, Michael and the WW ladies really give me a smile, this one gave me a full on coughing laugh. My cat thinks I am crazy. The way folks don’t just listen to what you say or what others say and just respond but go into full on apologetic handwaving. This guy is so young, nothing wrong with that, but sometimes it is good to listen to others with more experience. Also making either or black and white criteria or most issues, funny most of the lower, mid, top tiered echelon with in the industry don’t seem to take an either-or stance on spiritual abuse.

    Liked by 1 person

  54. Is this not a great reason for the nones and dones? You tell me………..

    There is a book just released called “Church Refugees” by Josh Packard who is a sociologist. He has been studying why those who are called the “Dones” are leaving.
    I think Julie Anne touched on him awhile ago.

    This is the trend Samuel, sorry……why? Because we are tired of it, and nothing can change this. You can call us bitter or whatever…..It does not matter now. We are DONE. We love Jesus, but we do not love the “church” of what it has turned out to be. Sorry, but we are gone and more will follow- get use to it.

    A. Amos Love – totally love your “rants”!

    Liked by 1 person

  55. trust4himonly

    And your rants are pretty great also… 🙂

    “s this not a great reason for the nones and dones? You tell me………..”

    “We are DONE. We love Jesus…”

    Like

  56. trust4himonly

    Yup – Being a “None” was okay.
    “NOT” having any Religious Affiliation.

    Just being a friend of Jesus.

    Then – Being a “Done” was even better.
    “NOT” having anything to do with The Institutional Chuch.
    The 501 c 3, Religious Corporation, the IRS calls church.

    Just being a friend of, and loving, His Body, His Ekklesia, His Church…
    The Called Out Ones, where ever they may be. 🙂

    Just being a sheepie of Jesus. And Following Him. The ONE Shepherd.
    ———-

    Then “ONE” day I asked…
    “But, Jesus, isn’t this what I’m “NOT?”
    “What am I?” “How do I identify myself?”
    “What do you want from me?”
    “How do you want me to see me?”
    ———-

    John 17:20-23 NKJV

    I do not pray for these alone, but also for those
    who will believe in Me through their word;
    that they ALL may be “ONE,”
    as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You;
    that they also may be “ONE” in Us,
    that the world may believe that You sent Me.
    And the glory which You gave Me I have given them,
    that they may be “ONE” just as We are “ONE”:
    I in them, and You in Me; that they may be Made Perfect in “ONE”,
    and that the world may know that You have sent Me,
    and have loved them as You have loved Me.
    ———-

    First A “None.” Then A “Done.” Then being “ONE” with Jesus.

    “None.” “Done.” And now A “ONE.”
    ———-

    We are “ONE.” We love Jesus…
    ———-

    And, what makes you think “ONE” is only a number? 😉

    ———-
    Jer 50:6
    “My people” hath been “lost sheep:”
    **THEIR shepherds** have caused them to *go astray,*

    1 Pet 2:25
    For ye were as *sheep going astray;*
    BUT are now returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    Liked by 1 person

  57. A. Amos Love,

    *Like, Like and Like some more way up there in the comment section as well as your most recent comment.

    Amen! Alleluia! and Happy Dance (Psalm 150!)

    I left the institutional 501c. 3 church system because I love Jesus as my Savior and because He loves His sheep like no religious authority figure within the walled system ever could. In abusive church systems, love, like, dislike, hatred, is totally based on an individual’s submission to leadership figures, whether male or female, for man loves his dominion and desires to be worshiped in place of Christ.

    I am deeply moved by the conversation here. Praise God.

    Liked by 2 people

  58. Julie Anne – That new post is so over the top obnoxious! He’s humble, but heroic (yet still not taking comments and communicating with people). He’s misunderstood and can’t understand why people are responding the way they are.

    He ends with, “He is saddened by the understanding that there are many, many people who allow a website to run their life, and live in a state of constant fury when others don’t do the same.” Yet, up at the top of the post he says that his main point is that Christians should not be bitter toward the church. So, he’s flabbergasted by why people would “run their life” according to what he wrote, yet he’s telling people what they should do – not be bitter toward the church.

    This guy is clueless about why people do not appreciate what he wrote.

    Liked by 2 people

  59. What with all this business about the supposed primacy of the local church, with nobody being allowed to criticize, disagree, or generally speak to outsiders, maybe Mr. James would be more comfortable joining a secret society that attempting to advance the cause of the Southern Baptist Convention. With the exception of his own public pontifications, he certainly expects others to behave as though they had pledged their unquestioning, silent loyalty to the “local church,” as though it were some sort of secret society.

    Like

  60. trust4himonly – Kathie – Katy

    Yup – “The ONES”

    And – It’s “Biblical.” 😉 HeHeHeHe
    That should make Today’s Abusive Religious System happy…

    And – Jesus prayed it. 🙂
    That makes me happy…

    ”that they ALL may be “ONE,”
    “that they may be “ONE” just as We are “ONE”:”

    “that they may be **Made Perfect in “ONE”,**

    Heb 10:14
    For by “ONE” offering
    **he hath perfected for ever**
    them that are sanctified.

    Gotta love that “ONE” offering…

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    The “ONE” Leader – Mat 23:10 NASB

    The “ONE” Shepherd – John 10:16 NASB

    Like

  61. “Just when we thought it was bad . . . he has a NEW post.”

    Ahahahahahahaha! I kept waiting for the part where Russell Moore rides up on his white steed in shining armor to carry the poor “humble hero” to safety from the “venomous” mobs.

    Well, THAT was a tad melodramatic. I will get several chortles today thinking about his new post.

    Like

  62. Remember that phase of our lives (late teens, early 20s) where we knew everything and if anyone disagreed with us, we were still right?

    Boz politiely corercted this guy and he was blown off. I wonder if Boz was blocked.

    Liked by 2 people

  63. Hilarious! That second article is the best example of “humble-brag” I think I have ever read. This man is clueless about himself and the world around him. He must live in a very small bubble.

    Julie-Ann –

    You need to keep a copy of his article in case you ever need an exquisite example of humble-brag!!

    Like

  64. Tim, That is so true. and now all of us that that used to say“Never trust anyone over 30″ are multiplying that number by 2 or are closer to getting there. lol I haven’t thought of that for a while now. I think the kids now still that that way, but perhaps don’t use the slogan.

    Bridget,

    “humble-brag” (like that) I have to wonder if those that put out this type of article aren’t looking to get into the spotlight. What a better way to do it than put out a piece of smelly cheese, get the obvious response, run for cover and use it to forward the career. I would have to ask if the second article weren’t already in the works prior to publishing the first.

    Liked by 2 people

  65. Wow, as a member of the SBC I feel incredibly embarassed by Samuel James. A communications specialist who can’t handle comments, writes about himself in third person as a heroic figure, and rejects the counsel of true experts in the field he is discussing (abuse-Boz)? I hope his bosses at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission feel just as mortified that he is representing them.

    Liked by 3 people

  66. @L.J.

    “I hope his bosses at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission feel just as mortified that he is representing them.”

    Well, if they are, they’d better not “use the person’s error as leverage to draw attention to how not like that you are,” or “apologize to the mass, outraged public for the person.” They’d also better not “make excuses or minimize it to make it go away.” (Like any of the big dogs have ever done anything like that. Oh, wait . . .)

    Like

  67. Who here thinks that his “elders” are carelessly throwing Mr. James under the bus? He may be congratulated for being brave by these same people. Why? Because they can let him take the fall for the things they would like to say, but are smart enough to not post. I wouldn’t be surprised if he eventually gets “reigned in” publically by the more mature members for being youthful and overeager. Sadly Mr. James is probably parroting the same sentiments that he hears in his work and church environment.
    I would like to empathize with Mr. James if anyone was crass enough to criticize his fiancee. She is in no way connected to his blog and doesn’t deserve to be dragged into the discussion.

    Like

  68. After reading both of his articles, my mind is shouting two things: 1) He’s a very, very young version of Tony Miano and, 2) his writing style resembles Doug Wilson with its condescending, arrogant, wordsmith-y let’s see how superior I can make myself appear because, ya know, that’s what Jesus would do… manner.

    (btw Samuel, these two things are NOT pluses for one’s Christian walk, no matter what your ERLC professing Christian leaders are saying. Humility, truth and deference toward others is what Jesus loves.)

    Like

  69. Ann: I agree regarding the man’s fiancee. I don’t think family and friends are fair game.

    I suppose those who are best situated to critique/correct him are SBC members. If older pastors are letting him take the fall, that is a shame.

    I have three complaints regarding what he has written; 1) He uses the phrase “fellow Christians”. This is troubling because it does not specify how one determines who fits in this category. 2) he speaks of “embarrassment”. Does he mean here minor things, such as the sermon being too long, or the pastor experiencing flatulence? certainly we should not point such things out. But sexual abuse, financial wrongdoing and spiritual abuse are of different character. 3) the idea that one should not discuss the serious problems occurring in some congregations only serves to perpetuate sinful actions.

    Like

  70. “Silly- boy men” LOL. Lydia I wish you had NOT said that. I have a sister n law and a friend that use that term all the time. From now on whenever I hear it I will picture a pudgy balding dude, with a patch of hair in the middle that looks like a lousey hair replacement surgeon attempted to sod his head.

    I do believe a earlier post hit the nail on the head, this youngster is in over his head and has a greatly inflated view of his enfluence.

    Like

  71. “The primacy of the local church” is regurgitated Piper.

    I read his follow up post and it screamed NPD tendencies. He now basically blames those who read his blog and comment on them as not having a life. but he covers himself well in proving he has a life in spite of writing the blog posts by telling us his routine of going to the grocery. Hee hee. Sorry but this is too typical. He is not even clever with it.

    He wants to be treated as the wise sage without behaving as one.

    Liked by 1 person

  72. He is obvisously a golden boy who in the favor of his “authorities” and hasn’t yet been bitten by those he so humbly defends. A degree does not equal wisdom. Although is seems to spawn arrogance more oft than not……. Especially when you have very little life experience to back it up.

    Like

  73. It’s hard to tell if the kid has NPD tendencies or not. Certainly, there are things that give indications, but of course even a trained mental health professional couldn’t know. And for that matter, the average teen (or unusually immature twenty-something) acts somewhat NPD-ish anyway. I unfortunately did way back when.

    Liked by 1 person

  74. I’m going to guess he might have been trying to stroke some higher powers with this post and certainly thinks he’s currying favor with those powers by playing the martyr–and he may well be. I’ll bet he’s terrified to face legitimate challenges to his position in a public forum, it can be embarrassing to be shown up and not have a cogent response to a thoughtful question, especially if you’re not quite competent enough to generate a position of your own and are only parroting the thoughts of superiors. It can be a nightmare to look at those replies.

    Liked by 1 person

  75. Among the “embarrassments” he mentions is blasphemy, unless I have read him wrong. This is more than a mere embarrassment. How does a church leader justify not criticising a “Christian” who engages in blasphemy? I admire a young person who contends for a position well, but this article does not qualify.

    Liked by 1 person

  76. Julie Anne,

    OT: lemonaidfizz posted this link on TWW.

    It seems to be a letter from Tony Jones’ lawyer about Julie’s participation on social media, and lists TWW, Naked Pastor, Brad Sargent, Ryan Stollar, SSB, Amy Smith’s Watchkeep, and many others.

    I’m not sure, yet, what it’s all about, but thought you might be interested.

    Like

  77. Oh, wow! I didn’t know it was going to post a pic like that. Sorry!

    JA response: that’s fine. No big deal 🙂

    Like

  78. I’ve heard through the grapevine about that, but I haven’t read any of it, BTDT. I’ve got too much homework to do. I figure if the court wants me to do something, I will get some official notification. Haven’t had any subpoenas lately.

    Like

  79. Pingback: on being silenced | Defeating the Dragons

  80. From what I can tell, Julie is supposed to contact each blogger and request that her comments be removed. She is then supposed to supply proof of correspondence to Tony’s lawyer. I don’t think any action is implied toward any of the bloggers mentioned.

    I feel sick.

    Liked by 1 person

  81. It’s more than a little ironic that Mr. James calls himself a Communications Specialist but won’t allow people to communicate with him. Obviously, he is in the wrong profession. If you can’t take the heat, Mr. James, then you don’t belong in the kitchen.

    Liked by 2 people

  82. “I’m going to guess he might have been trying to stroke some higher powers with this post and certainly thinks he’s currying favor with those powers by playing the martyr–and he may well be”

    Bingo. There is a big push in that movement to shame watch bloggers. I have seen this theme discussed on several pastor blogs in comments. No one names names or is real direct but the sentiment is there: People are sinning on social media and dissing the local church. Oh and they repent of their social media forays. It is all so tiresome and typical. They are cowards.

    You see, watchblogging has worked more than most think. Why? Because in ministry, image is everything and the watch blogs are embarassing them. What they used to be able to sweep under the rug is now public and being discussed in a way they have no control over. So, call it a sin. They have lost control of the one way message and convo. The scandals are costing them money in ticket sales, donations, etc, in ways that are not so evident to us. The big names are not the draw they used to be even if it seems like they are to us.

    That is why the big cheeses like Russ Moore have expendable guys like James to do the dirty work very willingly. I have watched guys like James come and go for years in the YRR movement getting their little chance at some fame for the big guys. Some are rewarded and some aren’t. James is trying very hard to make a name for himself by going after the perceived enemy. All the while Russ Moore gets to pretend he is everyones friend. He also has Joe Carter as a henchman. That is how it works.

    Some of the YRR big cheeses are already trying to rewrite the narrative because that movement has been tried in the public arena and found wanting because of scandals and doctrine. Some of the leaders are moving on to more cultural issues to change the subject.

    Liked by 1 person

  83. “It’s hard to tell if the kid has NPD tendencies or not. Certainly, there are things that give indications, but of course even a trained mental health professional couldn’t know. And for that matter, the average teen (or unusually immature twenty-something) acts somewhat NPD-ish anyway. I unfortunately did way back when.”

    That is why I said “tendancies”.

    I don’t think it is hard to tell at all but I have a lot of experience with narcissistic ministry leaders and their sycophants. . His second blog post was the clincher. And he is way past the typical teen with narcissistic tendancies of brain development. One reason people grow out of that stage is because it ceases to work as they move into the real world adn they are forced to process differently.. In that closed environment of which he is a part, it works quite well …….as long as he adores the gurus. :o)

    Liked by 1 person

  84. This is snarky, Lydia, but based on the manner in which the young fellow carries himself and based on the way he looks (I’m being horrible–but just looking at the guy, don’t you see it?) he’s 20-something going on 12 or 10 or 8.

    I’ve also had some experiences with leaders and pastors whom I thought were of the NPD strain myself, but of the older, should-be-wiser, malicious and sadistic strain. I think the kid’s just the biggest nebbish in town, is extremely stunted, and may just not have grown beyond a 12 year old emotional development. He may be fine in time, not sure I detect malice and bona fide ugliness in him, just the terror of being thrust inth Dtector the public sphere all at once, knowing you’re way out of your class, facing the horror of being exposed as a fraud. Just a hunch.

    Liked by 1 person

  85. “This is snarky, Lydia, but based on the manner in which the young fellow carries himself and based on the way he looks (I’m being horrible–but just looking at the guy, don’t you see it?) he’s 20-something going on 12 or 10 or 8. ”

    I have a friend who was a middle school principal for about 10 years.. His assessment of the YRR, based upon his experience, is they have about the same emotional maturity of the typical middle school boy but with a theological vocab.

    It might come from the cloistering that takes place. They leave youth group where they were introduced to the gurus and on to college (bible) where it is affirmed and then to work in ministry. They really do have arrested development. And what will change that if they continue to be rewarded for it?

    Liked by 1 person

  86. I posted the following at TWW, but it seems apropos here as well:

    And to further elevate himself, Sam titles his blog after the Inklings…a group of writers and philosophers from an earlier time, including CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien, and George MacDonald. These men elevated God, and man’s access to him, in their writings. Sam has much to learn. I am sorry he has CHOSEN a public stage to display youthful folly, especially as one who also bears the image of his maker, and the name Christian (literally “little Christ.”). I wonder what the true Inklings would write about the financial and social power wielded by the corporate “church.”

    Additionally, I challenge every Christian “leader” and wannabe to examine the lives of Pastor Antipas and Bishop Polycarp. If the opportunity to unequivically manifest the glory of God to the world were behind both Door #1 and Door #2, and one of them was a huge book deal and public speaking gigs, and the other torture and death, would you choose one? Or would you walk away from the opportunity? God help me, I would take a pass. What would you do, Sam?

    Liked by 2 people

  87. Daisy said: “Bosses, jobs, teachers, school systems -and of course many churches- would rather ignore, deny, or downplay their faults, injustices, and mistakes, and deny or ignore that there are abusers among them, than to do the right thing and fire, demote, or reprimand the abusers and support the victim.”

    Yeah. Parents, too. But of course you know that. This really resonated with me. It’s what I had to deal with when our children were bullied. Somehow it wasn’t enough to sympathize or empathize or whatever the heck it is to acknowledge their hurt. No, but they had to recognize that it takes two to tangle (I know the saying is “tango” but “tangle” makes more sense to my very literal brain) and that they might have done something to provoke the bullies.

    They found that so very hurtful and frustrating, and so did I, yet somehow I never could explain it in a way that made sense to my partner in parenting.

    Like

  88. Daisy, you went on to say there are reasons why people have this tendency? Could you elucidate? Maybe it will help me to understand better. I’m so tired of being my head against a wall.

    Like

  89. BTDT said: “True. For about the first year after parting ways with our cult, I seriously waited and hoped that someone would wonder what had happened. I hoped someone would call to sort out the problems and reconcile the relationship. I wanted someone to care. After a year passed I finally came to grips with the fact that they didn’t care. That first year was the most difficult emotionally. ”

    You know, I don’t even think they know we’re gone. And it’s been months. The one friend I remain in contact said the other day, laughing sadly, “You came up in conversation, someone wondered if you all had been sick or something because they hadn’t seen you in church that day.”

    And it’s been months.

    Like

  90. refugee, you said

    “You came up in conversation, someone wondered if you all had been sick or something because they hadn’t seen you in church that day.”

    This is truly sad. I emailed my friend who left the church we both attended because she was getting a legal separation and didn’t feel she could get the support she needed as it is a strongly “marriage” oriented church. I want to know if anyone at all other than a lady that she knew prior to attending and myself had contacted her. I’m pretty sure that answer is no.

    I am divorced almost 2 years now, but I wasn’t letting that stop me. I wonder if anyone would notice that I was gone after being there for 5 years. Someone had asked me about my friend after she had been gone for a year. Her name is still on the table at our women’s group. I haven’t said a word.

    Something is really wrong with this whole thing.

    Brenda

    Like

  91. Amos,
    Have you looked to see just how many times the word “member” is used in the NT, as he seems to think it is an issue. I am more interested in the way the word is used. Sounds like a weekend project for me to work on. I am a “member” of the local church I attend, but I didn’t sign anything and would not do it again as I no longer see the point.

    I don’t particularly feel like I am “under” anyone who may think they are a leader. In fact the ladies that I feel the most discipled by are not “leaders” and one doesn’t go to the same church.

    Anyone who cares to answer: If you don’t go to a church (a building, tent or physical location with Jesus followers within) to meet other followers of Christ and get the community that I feel I need? Maybe you don’t feel that way about it. I didn’t go to any church for a long time and I felt like something was missing.

    Brenda

    Like

  92. Brenda

    “Have you looked to see just how many times
    the word “member” is used in the NT,…”

    Yes I have… 😉

    In the KJV, “member” and “members” is 25 times…

    But, As far as I can tell…
    NO where in the NT, is it used in referrence to “joining today’s church?”

    But- I cudda missed that… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  93. Thank you, Amos. I somehow thought you would have. I was curious and do intend to do some research on that. A coworker is of the opinion that there were church leaders, “elders, deacons” in an organized meeting, but no membership involved and is not himself a member of the “church” he attends. The crazy part of that is he has been facilitating a small group for 3 years and now if he doesn’t join the church he can’t do that anymore. They have a 3 year limit, which I find a ridiculous rule.

    In the 1800’s and there were circuit preachers or none at all a family would read the Bible and discuss it around the table. Seems like a good way of doing it today in a way. I do like having corporate worship, but sometimes I wonder how God feels about it.

    Thank you, Brenda

    Liked by 1 person

  94. Just read this again and noticed the guys he blocked for their gentle and respectful attempts at interaction on Twitter. They are older and wise men (!) and he is too foolish to listen to their different perspective. What a shame. I haven’t checked today but I haven’t seen myself blocked by him yet, despite my own comments. Perhaps he has muted me. In any case, he tweeted something snarky about Jesus saying He would build His church. Interestingly I had tweeted something about how Jesus will build His church in the context of this guy’s poor logic. Here’s the thing: if attacks on the church are coming from sin within, who loves the church more? Those who shut up and allow it to happen or those who speak up or get away from the sin? Is Jesus really wringing his hands over the stupid things people say or the reactions those stupid things said get, or is He, in fact, building His church? Is He, in fact, God? Not sure what such guys as Sam believe about God quite frankly, except that they feel a need to control rather than believe that God is God. Incidentally this controlling lack of trust in God (who is sovereign) also really confuses me when it comes from “Calvinists”. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  95. Ps I’ve just commented on three great watchblogs. Streisand Effect much? 😉 Oh and don’t get me started on how much ordinary Christians who blog earn. Really mate? You want to pull that card? How much do your leadership buddies who blog earn in comparison? Hmmm? I thought so.

    Like

  96. Melody: Your comment at 1:09 i.e. that exposing abuse and abusers shows love for the church is excellent. If a person cares about Christ’s church, abuse needs to be exposed.

    Like

  97. That was my serious comment. 😉 Thanks for encouragement, Keith. Glad so many others feel the same and take the risk of talking about problems. Perhaps that’s how arrogant posts like this one we are discussing can be turned into good…they are a motivator for Christians to step up and speak out. How else can we grow if not “truthing it in love”? Anything less is hypocrisy.

    Like

  98. Every time I read SJ’s kind of 3-Day-Old Carp, I am reminded of the 25th chapter of Matthew. ‘Cause none of these whippersnappers seem to have read that….It might leave them convicted out of their own mouths, dontchaknow……

    Liked by 1 person

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