Large Doses of Blessing

FullSizeRender(1)One of the things we regularly hear is how wonderful our Christian community is here in our little town. And it really is. We have many faithful churches, a Christian college downtown, Logos School,  home-school groups, Canon Press, and many flourishing businesses owned and operated by Christian people. We have many opportunities to celebrate together at weddings, showers, potlucks, prayer groups, book groups, Bible studies, psalm sings, and women’s fellowship gatherings. And when a need arises through illness or loss, meals are made and varieties of help are sent.  And I only know the half of it. Most of this happens from the ground up. It is not always “organized” by the church proper, but rather the saints are simply active, engaged, and hungry to give and serve one another. It is such an outpouring,  it is hard to believe unless you have seen it with your own eyes. God has clearly blessed our community in a remarkable way.

Not only has God blessed us with rich fellowship, but He also blesses us with an occasional outburst of slander against our church. Back in the 1980’s, it was confined to the front page of our daily small-town paper and the letters-to-the-editor section. (Nothing like slander to sell papers when there’s not much else happening.) Then as the years went by, the internet provided an easy way to sponsor a slanderous outburst (no editors to deal with, so everyone can participate in spreading lies and venting bitterness, even with bad spelling).And so it goes.

I haven’t kept track, but it seems to erupt every few years. In fact, this is the second time I have had a beautiful grandchild born in the midst of “public calumny” against  my husband. (I couldn’t keep the news out of this post that Moses Henry Jankovic was born two days ago!) I have come to believe that this strange phenomenon is a significant part of the reason for the rich blessings of our community life that I described above. Here’s why I believe this: Jesus said so.

Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:11).

In other words, when our church and pastor are lied about, we are blessed. And so our church community benefits from these large doses of slander every so often because they are actually large doses of blessing. Our job is to rejoice and be extra glad during these times because a reward for us is accumulating in heaven. I believe this absolutely, and this is why I am planning to throw an extra wonderful Sabbath feast tomorrow, so we can rejoice all together around the table at the Lord’s great kindness toward us.

Now I haven’t always thought about it this way. When the first round of lies about us made it to our local paper back in the 80’s, I confess that I was very surprised. I had expected that resistance and persecution would always be phrased as “because you love Jesus.” But that’s because I hadn’t been paying attention to my Bible reading. I remember voicing my astonishment to my husband: “But they are lies! How can they tell lies about you like that?” And he reminded me that lies are the only weapon that the enemy has. Think about that.  Satan is the father of all lies (John 8:44). He is the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10) “who accused them before our God day and night.” Lies is his native tongue.

One striking similarity these rounds of slander always share is the accusative spirit that fills each one. That mark is what makes me know without a doubt that the accusations are of Satan, even though I know the testing is from God. And this encourages me very much.

I know that God uses these times in wonderful ways for us, for our family, for our Christian community,  and for our church. I know and believe that no matter who it is that brings the slander, it is my loving and faithful God who sent it. And He means it absolutely for our good. I have seen this over and over.

The Holy Spirit is the Comforter, and He is active in these times. His word is easily distinguished from the satanic, accusative words. He gives us a lively faith, He gives us courage to believe His promises, and He comforts and strengthens us when the slander gets to be a hot mess.

Slander is a slippery business, and it is entirely out of our hands. It is an evil work and God will judge it. The Lord never blesses those who spread falsehood, slander, and lies.  “Whoever spreads slander is a fool” (Prov. 10:18b). It is far better to be wronged than to do wrong. I far prefer being lied about than being one who is spreading lies.  Here is a small sampling of what God thinks of falsehood:

“Behold the wicked brings forth iniquity; yes, he conceives trouble and brings forth falsehood. He made a pit and dug it out, and has fallen into the ditch which he made. His trouble shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down on his own crown” (Psalm 7:14-16).

“You shall destroy those who speak falsehood; the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man” (Psalm 5:6).

“An evildoer gives heed to false lips; a liar listens eagerly to a spiteful tongue” (Prov. 17:4).

“A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who speaks lies will not escape” (Prov. 19:5).

“These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: …a lying tongue….a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren” (Prov. 6:16-19).

Providing a complete contrast to falsehood, Jesus is the truth  (John 14:6). We are told to “stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth” when we put on the armor of God (Eph. 6:14) so we “may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Eph. 6:11). Many of those “wiles” are in the form of lies, slander, and falsehood. The truth is a strong defensive weapon, and so we put on Christ and stand.

Adversity and conflict are very good for us if we think about them rightly (biblically). They sharpen our faith. They provide opportunity to apply what God has taught us in His Word. We are tested, and we can, by God’s grace, pass the test. Jesus was lied about, and we are in good company when they lie about us. We have a good Savior who came out of the grave so He could walk with us through times like this.  Without Him, we would have nothing to rejoice about when they lie about us. But with and in Christ, we have all we need and more.

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60 thoughts on “Large Doses of Blessing

  1. Thank you for showing us how Christian community works! I am so grateful to have seen that in action!

  2. In the past, we lived 2,000 miles away when these “interesting times” erupted for Christ Church and Moscow. I can remember wondering how to assess all the stuff floating around when I had no first-hand knowledge of the people involved. But I never could see how a man could preach like Doug Wilson and be as fruitful as he is and yet be the wicked, deceptive, self-serving egoist some people allege him to be. And taking a page from Miss Marple, I knew all the types of people that lived in MY town and could guess that some of the same types were at large in Moscow. Now I’ve lived in Moscow several years and I can tell any reasonable person who is reading this that this is, in fact, a healthy, joyous, loving community, committed to Christ and each other. Pastor Wilson is a fantastic, life-changing preacher and one hundred percent committed to taking every gift God has given him to advance the Gospel. He has a wonderful family, who are fun, intelligent, and hard-working. And I was right, all the various types of people I had in my hometown are also here in Moscow, so do a little thought experiment and imagine who might say what and from what spirit, if your town and church were of national interest on the internet.

  3. So what about the droves of people leaving your churches and filling up the other churches because they feel it is so unhealthy. Many people speaking out right now have first hand experince in Moscow churches (CC and TRC) or have been members of other CREC churches. They love the LORD and are concerned about the false sense of safety.

  4. Congratulations on the birth of another grandson. We had another granddaughter born last week. What sweet blessings.

  5. Ana,
    Of course, over forty years of our church’s history, many people have left for various reasons, and we truly wish them well and hope they find what they are looking for!

  6. I meant recently Nancy. And many are leaving over the same concerns being voiced right now. The concerns are not slander or rocks. They are true concerns over protection or lack of protection. You aren’t being persecuted people are asking for answers. Answers to valid questions. People with personal experinces.

  7. Ana,
    I can’t think of anyone who has left our church recently over this stuff. The stuff that is out and about now is about a decade or more older. And some of the stories have changed drastically since they happened. My husband has repeatedly answered questions on his blog, but some people, Ana, do not really want answers! Thanks for commenting.

  8. Oh good! I am glad your little community is increasingly blessed. I hope you are able to bless others outside of your community, with the blessings you have been given. And live in a lifestyle of honesty and repentance, that keeps turning to Jesus.

  9. Ana, what droves of people leaving our churches? Seriously, that isn’t happening. I don’t know what else I can say. That’s just not happening.

  10. People can listen to others’ concerns, but then simply disagree with their take on a situation. It’s a leap to say that if people disagree with you they never listened to you or cared about your concerns.

  11. Nancy,

    I appreciate your viewpoint on celebrating when you are persecuted for being faithful believers. I imagine your party will be very large tonight! What my concern is is that there is something very large being missed here. Since I know Natalie, I will only speak for that situation. What is happening is NOT that people see that you are followers of Christ, sharing the truth in love and being persecuted for it. What is happening is that your church has greatly failed to protect and acknowledge abuse. Your husband has failed to call a perpredator a predator and because of that, he went on to victimize his own wife.

    Natalie deserves to be acknowledged as the victim that she is and until that happens, your church is a haven for abusers and from what the experts say (I actually talked about this very situation with a therapist who attended Reformed Theological Seminary and grew up in the reformed church, so he knows the dynamics) that there are certainly more cases that have not been disclosed b/c of the way this one has been handled. You are being persecuted for not protecting the oppressed, which is what you are called to.

    If you could open your heart and even study about the effects of sexual abuse, you would see that in Natalie’s years of therapy (which was required for her to heal from her very typical symptoms of sexual abuse) that she indeed was being abused and that what would be the faithful thing to do as Doug’s wife would be to encourage your husband to admit his failings in this case. Encourage him to have an independent investigation of the situation as opposed to an internal investigation.

    I realize you may never have experienced sexual abuse, but from my own personal experience, not being acknowledged for the abuse incurred is just as traumatic as the actual abuse. Your husband is being exposed for being a part of the problem rather than of the solution. It is NOT for your being faithful… as you state in this post.

  12. I hate to break it to some of you ladies, but every Sunday you sit in church you are sitting among sexual deviants, from voyeurs to pedophiles to rapists. Christ Church was CHAPERONING a known pedophile in their church who had been caught, arrested, tried, charged, prosecuted, and punished. What about the sexual predators in your churches? Maybe you should ask them to raise their hands before the next church service–so y’all feel safer. Good luck with that.

  13. Mrs. Wilson,
    Thank you so very much from the bottom of my heart for your faithful ministry, your devotion as a wife, mother, and grandmother, and for all the teaching you have given me to do the same. I have been blessed through you and I know that you will be blessed more because of it.
    You are absolutely right about persecution. I have always been greatly encouraged by you and your husband’s example and attitude amid attack. It is simply wonderful, and Biblical. Stand strong!
    It is somewhat ironic that on a post about slander there is more slander in the comments. “Droves”? Please, if that is not a word of exaggeration to excite, I don’t know what is.
    There are always some who leave when any church or organization is under attack. Most of the time, it is not because anything is actually wrong (they wouldn’t have left otherwise) but because they do not wish to be a part of controversy. It is hardly ammo to be used against that said church or organization. God bless the ones who stand, the ones who fight.
    I admire you and your family for daring to be public figures and putting yourselves on the line for Christ.
    If you are not taking flack, you are not over the target.
    Thank you!

  14. Ladies,
    Some of you have written comments that I have not cleared because in order to answer the accusations, I would have to tell a few back stories, not only about some of the players in the situations, but also about some of the commenters themselves, which I am unwilling to do. I do refer you to my husband’s blog where he has filled out as many details as we can share at this time. As the review proceeds, we may be able to share more.
    Blessings to you all.

  15. Hi Ana,
    Sorry for the delay in answering this….it’s Sunday night and I was off at our psalm sing, which was wonderful.
    The reason I deleted the comment you refer to is because it is not true. The woman who wrote the comment actually did not leave our church. She attended (and left) a sister church in our denomination, so it was a misleading comment. When she says she “recently left,” she doesn’t make it clear that she did not leave our church. And “the others” she refers to were not in our church either.
    So when I say we have not had anyone leave our church over this stuff, I speak the truth. We have a very large and loving congregation who are praying for us and standing with us during this onslaught, and I thank God for each and every one of them!

  16. the church your church planted? In the denomination your husband started? Maybe it wasn’t clear but could have been corrected. Maybe she can write again clearing that up. Your church is he begining of all CREC churches. Also I read two of the other comments you refused to publish and they don’t deal with any “situations”. Please don’t accuse us all of being evil doers and slanderers. We are not. We want honest answers to honest questions. And we have all experinced the CREC.

  17. Ana,
    You are creating a false impression when you say “droves” are leaving our church, and I am trying to correct that false impression. Our congregation has about a hundred more people now than it did this time last year. And the sister church I refer to is also growing. “Droves” are not leaving either church. Yes, a couple of families left our sister congregation. They were not happy there, and they were free to leave. We wish them well. I’m not sure why you don’t want to accept this. Perhaps you would like to correct the false impression you are creating?

  18. there are screenshots of everything you are deleting to scew this discussion. The truth will set you free Nancy. Accusing us of slander and then sensoring our defense will only enslave you.

  19. I’m interested to know if you welcome disagreement on your blog or not. If so, please advise as to what makes a comment publishable or not.

    If not, would you mind making a note of that somewhere just so it’s clear? Thanks

  20. Ladies,
    I am happy to discuss things with people who differ, but only if it is fruitful, and not with people who won’t listen.

  21. Nancy, I asked you some fruitful questions, of trying to clarify what slander is to you. Is this not okay with you?

  22. It is making start to see discussion with you as not leading to a fruitful end. It is hard for me to tell if you are listening or not?

  23. Won’t listen? You deleted Melissa’s comment and refuse to publish her clarification. All the while calling us evil doers? Why are you so afraid of Melissa’s testimony about leaving a church planted by CC?

  24. Ok, but what was wrong with my comment re: the Sermon on the Mount and 1 Tim 3:7? It seemed relevant exegetically speaking!

    How do you define “listening?” Can we have a civil discussion and raise questions or do we need to show signs that we can be persuaded by your point of view? I think if you don’t want to dialogue with people who disagree strongly, you could consider removing the comment feature.

  25. As someone who knows the whole story, I don’t want to let people who know half the story tell lies on my blog. Nor do I want to engage in fruitless discussion with them. So that is why I may choose to delete or block comments I think are misinformed or are from people who do not seem to be teachable. When I corrected the impression that droves were leaving (for example) , no one said, “Oh, good to know. We had the wrong idea.”

  26. What whole story? I asked you questions about how your church seems to be perceived in your community–it’s relevant to the post and not confidential.

    You clarified an issue of hyperbole. Forgive me for not thanking you; I was already familiar with the concept.

  27. Your right I asked you why you didn’t post Melissa’s comment where she clarified her first hand experience. We can go in circles about the meaning of droves but that would be silly. Do you want me to say a lot instead? What would be acceptable for you. Melissa described exactly what she has seen.

  28. Strong disagreement is okay, but irrational disagreement is a big waste of time. As long as you have half the story, you ask for answers. When you given answers (as in my husband’s blog), you accuse us of attacking victims, when all we were doing was saying what happened.

  29. Nancy, it isn’t irrational disagreement to talk with you about your interpretation of Scripture. Here’s one of my earlier comments that was not published:

    “Hey Nancy! I’m going to try to rewrite my comment so that it’s non-accusatory. I certainly wouldn’t want you to have to tell anything personal about anybody!

    Basically, I think we should take the whole Sermon on the Mount into consideration here. The questions is whether your community is being the light and salt Jesus described. If so, kudos! But it seems like being disliked by the locals isn’t a good indicator of that.

    Once again: if y’all turn your attention to 1 Tim. 3:7, you will see another Biblical principle: overseers should be of good reputation outside the church. Obviously we have to apply that rightly, but it might be a good check on the “rejoicing” principle you cite above. I think it be reasonable to look for what the harmony of those principles might look like.

    Thanks!”

  30. Ummm I haven’t mentioned the situation at all. I am simply addressing you attacking people for questioning your very public husband. And you never answered why Melissa’s testimony about leaving and encountering refugees was not worthy of being published.

  31. You seem to believe that people want to know the whole story. And that in our questions, we have asking for answers of all the details of what goes on in your church. I really don’t think that is what most people are asking you. We are asking you consider. Take a step back and think again. Be willing to learn more about abuse and victim blaming and shaming. Be willing to learn from outsiders.
    I am not asking you to to tell me stories about people. I am asking you to stop calling people who ask questions “slanderous”
    I think that you and Doug believing that everyone “wants the whole story” may be based on you not hearing what people are saying. I personally have not heard anyone ask for the whole story. (Also, do you believe that you and Doug know the whole story, and that Natalie only knows part of it? I wonder how this could possibly be.)

  32. I know exactly nothing about this situation beyond whats been posted in the comments. But i think we do the world a disservice by implying that anyone other than an offender is responsible for the offenders actions. My prayers are with Natalie- I’ve been an abuse victim who’s abuser was comforted by the church. And my prayers are with the church.

    When I was abused by my stepfather, my family denied the event took place. It was 5 years before he confessed and once he did the church comforted him: gave him counsel, helped provide for his legal defense. Obviously i left that church. As i think anyone would agree i should have. But if the church isn’t there to minister to and comfort the lowliest of its members, what good is it? If the church is only there for the victims, the innocent, why have it at all? I found counsel in a new church home and my abuser was told that Christ still loved him. I can’t find fault in the church for those actions.

    So while I’m not sure my situation is parallel to whats going on in Moscow, I pray for your church, for the victims and for understanding from the people. =)

  33. Your community is amazing. It has become a place of refuge and encouragement for me and my husband dispite the days long drive. Thanks for facing slander & difficulties with grace and peace. What a wonderful example! Congratulations on your beautiful new grandson. God bless.

  34. Sarah Anne,
    I am happy to answer your question, since it is an actual question and not a rant!
    Of course I Tim. 3:7 is important in this discussion. We do strive to have a good testimony with outsiders, and in many cases, we do, as is seen in some of the comments. At the same time, you have to balance this with all the Scriptures I cited in my blog post. If the standard is to have everyone like us all the time, then why so many Scriptures telling us how to behave when people lie about us and say all kinds of evil about us? And Jesus said to watch out when all men speak well of you (Luke 6:26). The apostles were well loved by many and hated by many, as was Jesus. So I’m just saying, we are in good company.

  35. Erin,
    Slander, according to the dictionary, is “a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report.”

  36. Nancy,

    I’m feeling a bit confused here. I know this must be a tough time for your family. I’m praying for resolution! You say that you only like to post comments of people who are actually willing to listen. My question to you is: is your part of the story based on what Natalie said/did when she was still blaming herself for the abuse and before it became very clear that Jamin would go on to abuse his own wife, or is your story based what Natalie is telling now, after she has been through therapy and has a much more clear understanding of what happened herself?

    It just seems that the conflict in this is that you and your husband are basing a lot of your opinions on some irrelevant information and if you applied yourself to truly researching sexual abuse and it’s affects, you would see that Natalie is a classic survivor of sexual abuse. Are you open to looking at the situation with fresh eyes? After all, when your husband believed that Jamin was not actually a predator, Jamin had not yet proven to be one in his future relationship.

    What is it about Natalie’s current story that you feel is only half the truth? After all, she is the one that was there and has the whole story. I do understand there is always more than one side to a story, but many others have come forward, who were also there (in the church) to apologize to her….elders, pastors and friends who were conned by Jamin ( a classic tactic of abusers is that they are charming, charismatic con-artists) and have admitted they were conned. Does Doug feel he was conned at all, or is it just others who feel this way? Does she not deserve to be heard and acknowledged for the pain she suffered and the lack of support she received? In my own experience, in the church in general, it is very true that people have no idea how to hold space for someone going through a traumatic time. It’s tragic, truly. If we can’t be supported in our deep time of need, by those in the church, something is very wrong.

    What did Jesus have to say specifically about being persecuted by other Christians? That’s really what’s happening here. Maybe some of those targeting you are not, but the vast majority are, and they are even current members or past members of the CREC.

    Sorry for my long-windedness. I am very passionate about this topic for many reasons.

  37. Awhile back we were at our local PP protest (last I checked our city has the highest per capita abortion rate in the country, so it’s not exactly friendly territory to be protesting here). Anyway, afterwards my husband and I were talking about how funny it is that it really is encourage when people drive by and honk or wave in support. All that to say, you can imagine me with my window rolled down yelling, “Thanks Ladies!” as I drive by your blog today. Your blog has been a huge encouragement to me! Thanks for all you do!

  38. Maria,
    Let me answer by asking you a couple of questions. Natalie’s father, Gary, was suspended from the Lord’s Supper at our church in March of 2006. Do you (or anyone else who is accusing us of not caring for Natalie) know why he was suspended? Do you know what the charge was? And second, what reasons do you have for thinking that Natalie’s therapy actually helped her in a spiritually positive way? We believer she was in much better spiritual shape in 2006 than she is now.

  39. Congratulations to the Jankovics (and you too!) on the arrival of their little boy. A few blog posts ago I thought it was mentioned that there was a book in the works from Rachel? Her other two books are a frequent encouragement. I’d love to get my hands on another:)

  40. Nancy,
    I do know about Gary being suspended from the Lord’s Table. And Natalie being suspended too, I believe. I am not sure how that information is part of this conversation? But, since you bring it up, can you help me understand where the Bible ever tells the elders to bar people from the Lord’s Table? The apostle Paul exhorts people who come with wrong motivation, that they themselves are eating and drinking condemnation to themselves. Right?

    Thanks for the dictionary definition of slander! I am still confused why we are the ones slandering? And, you calling us slanderers is not possibly an issue of slander here. And possibly, you judging the wellness of Natalie’s heart before God… possibly that is a slanderous statement?

  41. Nancy,

    I’m also not sure what Gary has to do with whether Natalie is a victim of sexual abuse. I am quite sure he did not purposely make mistakes to cause the abuse, himself, but I am aware that Natalie tried to kill herself twice in 2006. To me, that might be like saying since Bryony said yes to marry Jamin, she has something to do with him abusing her as well.

    On top of trying to kill herself, Natalie hated herself too, which goes without saying if she tried to kill herself. Is that what you mean by spiritually healthier? Did you know, as her pastor’s wife, that she tried to kill herself twice that year? The year you say she was much healthier spiritually than she is now?

    According to Natalie, she has tried to kill herself two times less than that just this year alone. To me, that sure sounds like a spiritual improvement, not a spiritual regression. But who am I to judge?

    Again, I do not bring this up to attack you, but to bring light where light has not been shown, to hopefully create more safety for other victims who are afraid to come forth whether in your church or any church. We need to set that example. We are called to protect the oppressed. Natalie is very, very courageous to tell her story. At least we can honor her for that.

    Thank you for engaging in this conversation. I very much appreciate it.

  42. Congratulations on your precious grandson! What a blessing! Also, thank you for your family’s faithful ministry. It has been and continues to be an immense blessing to our family.

  43. “Compliance is a characteristic of an abusive church. Submission is equated with compliance. The leaders in these churches do not tolerate disagreement or dissent. Disciples who speak critically about leaders are frequently labled as rebellious, divisive, factious, or SLANDEROUS.

    Slander can mean anything negative that is said about the leadership even if it is not false.

    Think about it, if you were the leader and you convinced your congregation to believe that almost any criticism of you should be labeled as divisive, factious, SLANDEROUS, or something else sinful, then you could squelsh nearly all criticism of yourself.

    And it is often taught through obedience training of ‘selective focusing’ applied to the words, ‘obey’ and ‘submit.'”

    Quoted from: The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse

    You don’t need to post this, Nancy, it it’s too telling. It is enough that you’ve read it.

  44. Who is it that won’t tolerate disagreement or dissent here? I disagree with you. Can you tolerate that or do you need to characterize me as a sheeple to keep your narrative going? Where is the respect and room for my opinion, concerns, and feelings?

  45. “We believer [sic] she was in much better spiritual shape in 2006 than she is now.”

    Nancy, I was hoping you would clarify this statement. Natalie actually states she was suicidal during this time, and experiencing PTSD from the abuses she experienced. Rational people, including doctors, would state this is not healthy human behavior in ANY way shape or form. Spiritual or otherwise, suicidal thoughts/actions indicate a person furthest from anything resembling “better shape.”

    This points out to me that either 1) You made a statement about Natalie’s health that showed absolutely no knowledge of the situation (although you state you have the “whole story” somehow) or 2) Your isolated church (I’m a recently moved local, and yes, your church is rather isolated from the general Moscow community) has a RADICALLY different way of diagnosing and treating people in extreme sickness and distress.

    If #2 is indeed the case, I’m curious how you actually diagnose and treat PTSD and abuse related sickness within your community and hoping you could expound on that more.

  46. It’s okay, Kirsten, calm down. You sound upset. Where does it say, “sheeple?” What is a “sheeple?” I don’t know what you claim I am not “tolerating,” or what I am “characterizing?” Nope, just rechecked my comment; nothing about any of that . Hmmm weird. I’m just quoting a great book on spritual abuse. It’s worth reading. Promise.

  47. Kerri,
    I believe she’s referring to those above who are called ‘slanderous.’ If you read through the comment thread it will make more sense to you. It’s a typical pattern that happens when folks bring abuse into the light. Shaming is an effort to control through persecuting those who bring the said abuse into the light. If you ever read about abuse, it will make more sense. There are tactics used to silence people. These tactics are written about extensively in abuse research.

  48. Granted, I don’t personally know any of the people involved in any of these situations (much like most of us here). But I am thoroughly confused as to why some are claiming that there has been denial of abuse. I, who know next to nothing, have read acknowledgements of the heinous abuse perpetrated by these young men. A decade ago or whenever these incidents were occurring, before any of us had heard any of these names, weren’t the elders involved insisting the abuse be reported to the civil authorities? Weren’t the perpetrators of these crimes incarcerated? Did any of these elders suggest they ought not be incarcerated? What rabbit hole have I fallen down here?

  49. Sorry, Kirsten, I called you Kerri, above. Katie, I love your question so much! Can you tell me where you have seen Doug call Jamin a predator and Natalie a victim of sexual abuse? That would be amazing for all of us to see and if I have missed that, I have a lot of apologizing to do. I am well aware that there is misunderstanding going on, and at the same time, there is much concern within the CREC even, that Natalie was not acknowledged or supported when she came out about her abuse. Many are requesting that Doug come out and say publicly, for her sake and the sake of others who don’t feel safe to get help, that things were mishandled on Natalie’s part.

    Thank you for bringing it back to what the real issue is here. It’s important because we don’t want to personally attack Doug and Nancy’s character in this. They clearly acted in the best way they knew how at the time. The issue that many are concerned with is that Natalie was further shamed when she spoke up as the victim (through silence and by not being supported by the church in her time of need) and deserves for that to be acknowledged. It’s important for her’s and all of our sakes, for safety for victims and for the education that we all need on handling abuse and abuse victims and the further trauma that we cause when we don’t acknowledge the victim for their suffering. This is how as a community, we open the doors for further abuse. The church, of all places, needs to be a safe place for those who have suffered.

  50. “because in order to answer the accusations, I would have to tell a few back stories,”

    No, you don’t. You don’t have to answer that accusations and you don’t have to tell back stories. To continue to engage and let further info dribble out only keeps adding fuel to the fires. At least that’s the way it seems to me from the dribs and drabs that keep popping up in my feeds and message boxes.

    You can approve or delete the comments at your own discretion. It’s your blog.

    Considering Natalie says she has sent a ‘cease and desist’ letter, the wisest course of action might be to say nothing further. Full stop.

  51. Hello everyone. Instead of hovering over the comment clog happening, I have been hovering over a sweet new grandson! But I’m sorry you’ve had to wait. Christian, I didn’t delete your comment, but just got to my computer to clear it now. And on top of being distracted by a beautiful baby boy, my website is being very slow (think two minutes from clearing a comment to being able to see it on the website). So I am not going to try to answer any more comments until this is fixed. But even after it’s fixed, I don’t see this conversation being very productive, but rather just stirring the pot, which I don’t see as helpful. So you’ll have to carry on without me.
    Christian, I asked my husband about the discrepancy you pointed out, and here’s what he said: “Mike made his statement in the early stages of this controversy and got some of the facts wrong. Since then we have gone through our minutes and records and this is what happened: Gary was suspended from the Supper (one step before excommunication) for his abusive mistreatment of his family. While in that status, he joined the EO church, and we decided not to pursue excommunication (which would have required a trial) for the sake of the family.”

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