Is this about Tony Jones vs Julie McMahon or about the abuse of power?

"Abused Sinner" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward
“Abused Sinner” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

I shared with you in yesterday’s post that I watched Kill the Messenger, the story of the journalist Gary Webb who uncovered the CIA’s collusion with drug cartels in Central America. They brought crack cocaine into the US in exchange for them using some of the massive profits to fund Reagan’s Contras. When the story first broke in Webb’s famous “Dark Alliance” series, he became a journalistic hero. But when pressures from above were applied to the newspapers, they started to cave under the intimidation and spin of the government. Webb was eventually discredited, unable to find work, and was finally found dead with two bullets to the head. It was ruled suicide.

At one point in the film, Webb is warned about what’s going to happen to him. Someone inside the government warns him that they are going “controversialize” him. That is, they are going to dig up all the dirt they can find on him and publicize it. They are going to make the story about him rather than the story. Eventually, people would forget about the scandal and only remember him and what he did. Sure enough, as predicted, this is exactly what happens. He lost everything.

To this day, the official news corp still discredits Webb. They claim his research and writing was full of holes, inaccurate, misleading, and even intentionally false. His story has been dismissed by all those in authority. In this article, Marc Levin suggests that even though there were some mistakes in Webb’s reporting, it was because the story was shrouded in secrecy and Webb was doing his best to get to the root of what was happening. Levin says, “Once again the paper has decided to focus on discrediting a fellow journalist instead of deepening the analysis of the story he highlighted.” That is, rather than continue to dismiss Webb and his work, they should look deeper into what Webb was uncovering. Of course there are going to be some mistakes because of the nature of the story. But something was going on that needed to be uncovered and told.

I was so impacted by the film because it reminds me of what’s going on right now, yes, right now, in the Tony Jones and Julie McMahon story. We don’t know the whole truth. But we do know we are onto something important and we are trying to talk about it. It’s about the abuse of power. Of course it is shrouded in secrecy because it wants to continue undeterred.

Nadia Boltz-Weber posted an over the top glowing review of Jones’ new book, Did God Kill Jesus?: Searching for Love in History’s Most Famous Execution. I mean, glowing:

“I am so grateful for this important book. I will honestly be referring people to Did God Kill Jesus? for decades to come. It’s that important. If I had this book in seminary, several of my classes would have made a lot more sense.”

But what’s more important is the comment section. At this point there are over 550 comments. At first, the comments are asking Bolz-Weber why she would promote a book by someone who is an alleged abuser. But at some point the tide turns, and the comment section gets flooded with strange names with private accounts with no apparent internet history who reveal nothing about who they really are. Some are explicitly fans of Jones. But most are questioning the integrity, reliability, and morality of Julie.

Julie is being controversialized.

Even though the real story is about Julie being thrown under the bus, gaslighted, bullied, abused, and shamed by a popular Christian leader and his friends, the story is becoming about her. Even though the story is about the abuse of power, it’s becoming about the personal life and character of Julie.

These people would like the story to be about that she lives in a upper-class neighborhood, has a fleet of SUVs, has a bottomless pit of wealth from her family’s connection to oil, has nannies and is a member of exclusive clubs, is a liar, a bad mother, vengeful, hateful, and… back to the very original accusation… batshit crazy. These are just some of the accusations… implicit and explicit.

The story is now about Julie’s character. Not about the abuse of power.

In fact, not content to discredit Julie, they are implicitly threatening to look into the lives of those who have provided a place for her to share her experiences, including me. They are openly asking people for information.

It’s almost like Nadia Bolz-Weber’s post has become an anti-post to my post that started all this, Tony Jones on Mark Driscoll: What Came First, the Thug or the Theology. My post and the comments are about a story of the abuse of power. Bolz-Weber’s post and the comments are about Julie.

Some might argue: “Well, your post made Tony look bad. Bolz-Weber’s post makes Julie look bad. All’s fair in love and war!”

But I would disagree. My post became about a safe space for a person to share her experiences of abuse, shame, and silencing from not one man, but from many people. Bolz-Weber’s post is a smear campaign to discredit Julie and dismiss her story. As if sinners can’t be abused.

Again, it’s not about a messy divorce. It’s about questionable activities surrounding the divorce that were intentionally covered up to protect ministries. That’s the story.

Here’s another quote from the film Kill the Messenger:

“You get attracted by the power. Then you get addicted to the power. Then you get devoured by the power.”

This is true. It applies to those in power. They are consumed by it. But it also applies to its victims. They are being devoured by the power. Chewed up and spit out.

And, like the cartoon above suggests, they are even being blamed for their own suffering. Bolz-Weber’s post’s comment section is victim-blaming par excellence.

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79 Replies to “Is this about Tony Jones vs Julie McMahon or about the abuse of power?”

  1. When I began finding the courage to speak up about the abuses in my marriage, Julie took the time to contact me privately & encourage me.

    I wil always remember & appreciate that when her world was in chaos, she took a moment to say, “I believe you. What you’re doing is hard, & I support you.”

    Stay strong, Julie. I know it’s hard. I still believe you. I stil support you.

  2. Though I think there are two sides to every story, and I am not up on this story of Julie and Tony, I found what you said here:

    ” the comment section gets flooded with strange names with private accounts with no apparent internet history who reveal nothing about who they really are. Some are explicitly fans of Jones. But most are questioning the integrity, reliability, and morality of Julie.”

    To be very revealing. The wagons circle and will protect the power that be — and use any questionable means they can. Very well state, David.

    BTW: Concerning the Jesus cartoon: bad the abused woman bible story (with stone throwing threat) is apocryphal. But at least someone who was forging the gospels realized it was an important principle to state — even if they put words in Jesus’ mouth.

  3. The threats-couched-in-reasonable-concern that toe the line of doxxing Julie supporters were especially troubling to me. That conversation felt so incredibly icky.

  4. I have read a few of Tony’s books as well as many of his blog posts and have appreciated them, but I also appreciate the space you’ve made here, David, for people like Julie who have otherwise been silenced. Thanks for all you’re doing and keep up the good work.

  5. Thanks folks.

    Kenton: Here’s the thing: Just because I think what Tony and his friends did was wrong, this doesn’t mean he can’t write good things. The adverse applies to Julie: just because she she might be a sinner, doesn’t mean she can’t be a victim.

  6. Religious preachers often share a common trait — they will stretch whatever they can to support their theology. I don’t trust Tony’s writings because I have seen him tell us:

    “In fact, I think that as quantum theory develops, a materialist resurrection will seem more and more compelling.”

    Tony jumped right on the quantum bandwagon to sell his product — how sad.

    I drew a pic of the Quantum Jesus here.

    That Tony will muster similar lame support for his divorce thing would not surprise me. The habit of bullshit lives with us all, of course, but wrapped in holy garments, it is disgusting and more dangerous. So either we push for better pastors, or we warn people that religion can be bad for your health or both.

  7. Oh, the Penguin diagram redrawn as the Messiah. Neat.

    Quantum Jesus is in Deepak Choprah’s realm of BS. Who also tried to sue critics into the ground, one notable place was when he published a BS paper in a science journal and the journal retracted it and criticized the paper.

  8. David, this is completely on point. Thank you for being a voice of sanity in the midst of all this, and keeping the focus where it needs to be—that a “Christian leader” abused his wife spiritually, emotionally, and physically; had an affair; silenced his victim; and controlled the conversation happening around him through threats, monetary connections, and influence.

    This is not about the divorce or about what Julie has done. It’s about why the Church has done so little to help Julie and other victims of abuse. It’s about why the hell such a person as TJ is still seen as a “Christian leader.”

  9. Since my brother in-law committed suicide last fall, I’ve been reading up on Narcissistic Personality Disorder and all of the abuse that goes on within the church. His family (and I) believe his wife had NPD and his suicide was eventually a result of that, combined with abuse from his church body. It’s *so* ugly and people with NPD will stop at *nothing*. The gaslighting combined with the smear campaign she’s launched against my in-laws and family is like nothing I have ever experienced. We (his family) have been left in the dust, afraid to say much (who would listen?), and dreaming of the day his wife will recede back into the darkness from which she came.

    All of this to say that I’m somewhat new to Julie McMahon’s story, but I’ve read all that I could find, and I *so* believe Julie. I feel for her situation so much and can’t imagine all she’s been through with Tony. When I am feeling crappy about the situation that we’re in, I think about how hard she’s fighting for herself and her kids, and it somehow gives me strength to deal with our NPD woman-from-beneath. Julie, to me, is a hero and I will always be so grateful and thankful that she had the courage to speak out because it has started a conversation about NPD and abuse in the church that my quieter story couldn’t have started. That lots of people’s quieter stories couldn’t have started. Someday, I hope and pray, that she will be recognized as such, but until then, I will recognize her as the hero she is.

    I believe Julie. I believe her 100%.

  10. I have been following this situation since last September, but have been very hesitant to share one of the main reasons why I’ve believed Julie since she first posted on NP’s story last September. I have friends and colleagues who support ToJo. I don’t know what the consequences will be if this gets traced back to me, but here goes: I met ToJo last year at a conference. Within about an hour of meeting him he made comments to me about wanting to ‘murder his ex-wife’ and wishing he had never ____________ * (*see below). I knew nothing of his personal life at the time, but I remember being really weirded out by the intensity with which he said these things. He did not sound ‘jokey.’ It was disturbing. I handed my hosting responsibilities over to other conference volunteers after that and kept my distance from him. Even so, I had held out the possibility that I might pursue a partnership with JoPa on a future conference, but realized in January, when ToJo began his retaliation against Julie, that I could not, in good conscience do so. I reached out to Julie privately two months ago to let her know and to offer my prayers and support. One side note: I have also been asked to provide major financial support to a local NBW appearance in 2016. I intend to speak to the organizers of that event about withdrawing my pledge and to tell them why. Sorry for attempting to be anonymous about this, I hope you all understand.
    (*The rest of this sentence has been edited to protect minor children involved in an ongoing legal dispute.)

  11. Revmomo thank you for telling your story. TJ is a scary guy. A lot of this honestly reminds me of the recent HBO documentary, ‘Going Clear’. Have you seen it?

  12. I hope Julie has watched the recent Monica Lewinsky TED talk that it might bring a bit of comfort. I wish the commenters would, too, and learn. I am saddened to read this.

  13. I think more people with actual experience with Tiny Jones are going to start speaking out.

    And it needs to happen.

    His “ministry” is a disgrace to the cross. Anyone with 10 minutes of salvation knows that a man who cannot practice salvation is not capable of speaking on it.

  14. I find it interesting that I keep reading your posts only to find you are writing exactly what’s been swirling around in my head (and heart). This situation, and countless others, is about the creation and protection of reputation and power, and the use of it to discredit, bully and silence the victims.

    The tragedy is the pervasive nature of this reality. Characters and minor details change from place to place, but this story is being played out again and again throughout the world. I’ve experienced it firsthand, and I’ve got to the place where I find it almost impossible to trust in so-called ‘church leadership’.

  15. You are right – this is not just a religious issue. I think my problem is that I still expect those who are selling a better/higher way to be able to actually live it. Seems like they’re peddling a dud product, otherwise…

  16. Things are getting honestly really scary over on NBW’s blog. The more Tony talks through his alternate personalities, the more credible Julie’s story becomes (even though she’s never lacked credibility in my eyes, from the beginning).

  17. I had to reread that. Speechless.

    “Within about an hour of meeting him he made comments to me about wanting to ‘murder his ex-wife’ and wishing he had never had children.” (revmomo)

    I am not surprised. He told me, “I will tear your head off if you tell anyone about Courtney.” But honestly, I had my life threatened? How is this man a representative of God? He’s not. The enablers who allow his bad behavior for 7 years to go unchecked are a major part of the problem. My heart breaks for my kids that they will never know peace. He. Can’t. Do. It. and it is his diagnosis that makes it an impossibility.

  18. revmomo? NPD’s do murder their targets and so honestly I am a little freaked out right now. He gets more and more desperate with each failed attack. He lost in court 2 weeks ago and the rage on his face frightened me. Can I ask you if you would contact me? You can get my email through David. I think I need to get an Order for Protection based on that quote. He is a gun owner and he is scary. I don’t feel safe knowing that and on NBW blog tonight a person named BigBrowner knew my address.

  19. Julie, I’ll reach out to you and David privately. I’m so sorry for all that you’ve been dealing with from ToJo and his self-interested supporters.

  20. “WHY DIDN’T YOU ADD A LINK ASKING PEOPLE TO PAY TO YOUR ARTWORK OR TO BE PART OF YOUR GROUP THAT COSTS $7 A MONTH LIKE YOU DID ALL THE OTHER TIMES, DAVID HAYWARD? There’s profit in every one of these posts for you. It’s right down there in the link at the bottom of your posts. $$$$$$$ Keep his work alive, folks. Hate TONY JONES, check out these allegations, buy my art, pay me every month.”


    “Welcome back, David and thanks for sharing this link! I was wondering since your name has been brought up a few times and since you’ve been one of the people who operates under your real identity, if you’d be willing to share your backstory with Julie. People have asked whether you know Julie or were ever her pastor in a brick and mortar congregation in the same city or if you’ve developed a connection based on things like online and phone interactions? Did you know Tony and Julie when they were married or divorcing etc? ”

    Really? Wow.

    I’m sorry David.:^(

    The above quotes are from comments at the Nadia Boltz-Webber thread, and likely sock puppet accounts. It’s a troubling study of power screaming.
    Pillorying, intimidating, attacking, distracting, deflecting de-humanizing are words that come immediately to mind.
    Double bind no-win. It isn’t pleasant to be on the receiving end, no matter what tone is used by the powerful or their minions, because when, as you point out so well, we are witnessing the abuse of power, anyone can be consumed.

    Creepy, creepy stuff. From where I sit, it was orchestrated, a twisted word dance.
    This isn’t a word I use often, a word I try to use carefully – it’s evil.

    I pray for wisdom, discernment and restraint for every tweeter and blogger attacked, and for peace, healing and deliverance for Julie. May He shelter all of you who stand.

  21. “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.” Luke 7:39.

    Tragically, it was this kind of thing of that Jesus was “contravecialised” about. It seems that there is nothing new under the sun and prophets have been and will be stoned and killed.

    I know I talk about forgiveness and compassion and I stand by that. No attempt at reconciliation can happen without that, isn’t that what Julie wants? However yes, I realise all too painfully the need for victims to have a voice in keeping with what Jesus did with release for the oppressed and how forces can conspire against that.

    I don’t hate Tony Jones I’m not going to let him have the power over me to do that. What I read of what has happened makes me understand that it it is difficult to do what God requires and forgive. No, this is not to enable abuse to continue, it is to enable freedom for any victim of abuse. I can shout and scream but if no-one is listening,all that happens is that I exhaust myself and get a sore throat.

    Form what I have experienced personally with supporting a friend through a long time of court appearances, every appearance for her was traumatic and brought back feelings, at one time of being physically punched in the stomach and the loss off a baby as a result. She just wanted it to be over with and to be moving on. Thankfully now she has re-married, and located to a different country to get away from the man she was with who was in a powerful position in the church. It seems to me that all that cam be done often is to walk away, and sometimes RUN!

    I’m not in a position of power to be an influence on another in power, but I can be there for a victim. It seems David that you are having some impact in this with addressing injustices. All I can do is give you my support with that.

  22. BeneD it is the closest thing to evil I will ever know. NPDs are devoid of empathy and their enablers are well groomed and given their scripts and marching orders. It’s some scary stuff and the antithesis of love.

  23. Philipp:

    Your concern here is for Nadia?

    Nadia has spoken with her silence about Julie and her support and promotion of Tony.

  24. Yeah, I believe that Nadia is complicit, even if it’s not apparent in that thread. I don’t know about that thread, but posts favorable of Julie were heavily deleted in the past.

  25. And Nadia has given a glowing review of the product of a man known to behave evilly to his own family. She knows this information is out there, and she’s siding with the abuser.

  26. Character assassination of the survivor instead of a modicum of accountability for his continued sinful actions. I have experienced the smoke and mirrors routine to deflect and distract from the abuse issues for years. It is fairly effective….gets people dissecting my mothers bank account even rather then discussing the fact that this person is an abuser with a severe clinical diagnosis. I hope to some small degree if nothing else this 8 month journey of telling my story and being heard….finally has rasied awareness and eductation regarding narcissist run amok in church circles and in the legal system There are entire books on the topic and I have read many. It is scary and they are 100% UNFIT to lead. However, many Pastors in your pulpits are indeed narcissist. You just have only met Dr. Jekyll (charmer and charismatic and the nicest guy you’ll ever meet) and until you engage and interact with Mr. Hyde this entire story is lost on you. You can’t charm your way out of a $4000 psychological exam. To me, that is the beginning and the end. And the fact that “sadistic traits” were identified is the nail in the coffin. Thanks for the support those that have been supportive. Trust me when I tell you that being a narcissistic target is and continues to be a living hell. I have begged Doug Pagitt to put a stop to him. He chooses enabling and keeping the money flowing instead.

  27. My heart breaks for you and your journey. Unfortunately you are right the church is a great place for them to hide, right out in the open. A cry for justice blog( trying to get the church to deal with abuse) just did a post on how the church response to abuse victims is similar to countries in which rape victims are the ones charged rather than the rapist. There is no way to explain to people what it’s really like trying to put the pieces of your soul back together after living with a person with NPD. While watching the church continue to worship him. The fact that my kids continue to be exposed to him does make me bat shit crazy!

    This applies to the next comic more but is there not scripture that speaks about those in leadership being held to a higher account? (I’m on a time out from the bible for a bit or I would look it up)
    Once again David I’m so grateful for your work on this topic, so many would rather not look at it.

  28. Interesting, it looks like the comment section on NBW’s blog post is gone. Is this a problem with my computer or did it get taken down? Did anyone get screenshots?

  29. I hear you Julie.

    I have been accused of abuse, been told to leave churches, been called someone who is in league with the devil, told I always need to be nice etc etc etc.

    I wouldn’t call any of this abuse, I always got out before if came to that, but you do get alienated once you take a stand for what is right against a corrupt system as you show. You are not alone.

  30. I just communicated with Mr. Nadia. I find it odd I have also communicated with Mr. Rachel but the actual celebs won’t touch me. Anyway, he said his oopsy I deleted 881 comments was an accident. I assured him no worries I have them all and I will send them to you now so you can put them back….crickets.

  31. “Julie is being controversialized”

    Yes, this is classic. We see it all the time in politics to change the conversation. (both sides) I learned the hard way that to defend is death. Never defend but always keep the victim and what was done to them by the more powerful person, front and center of the convo. Don’t allow yourself to be derailed. If there is any group that understands being “controversialized” it is rape victims and what has happened to them in trials of the past. Their character becomes an issue instead of what was done to them.

    One thing narcissists do, especially ones who have power, is to all of a sudden turn their victims into “equals”. As in “look what she has done to me” or “look how bad he is” to get the focus off their power and behavior in the situation. Frankly, I see a lot of commenters do this as well trying to equalize everything, including sin. So many Christian celebrity pastors are like this when some scandal comes up. They still want to maintain the credibility to “teach” us but insist they are sinners just like everyone else so don’t judge. IOW: Read my books and listen to my sermons but don’t expect me to have higher standards of behavior for myself and if you do then you are unforgiving and judgemental. It works. Many people buy into that..

  32. “Read my books and listen to my sermons but don’t expect me to have higher standards of behavior for myself…”

    Exactly, but if the books and sermons don’t work for them, why on earth should others buy into them? Maybe there’s something wrong with the product they’re selling…

  33. The comments have been disconnected from the site, but they’re still on the disqus site itself:

    If the disqus discussion goes down, archives for both the Sarcastic Luther and Naked Pastor thousand-comment threads are on Scribd, in a few different formats. These include full PDF; smaller, no images PDF; and text only formats. These archives could assist people who find the original comment threads difficult to read.

  34. Well, at least I have a PDF of the whole thing now. A bit annoying as Disqus doesn’t seem to have a “show all” button, so you must expose 50 more comments at a time.

  35. Last time I checked my Bible I did not see an exception clause to commit adultery or abuse another person. Did I miss something these Tony “supporters” see?

    I am tired of the “two sides” to every story crap. ( Yes, this is true. However, do we need to hear the other side when sin is obvious and NOT even denied (e.g. adultery or being “spiritually married” to a woman while actually/legally married to another).

    To me, people faced with the uncomfortable facts that their beloved leader has a character issue will go through great lengths to avoid this reality (and not just in this case). By engaging in the “always two sides to the story” view while hard facts are in front of the person about abuse and adultery is to me participation in evil. This perspective is essentially digging for a way to excuse the unexcusable or find an exception to the prohibition to sin.

    As a philosophy major, I recognize these lines of reasoning as fallacies. And yes, utilizing these fallacies in reasoning is another way to say “controversialize” as David eloquently puts it in this post. The first fallacy I see is an ad hominem to attack the victim’s character (i.e. “to the man”) and/or a red herring (i.e. “Hey! Look over there!”) to distract from the real issues of abuse/adultery (I am of the opinion adultery falls under abuse). It is not only wicked; it is bad reasoning.

    But then again, some people hate the light of truth as Scripture teaches.

  36. Hi David, I don’t know how to get Jullie or Tim a message, but I had told them I was contacting Tony’s publisher to ask about the amount they paid to book endorsers. I thought H1 had blown me off but it turns out I did hear back later and endorsers do not get paid.

    “Endorsers are not paid in any form. Paying endorsers would be frowned upon in this industry. Endorsers do not sign contacts, they do not agree to promote the work outside the endorsement, and they do not sign anything agreeing not to comment negatively about the publisher, author, or book. We do send each endorser one free copy of the book they endorse.”

    I still think there are benefits to endorsing someone else’s book, such as it might reinforce your celebrity that you were chosen to be an endorser. I guess I was being a little too paranoid though, it doesn’t turn out there’s any money involved.

    Since the comments on N’s page seem to be closed now, I thought I’d leave this here since I know you don’t censor.

  37. I had forgotten about the FCC disclosure rules, which would require even “We do send each endorser one free copy of the book they endorse.” to be disclosed, regardless of any confidentiality clauses. Rachel Held Evans is pretty good at this – she has a FCC Disclosure section on her website.

    Nadia and Patheos in general, not so much.

    bethanyann73, is there a public statement by HarperOne that verifies this – or can you post a copy of the email or your contact at HarperOne?

  38. Oops, that’s the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and Rachel’s statement is:

    “FTC Disclosures
    In accordance with Federal Trade Commission regulations for bloggers please note the following:

    As a blogger Rachel reviews and promotes certain products or services, especially books, blogs, and conferences. While she makes a habit of only writing about things she’s actually interested in, you should always assume that Rachel:

    Receives free books to review
    Receives some sort of gain such as: money, reciprocal blog post, free cup of coffee, for things she writes about or links to
    Uses affiliate links to receive a commission for any purchases you make on other websites you click through to visit from this website inlcuding such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
    Receives free or paid attendance and airfare/travel to any meetings or events she writes articles about or discusses
    Gets something beneficial for herself for anything she does on her blog or website”


    Perhaps JoPa’s next Social Media Training Event could be on Etiquette, Ethics and Legal Requirements in Social Media?

  39. Mr. Nadia and Mr. Rachel to the rescue . . . doesn’t speak much to women having voices that should be heard. Nadia and Rachel seem to be diluting their messages.

  40. David, you speak of abusing power, and yet you do the exact same thing by castigating people in negative light — even when you don’t know the people personally. Perhaps it is what cartoonists do, but it lacks any sort of integrity when you continue the same story line again and again and again… and again. You suggest here that some Amazon reviews are from made-up accounts, and yet those who comment on your site use only make-believe first names. This site resembles The Far Side more than it does reality.

  41. Well if it isn’t good ole Randy Buist. Seems no matter what glaring evidence is presented you…you are standing by your man. I hope you are appreciated and get what you are hoping to get out of that allegiance.

  42. “…those who comment on your site use only make-believe first names.”

    Randy, many of us have suffered abuse at the hands of so-called christian leaders and we need to protect ourselves (and our loved ones) from them. The fact that we need to do so reflects badly on the system which enables and protects abusers and which gives them positions of power over the vulnerable.

  43. Randy: I never suggested, not even close, that the amazon reviews are from make-believe accounts. i’m suggesting they’re real people who care more about promoting their friends than they do the truth. PLUS… you said again a lot!

  44. Randy,

    I’ve been told of your creepy messages to women I know, which only stopped when you were asked by a man to stop. You clearly don’t understand the abuse of power yourself.

    “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

    And, even if you did, it’s been a favoured tactic in this debate to throw accusations of abuse and bullying back on those who are highlighting the bad behaviour of certain Christian leaders. This tactic of “shoot the messenger” is generally unwise, and it doesn’t hold up to even basic scrutiny.

    “Those who sin publicly should be rebuked publicly.”

    Even if the original claims of (private/concealed) abuse in progressive / emergent / convergence circles are false, the tactics used to suppress those claims are themselves suspect: editing and scrubbing and shutting down website comments without transparently noting what has been done; threatening people with legal action when they won’t conform to your version of the narrative; getting most major Emergent leaders (people with tens of thousands of followers) to write statements of support of you and criticism of your ex-wife, a single mother in poverty. These are leaders in her former church, too!

    [I’d quote the character qualifications for Christian leaders here, but they’re rather extensive. I trust you’re familiar with them.]

    And if that’s not enough, look at who still has the money and power and influence and speaking platform here. Simply look at who is making a profit, and trying to defend that profit! (And, to what degree these have been lost, that is because of their actions, not people bringing their actions to light.) [As far as I am aware, David’s income from this site and his artwork doesn’t even cover his running costs. He may even be losing money by continuing to host popular comment threads.]

    “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven!”

    You have a serious case of confirmation bias here, Randy.

    “Blessed are those whose eyes can see…”

  45. Like so many figures in this story, I notice a disconnect between words and actions. I saw the private message exchange where Randy told a friend of mine to “Trust me. She’s whacked.” (I’m paraphrasing) he said he knew the abuser so he knew the truth. I’ve never met Randy. I think Randy might want to re-write his google + tag line.

    Tagline Pursuing goodness, kindness, justice, and mercy are the passions of my life.
    “I’m a lover of the ways of Jesus. I believe we are meant to be people who seek justice and mercy, who attempt to restore broken relationships, and who live with intense and compassionate love.

    I also believe much of the North American church has misunderstood Jesus life and message. When justice and mercy, goodness and kindness are not pursued, we have lost virtually all sight of any good news.”

  46. Why am I not surprised to learn Randy is an author. I wonder if his book gets laid out for sale at my abusers events? Randy also champions the Emergent Michigan group. Randy is quick to run to the empires defense. But we have never met or spoken. Randy wrote a public letter of support of my abuser. But he and I have never spoken. Randy states he’s all about being the great white hope for Kenya. If this is the “love, justice, and mercy” you’re schlepping to Kenya, I think they’re better off without.

  47. Randy, hey buddy old pal. Still want me to call you? Still have insider information on the Tony / Julie situation?

    Remember how you told me via private message that you don’t know Tony personally but are pretty sure he’s a good guy? Why did you write a letter of support of him, then? It seems to me that you have more ties to him than you let on. Maybe it’s just your mutual need for power and willingness to step on minorities and women to get said power … who knows.

    I will say, though, that when you *do* choose to come on here and defend your not-really-good-friend-who-you-have-never-met-but-adore-openly, you *might* not want to use big words like ‘castigate’ unless you really know what they mean. Mmkay?


  48. Randy, remember how I told you to end it? Remember how you told me you were harassing nobody? For the record?

  49. Hey Randy remember how you wouldn’t stop contacting me? Even when I told you I was uncomfortable? But when Reuben (a man) told you to stop you immediately apologized and stopped?

    .. you apologized to HIM and stopped contacting ME?

  50. Remember that?

    I think Randy needs to be made famous for things he needs to own. Like being a manipulative mansplainer, and having zero respect for the boundaries of women.

    No wonder you have a hard-on for Tony.

  51. Hey Randy,
    Does it bother you that Tony told RevMomo he wishes he’d never have kids and that he wants to murder his ex?

    Is that not a red flag for domestic violence? Do you have no concern for Julie’s safety? Does it give you not even a tiny bit of a check in your unwavering support of Tony Jones?

    How do you come on here castigating David for posting on this topic and say nothing about that comment from RevMomo?

    How can you come on here castigating David for posting on this topic when it creates enough space for people to (eventually) say what what they’ve seen and heard that is of concern?

    Will Tony castigate you if you don’t do enough to publicly cast him in a positive light?

    Do you not worry that maybe you are casting Jesus and the gospel in a negative light when you work so hard to silence victims and castigate their supporters?

    I’m Annie Dote on Facebook. Not hiding. I thought AnnieBanannie was cute, though it may not cast me in a very grownup light as far as nicknames go, I hardly deserve to be castigated for using it.

  52. So Randy Buist is a stalker? Just classic. Sounds like he aspires to be ToJo’s personal masturbator too.

  53. Randy, I simply have a long surname which I dislike typing into forms all the time.
    A little bit of research would reveal plenty of personal details, given I link my twitter profile in every post here.

    Not that I’d encourage doxxing people, of course. That’s an abusive tactic.

    The last offer of doxxing I got is from a well-meaning but misguided researcher on Nadia Bolz-Weber’s comment thread. She [wasn’t it Kandace, who either misspelt her name, or doesn’t exist online, despite her thesis?] was keen on finding the real names and locations of people from blog comments, too. Wanted to find out why some people were supporting Julie, or perhaps even daring to have the conversation at all!

    Of course, Nadia doesn’t read her comments, so she would have no idea.

    Looks like you’re in great company, Randy.

  54. Well, JRD, I’d have to say Tony Jones seems better at attracting castigation than masturbation.
    And perhaps the occasional malapropism, too.

  55. Banannie, that word means whatever the man wishes it to mean. Shut your cake hole and get back in the kitchen, you penis home.

  56. I want in on the joke, but my gender makes it too risky – men might think I’m seriously agreeing with them.

    “When a man uses a word, it means exactly what he wishes it to mean, no more, and no less.”
    “When a man speaks with a woman, she will think exactly what he wishes her to think, no more and no less.”
    “When a man instructs a woman, she’ll do exactly what he tells her to do, no more and no less.”


  57. Drive-by Randy Buist. He said what he wanted to say but he does not care to engage in an actual conversation. Randy wants David to know that he thinks made up names on the internet are not okay. However, his friend that he publicly supports speaking at a conference about wanting to “murder his ex-wife” that’s okay. Randy really has nothing more to say on the matter.

  58. ^^ in that case he should advise his friend Tiny not to make up an army of ghost accounts to argue with his victim on internet forums.

  59. Wow. Busy weekend here, I see. And all I did was host a birthday party for a 4 year old & 14 of his friends! Oh, that, and I prepped to meet with legal counsel. That might come in handy when I start using my real name. Some people can be awfully litigious even when they know they’re in the wrong! Peace

  60. “I am tired of the “two sides” to every story crap.”

    Me, too. Not because there aren’t two sides to every story, but because the phrase is used to level the score in abuse situations; aimed at relieving the abuser of responsibility and doubly penalizing the abused for being victimized. Victim blaming is an everyday activity. Let’s put a stop to it!

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