An Olive Branch for Rod Dreher

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Scripture has something to say about the unnecessary perpetuation of strife.

“Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: So where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth” (Prov. 26:20).

So there are two ways to deal with falsehoods that are burning off hundreds of acres. The text says you have to deal with the talebearer. Sometimes this means answering him, sometimes it means you don’t. Which you choose to do varies, according to the circumstances. Sometimes answering the challenges makes it worse and other times refusing to do so makes it worse. Sometimes you answer and sometimes you don’t (Prov. 26:4-5). Sometimes you fight forest fires with water, and sometimes with backfires.

Ah, well. I will do my best. Don’t feed it by answering too much, and don’t feed it by wishing it would go away by itself. That said, I believe that Rod Dreher has been unfortunately gamed by the talebearers, and so I want to answer his latest briefly, but with the goal of offering him an olive branch.

And with olives on it.
And with olives on it.

Rod thinks that I am being kind of self-absorbed in all this, somehow thinking that it is all about me. But when one has sharp jagged objects being thrown at one’s head for a month running, one can sometimes get that impression. At least I think they were thrown at my head. Most of them went sailing on by. Maybe everybody is mad at the wall behind me.

When a soft-spoken pastor in north Idaho gets tweeted at by President Reagan’s son and Billy Graham’s grandson, he can start to get delusions of grandeur. Please bear with me. But that all comes with the territory. If you can’t stand the tweet, get out of the bitchen.

But Rod also tellingly says this: “I don’t want to get dragged into an extremely bitter fight that has way, way more layers than I am capable of understanding from this far away.” Exactly. And all those layers were entirely present before his first post, which he published the same day he first heard of it. He really should have thought of that before he jumped into the controversy, which has far more complicated snarls than he is capable of understanding from that far away. That is exactly the entire problem here. Why is Rod Dreher in this fight at all? There is a proverb for everything. “He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, Is like one that taketh a dog by the ears” (Prov. 26:17).

“As a general rule, I will only comment on what information is publicly available and that I judge reliable, or what Pastor Wilson himself says.”

Right. But the judgments of what is reliable are being made by someone who himself confesses that he only knows a fraction of what has gone on here. How reliable are an utter outsider’s judgments of reliability? And how reliable are his determinations when on the basis of them he published the same day he heard about it? How many minutes of due diligence were spent on this? Quagmires are not something you do on the side.

A case in point would be the question of excommunication. Rod didn’t answer my question about excommunication because he said that he didn’t understand our take on it.

“Yes, he should have refused to perform the wedding. I don’t even see that this is a close call. About excommunication, who knows? I don’t know how his church handles such matters, and anyway, it’s a secondary issue. It is clear to me that a morally responsible pastor cannot give the church’s blessing to such a union.”

But another thing that he doesn’t understand is how, in our covenantal circles, church membership and marriage vows intersect. If someone in my congregation divorced his wife unbiblically in order to marry another, I cannot simply wash my hands of it by insisting that he marry his mistress in a civil ceremony. If he marries his mistress in any ceremony, he is going to be excommunicated. And if someone in my congregation decides to marry in challenging circumstances, as the Sitlers certainly did, and it is a marriage not scripturally prohibited, then part of my pastoral duty is to stay as close as I can to provide whatever help I can. This help would come in the form of hard-headed counsel and accountability, which the gawking world of the Internet is not privy to. That counsel may or may not recommend the marriage, may or may not recommend children, and so on. In this instance, none of the critics have any idea of the content of my counsel to the Sitlers. They do know that I conducted the ceremony, but have no concept of the theology under-girding that, or the counsel and pastoral care that accompanied it.

So despite the disagreements, here is the olive branch. Dreher wonders why I am puzzled by the fact that he has read my defense and continues to believe that I ought not to have conducted the ceremony. But that doesn’t puzzle me at all. I understand fully why a critic like Dreher wouldn’t agree with it. I have friends that don’t agree with me on this. Sometimes, when surrounded by festive accusations, I could almost wish that I didn’t agree with it. But I really do believe this to be right. My problem is not that he differs, but that he has, from the beginning, on the basis of just a fraction of the available information, treated this strong disagreement as a scandal. But I did what I did in the broad light of day, in a church service, in line with a local judge and with Steven’s secular treatment professionals. That doesn’t make me right. Of course not. But a pariah?

So suppose Rod were simply to say that he continues to differ strongly with what I did in marrying Sitler, and he would never do that kind of thing himself, but that he judged too hastily in saying that this was scandalous and “insane.” I would be happy with that level of disagreement, would shake hands with Rod, and would do my best to buy the beer.

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RandMan
RandMan
6 years ago

I guess you could suffer thru making amends even though you know he is wrong. The best kind of apology- the kind that you don’t mean. The reason that this fire keeps blazing is that the only thing you are authentic about is being right.

And this is a scandal. One that resulted in a child born of and to a pedophile. One that hurt people and families.

Wesley Sims
Wesley Sims
6 years ago
Reply to  RandMan

Apology? Where?

RandMan
RandMan
6 years ago
Reply to  Wesley Sims

In his back pocket. Always insinuation w Wilson. This post is really only another ‘I’m not wrong about anything’ combined with an extended burn on Deher. Only this time instead of a perversion of prayer it is disguised as a musing on the idea of apology. Another empty bag.

holmegm
holmegm
6 years ago
Reply to  RandMan

“Empty bag” seems a pretty fair description of what you have slung over your shoulders.

RandMan
RandMan
6 years ago
Reply to  holmegm

wow. kaboom.

Bryan Hangartner
Bryan Hangartner
6 years ago
Reply to  RandMan

For someone who claims he believes his opinions are immediately dismissed, you sure do post a lot of comments on this blog . . . :D

Keith LaMothe
Keith LaMothe
6 years ago

For an atheist, every day is a triumph of hope over experience.

RandMan
RandMan
6 years ago
Reply to  Keith LaMothe

You guys both seem to be preoccupied with me here. Why not the ‘soft spoken’ humble pastor? He has an olive branch in reserve even thought he is the victim of ‘unnecessary perpetuation of strife’? Why not you?

P.s. Re atheism, Run some experiments with that: i.e. For a non-astrologist ever day is a triumph of hope over experience.

Keith LaMothe
Keith LaMothe
6 years ago
Reply to  RandMan

> You guys both seem to be preoccupied with me here.

Fair, sorry about that.

> P.s. Re atheism, Run some experiments with that: i.e. For a non-astrologist ever day is a triumph of hope over experience.

It was a backhanded compliment, but it was a compliment. Not an argument.

RandMan
RandMan
6 years ago
Reply to  Keith LaMothe

Ok fair enough, I misunderstand the compliment however. Perhaps to an atheist: every day the triumph of reality (however difficult that reality may manifest) over magical or wishful thinking. (However wonderful that may manifest.)

RandMan
RandMan
6 years ago
Reply to  Douglas Wilson

I did laugh.

Mark Lawrence
Mark Lawrence
6 years ago

This is like the trendy Calvinist blogger version of Nero fiddling while Rome was burning. When you peel back all the layers and all the muddying of the water, you were wrong based on the simplest and uncontested facts. Own up to it or sink the ship I guess. But it seems you are going with the latter.

Matt Massingill
Matt Massingill
6 years ago
Reply to  Mark Lawrence

So you say, but then when Doug actually peels back the layers and deals with the particulars, he’s castigated for making it all about himself, for drawing attention to himself, for yearning to be right over and above being faithful. So his choices are apparently to absorb the accusations with a shut mouth – notwithstanding any analysis of particulars — OR speak up, and be indicted for protesting too much. How in any way is that a fair hearing? Using a phrase like “when you peel back all the layers” should be kept distinct from the actual process, and willingness… Read more »

accelerator
accelerator
6 years ago

No, another choice is to just be gracious without an edge, a pastor instead of a blogger, you know? I admit to admiring the wit of “If you can’t stand the tweet, get out of the bitchen.” But also true is, “If you can’t let go of pride and utter an unqualified mea culpa, get out of the pastorate.” As a postscript, I have always loved Wilson’s writing. But trading his letter to his parishioner… wow… I thought, “Are conservative Christians prone to weird and cultish socialization by our very doctrine, or are people just people?” I don’t know. Bit… Read more »

Christopher Casey
Christopher Casey
6 years ago
Reply to  Mark Lawrence

Which facts? The ones regaurding Sitler or Jamin? And what was he wrong about?

accelerator
accelerator
6 years ago

What was he wrong about? Um, perhaps enabling a highly problematic pedophile to marry a 20-something girl in his own church. In addition to overseeing a very communal church culture without being hawkish about sexual virtue for young men as well as women. Especially among seminarians! I am constantly amazed at the low bar we set for the highest calling. I know, we’re all sinners, right? Blah blah blah. Catholic meltdown, anyone?

Bryan Hangartner
Bryan Hangartner
6 years ago

Well, 3 weeks ago I was on the fence as to whether DW had made a serious error in judgement with Sitler. But, thanks to the irrational ravings of (particularly) RandMan and guester, and others, I am now completely convinced that DW is completely innocent of all charges.

Good job, DW haters!

God Bless Doug Wilson, and may all his enemies be confounded!

Jane Dunsworth
Jane Dunsworth
6 years ago

I’m still on the fence, but I’m 100% sure that if he has to apologize for anything, it’s not to RandMan and guester and it’s not because they want him to.

Nopussyfootin
Nopussyfootin
6 years ago
Reply to  Jane Dunsworth

There is a jury of his peers working through these cases and others. I will wait for their pronouncements.

RandMan
RandMan
6 years ago
Reply to  Nopussyfootin

I too await the impartial finding of Douglas’ Crec peers chaired by his co-author. That will be a fun comment section.

guester
guester
6 years ago
Reply to  Nopussyfootin

Having a jury of your peers, of course, has a long and honored history. Having a JUDGE of your peers does not. Responsible judges with personal relationships to the parties in a conflict recuse themselves. The problem in the CREC process is that there is no impartial judge, only Doug’s co-author. To be above reproach, they should select a respected and experienced expert who is beholden to none of the parties in the process. Whatever the pronouncement is from the investigating committee as currently constructed, it will be suspect due to the presence of vested interests among its members, and… Read more »

James
James
6 years ago
Reply to  Nopussyfootin

Unfortunately, Doug couldn’t have picked a more friendly jury. Part of the problem of being the most influential member of very small denomination is that the accountability is not as robust as it might be in say, the Presbyterian Church. I do hope they do their absolute best to truly see the situation objectively though.

Nopussyfootin
Nopussyfootin
6 years ago
Reply to  James

I believe that that this jury is made of honest and honorable men. If or when they find any problems they will not spare Wilson in the slightest, but will tell the truth.

James
James
6 years ago
Reply to  Nopussyfootin

My belief is not as strong as yours but my hope is the same.

MikeColucci
MikeColucci
6 years ago
Reply to  Nopussyfootin

They also happen to be the same men who introduced Sitler and Travis, encouraged their courtship and approved their marriage, are they not? And they put their names on the first of Wilson’s many blogs on this matter denying all wrongdoing, yes? And most of them owe their livelihood in one way or another to Mr. Wilson, true?

Nopussyfootin
Nopussyfootin
6 years ago
Reply to  MikeColucci

No

Monte Harmon
Monte Harmon
6 years ago
Reply to  MikeColucci

Where did you get that from? What do you know about these men?

MikeColucci
MikeColucci
6 years ago
Reply to  Monte Harmon

I stand corrected. I was speaking of Wilson’s Session, which I mistakenly thought was the investigative committee. The committee is actually made up of CREC presbytery members.

Monte Harmon
Monte Harmon
6 years ago
Reply to  MikeColucci

Thanks Mike. If even one in ten of the accusers were this honest these would be much more edifying discussions.

guester
guester
6 years ago
Reply to  Jane Dunsworth

Oh for pity’s sake, Jane, would you please READ? Take a look back at my comments thread, it’s public. I’ve never once asked Doug to apologize to me. Or to anyone else for that matter. That’s for the real victims like Natalie Greenfield to do. But I will absolutely defend her privilege to do so.

Marisol
Marisol
6 years ago
Reply to  guester

Guester, in all fairness I have read quite a few insistent demands for a DW apology. Maybe not from you but from many on this blog. And there are very few people involved in this situation who merit an apology.

guester
guester
6 years ago
Reply to  Marisol

No need to attach other people’s words to me, Marisol.

Marisol
Marisol
6 years ago
Reply to  guester

Didn’t mean to – I thought I would just get your input. Sorry to offend. So in an ideal scenario, what would you have DW do? Seems to me that the damage is irrevocable.

herewegokids
herewegokids
6 years ago
Reply to  Marisol

step down. eat a ton of humble pie. donate huge amounts anonymously to a womens abuse shelter. advocate publicly for stiff penalties for sexual abusers . that would be a start.

holmegm
holmegm
6 years ago
Reply to  herewegokids

That would imply that he was somehow in favor of and responsible for abuse, which he is not.

(And call me when SJWs advocate consistently for stiff penalties for sexual abusers. That’s more the approach of us old patriarchs.)

herewegokids
herewegokids
6 years ago
Reply to  holmegm

of course it doesn’t imply that! what is wrong with you people? it would indicate he realizes and deeply regrets his complete foul up both in rgard to judgment , compassion, communication, etc.

Dunsworth
Dunsworth
6 years ago
Reply to  guester

I didn’t mean to suggest that he has to say “guester, I’m sorry.” However, you do seem to insist that he apologize when and where you can see it and in a way that satisfies you. In my mind, the distinction between that, and asking him to apologize directly to you, is insignificant.

guester
guester
6 years ago
Reply to  Dunsworth

“you do seem to insist that he apologize”

I haven’t said anything close to that. My role here is to support the hurting, challenge false assumptions, and leave a record that not every Christian believes what Doug Wilson believes, or thinks his response to sexual abuse victims is appropriate.

I am happy to be responsible for my words. But what you think I *seem* to mean, when I have never said anything of the kind, is your own responsibility.

Dunsworth
Dunsworth
6 years ago
Reply to  guester

You might at least take responsibility for the likely interpretation of your words; you seem to think that’s pretty important when it comes to Doug Wilson.

guester
guester
6 years ago
Reply to  Dunsworth

In asserting that I seem to demand an apology when I have never used the word “apologize” or its synonyms, you are positing an UNlikely interpretation of my words. But to avoid any confusion, I actually delineated my position in the comment above. Here it is again:

“That’s {asking for apologies} for the real victims like Natalie Greenfield to do. But I will absolutely defend her privilege to do so”.

If you don’t want to believe me, fine. But I’m not going to argue further about it when I have stated my position very clearly.

holmegm
holmegm
6 years ago
Reply to  guester

“My role here is to support the hurting ”

Wow … you do think very highly of yourself, don’t you?

How is attacking the innocent “”supporting the hurting”?

guester
guester
6 years ago
Reply to  Dunsworth

Also, why have you changed your user name?

Dunsworth
Dunsworth
6 years ago
Reply to  guester

I haven’t really changed it — I’ve been using both for years due to having created one mostly for using here, and a different one for other Disqus sites where I want more privacy. I just forget to switch back and forth sometimes. It’s all me and I don’t have any intention of disguising myself.

RandMan
RandMan
6 years ago

If all it takes to topple you over an intellectual fence is the raving irrationality of two random opinions, then the newly formed DW army may run into trouble out in the field.

Bryan Hangartner
Bryan Hangartner
6 years ago
Reply to  RandMan

Oh, don’t worry – there’s a lot more people besides you :p

timothy
timothy
6 years ago
Reply to  RandMan

See you in the trenches.

jillybean
jillybean
6 years ago

Bryan, this framing a difference of opinion into enemy camps is very troubling. I think it is conceivable, based on the little I know, that there may have been mistakes made in handling the Sitler case. As I have said previously, I think the majority of these mistakes were made by the civil authorities. A person with a life sentence for sexually assaulting a toddler should not be allowed by the civil authorities to have a toddler living in his home. I think there is also a major difference between permitting a young woman to marry Sitler, and encouraging a… Read more »

Monte Harmon
Monte Harmon
6 years ago
Reply to  jillybean

Can you point to a single place where Jamin was described as “…an otherwise virtuous man…” or even vaguely similar? The point some have made is not that he is innocent, or even that there were mitigating circumstances. That does not seem to even be an issue. There is no biblical principle that says only one person can be guilty at a time. In fact, to assume so is to reject the biblical principle that our sins are primarily against God (think about King David’s prayer of repentance, Christ’s reproach of Paul, etc.) and not man. Our sins may harm… Read more »

guester
guester
6 years ago
Reply to  Monte Harmon

“There is no biblical principle that says only one person can be guilty at a time”

True, Monte. But God send the prophet Nathan to David, not to Bathsheba, or to David’s servants that facilitated their contact. David was the one told “Thou art the man”. God clearly made a judgment in the matter as to his sin being of greater weight, and treated him in accordance with his high degree of accountability.

Monte Harmon
Monte Harmon
6 years ago
Reply to  guester

I had not thought of Bathsheba’s guilt when commenting on the principle of sins being primarily against God. There was nothing in the comment to suggest that, and the connection I made was with Paul (“the greatest of sinners”), not to anyone in the current scenario. But since you brought it up, do you think her child dying was only a punishment for David? Would God have chosen this method of punishment if Bathsheba was not also guilty? If David’s sin was of the greater weight then why did God chose to punish in a way that we would usually… Read more »

Tim Mullet
Tim Mullet
6 years ago
Reply to  Monte Harmon

To your point, “There is no biblical principle that says only one person can be guilty at a time.” I think part of the reason for the confusion here, is that people are failing to maintain a distinction between sins and crimes. The legal categories of culpability are not the only categories to be considering. The Fall is a good example of how two people can be morally responsible for their actions and one can be legally responsible. My three year old son recently stole something. He did so being warned that taking things that did not belong to him… Read more »

James
James
6 years ago

I’m saddened to hear that you have allowed one section of Doug’s critics to influence your opinion. I and many other Moscow Christians may not be as outspoken as guester or RandMan but it doesn’t mean we don’t feel strongly that this whole scandal demonstrates a lack of judgement coupled with an inability to acknowledge wrong doing and abuse of pastoral authority. Just because Doug has some critics who seem completely off base doesn’t mean that he is in the right. I think the level of pride with which Doug interacts with the world elicits rebuke from the pagan and… Read more »

Marisol
Marisol
6 years ago
Reply to  James

James -You are in Moscow and I am not. I have been following this blog and other sources for some time now. Re: the Wight case only, I am not clear how DW is at fault. What struck me most was Peter Leithart ‘s apology where he emphasized that he was deceived. Remember, Leithart dealt with Wight after the abuse was uncovered. It appears that Wight is a master manipulator that deceived pastors,elders, Natalie, and Natalie’s family. He was allowed into Greyfrairs in good faith and then wreaked havoc. I am sure he said all the right things when he… Read more »

James
James
6 years ago
Reply to  Marisol

I don’t think anyone is arguing that Doug is at fault for not preventing the abuse of Natalir or Sitler’s victims. I’m very confused by your comment. The heart of the issue is how these situations were handled by Doug and Christ Church following these abuses coming to light. Here are a couple of issues that ARE being discussed. Doug used his standing as a pastor to influence judges. Doug claimed (and has continued to support the claim) that a 23 year old (who you pointed out is a master manipulator) having sex with a 13 year old is not… Read more »

Marisol
Marisol
6 years ago
Reply to  James

I don’t think you are part of the mob. And thank you for pointing out in detail what the issues are. Much on this blog is just vitriol. What specific things would you recommend Cc and TRC do to start the healing process and rebuild trust?

Marisol
Marisol
6 years ago
Reply to  Marisol

James, I have to sign off. In my initial post to you I was trying to explain (though poorly) that the abuse was 100% Jamin’s fault. It is ultimately he that is responsible for starting all this mess. And yes, I have seen in previous posts that DW gets pulled into the blame for the abuse due to encouraging the boarding of students and for creating a hostile environment for women. I was hoping that you would clearly state the true issues with DW and you did so clearly. I hope you can also clearly state some potential “next steps”… Read more »

James
James
6 years ago
Reply to  Marisol

Thanks Marisol. I’ve really appreciated this discussion with you. I don’t have a perfect road map but I think the way forward starts with a couple of basic steps. The past should be addressed. The elders should hold Doug accountable for his behavior both then and over the last few weeks. He has done a lot to create a growing rift between CC and the larger Christian community in Moscow and online as well as providing a poor witness to the unbeliever. His words have certainly shamed victims both known and those who are currently silent about abuses we don’t… Read more »

Marisol
Marisol
6 years ago
Reply to  James

Thanks James. This was what I was hoping for. I wanted to try to elevate the discourse of the comment thread. So much of it is short sound bite argumentation. It would be great to see a counter blog started by Moscow residents that deal with the issues at hand. I couldn’t help but notice that DW dropped his “serrated edge ” rhetorical style when interacting with Rod. This discussion could use more of that. If he had a serious blog to interact with (certainly not CREC memes) I think some real change could take root. A blog that even… Read more »

ZYX
ZYX
6 years ago
Reply to  James

Really great summary of the whole situation. Thank you!

katecho
katecho
6 years ago
Reply to  James

James wrote: Doug claimed (and has continued to support the claim) that a 23 year old (who you pointed out is a master manipulator) having sex with a 13 year old is not a sexual predator. Others have offered very similar wording, but they all conveniently leave out the rest of the context. Here is a bit more context from Doug’s letter to the judge, which Natalie herself publicized: It is not a crime to be foolish, while it is a crime to do what Jamin did. I agree with this completely, and in describing this aspect of the situation… Read more »

Marisol
Marisol
6 years ago
Reply to  katecho

Yes, and I also think in DW’s post to Rod he was trying to point out that Jamin was not a pedophile because Natalie had the appearance of a young woman. He bungled that so badly that I cringed when I read it.

James
James
6 years ago
Reply to  katecho

I’m afraid I don’t see how your comment deals with the issue of whether or not Jamin was a sexual predator. I don’t see why the categories of statutory rape and sexual predation are mutually exclusive. Peter Liethart has described Jamin as being highly adept at manipulating others. I would say that any mid 20s adult man who has sex with a girl of 13 was a sexual predator. I would definitely say that a highly manipulative man in his mid 20s who had repeated sex with a 13 year old girl was a sexual predator. Jamin’s actions further down… Read more »

Christopher Casey
Christopher Casey
6 years ago
Reply to  James

Where did Doug say that Jamin wasn’t a sexual preditor?

James
James
6 years ago

In his letter to the judge, Doug said “I do not believe that this situation in any way paints Jamin as a sexual predator.” See katecho’s comment above.

guester
guester
6 years ago

The letter to the case officer is online in its entirety here, Christopher: http://natalierose-livewithpassion.blogspot.com/; it’s about halfway down the page. If you scroll further down the page you will also find Doug’s letter to Natalie’s father in which he is accused of neglect, and his actions are equated with the molestation. Natalie has made detailed witness that this accusation of her father is false. “The elders were very distressed over the way in which Jamin took sinful advantage of your daughter but we also have to say that we were *just as distressed* at your extremely poor judgement as a… Read more »

Christopher Casey
Christopher Casey
6 years ago
Reply to  guester

Interesting, I’d say ‘took sinful advantage of your daughter’ would paint him in at least some way as a sexual predator.

guester
guester
6 years ago

Yes, it’s not the only place that Doug contradicts himself on this point. In his recent “response” at Rod Dreher’s blog he refers to Jamin as “preying on her for his own selfish ends”, while still standing by his previous letter “not a sexual predator” as correct.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/doug-wilson-reluctant-response/#comments

In his response Doug also confuses the issue of pedophilia (a medical diagnosis) with statutory rape (a legal violation), so the whole thing is a bit of a mess.

Christopher Casey
Christopher Casey
6 years ago
Reply to  guester

Dougs statemts seem to equate ‘sexual predator’ with pedophilia which seems odd. It might be helpful for Doug to explane why the two terms are interchangeable if that is what he intended, or if not explane what he did mean.

guester
guester
6 years ago

Agreed, Christopher. He’s not consistent in his *own* use of the terms, nor is he consistent with their generally accepted definitions in law and psychology. Doug also tends to define his own terms outside of normal dictionary definitions, so that makes it even more difficult…one is forced to ask not just “what is a predator?” but “what is a predator to Doug?”

When such weighty issues as sexual abuse are at stake, Doug and Christ Church would be wise to defer to experts in these matters. Their use of the terminology could be called “functionally” illiterate here.

Christopher Casey
Christopher Casey
6 years ago
Reply to  guester

Dougs unclear use of treminology here is uncharictaristic of his writing in general so I don’t think functionaly illiterate is accurate, even if it were I wouldn’t extend that to Christ Church.

guester
guester
6 years ago

I am referring to their use of sexual abuse terminology. Because there are legal ramifications to the use of these words, it is not wise for Doug (as the representative of Christ Church) to make such mistakes, and points out their need to consult wise counsel in sexual abuse matters; there are other Christian ministers available who have developed an expertise in these matters, and can speak more precisely to them.

Christopher Casey
Christopher Casey
6 years ago
Reply to  guester

I am not familiar with the legal definitions and ramifications of these terms, it is possible that there are legal definitions of sexual predator that Jamin did not fall under.

holmegm
holmegm
6 years ago
Reply to  guester

Aren’t the experts the ones who released Sitler?

katecho
katecho
6 years ago
Reply to  James

James wrote: I’m afraid I don’t see how your comment deals with the issue of whether or not Jamin was a sexual predator. I don’t see why the categories of statutory rape and sexual predation are mutually exclusive. Notice that I didn’t say that the two categories were necessarily exclusive of each other. A serial sexual predator who is simply in it for the sex act, regardless of any relationship to the victims, can certainly be charged with statutory rape. I was just noting the difference between that kind of impersonal predatory pattern and someone who is actually in love… Read more »

Dave
Dave
6 years ago
Reply to  James

James, Wilson has the same influence over judges as the Rhein river has on flooding in South Carolina. Anyone can write letters but if you are not one of the parties involved in the legal matter your opinion is noted and that is about all. This portion of the Sitler story was forced by one Moscow Intollerista pushing the Idaho Attorney General’s office and the parole officer into taking action when no additional screening was needed. This individual had considerably more influence than Wilson and is the direct cause of all the internet outrage. This individual hates Wilson and will… Read more »

holmegm
holmegm
6 years ago
Reply to  James

“I don’t think anyone is arguing that Doug is at fault for not preventing the abuse of Natalir or Sitler’s victims.”

You don’t? Because that’s the impression a reasonable person would get. Their vehemence, reserved solely for Wilson and not, apparently, for the secular authorities who actually could have kept Sitler locked up, would be appropriate to be directed at an actual perpetrator of something, or at someone who is willfully negligent.

guester
guester
6 years ago
Reply to  James

“the reactions of outspoken nonbelievers”

I’m a devout Christian, James, a Berean believer who has evaluated Doug Wilson’s words and actions against Scripture and found them wanting. I’m determined to leave a record here that Doug Wilson doesn’t represent the Jesus that I know, the Bible I believe, or the church that I love.

James
James
6 years ago
Reply to  guester

My apologies for misrepresenting your position guester. I should read through your comments more thoroughly. My main point was that no matter what Bryan believes about the nature of a few of the critics doesn’t remove the responsibility to evaluate Doug’s action.

jillybean
jillybean
6 years ago
Reply to  James

Both gentle and wise.

guester
guester
6 years ago

You might go back to the comments and read the testimony I left about my praying mother, Bryan. If you’re asking for me to be confounded in the face of her intercession you should give. up. now.

herewegokids
herewegokids
6 years ago

bryan dont look too closely into the details lest you become an “irrational raver” like one of those enlisted guys who got court martialed for defending Afghan boys from rapists.

accelerator
accelerator
6 years ago

Haters. Right. You have got to be kidding me. I have bought too many Canon Press books.

Douglas Michael Singer
Douglas Michael Singer
6 years ago

Pr. Wilson, thanks for your courageous posts.

J Killmaster
J Killmaster
6 years ago

Why does any one care what Rod Dreher says? His doe-eyed flirtation with all things liberal is disgusting. He has all the annoying characteristics of a liberal – the thick framed glasses, the whininess, the feigned intellectualism. He’s a “conservative” who gets his jollies listening to NPR. He’s fay. Don’t waste your time with him Doug.

Micheast
Micheast
6 years ago
Reply to  J Killmaster

Rod Dreher often dives into things he thinks can be sold to his readers as simple morality tales where he can play the hero completely on the right side of history and everything in the universe. If anything true also happens to fall out of whatever his narrative happens to be well so much the better. He went to a bunch of trouble to get people to associate his name with the whole Catholic thing and it sounds like he thinks he’s found another mother lode here he can mine too. One of the ways you can tell is that… Read more »

guester
guester
6 years ago
Reply to  Micheast

“He thinks he’s found another mother lode here he can mine too. One of the ways you can tell is that he spends all of his time trying to prolong his fight with the pastor ”

Like Doug and his thirteen blog posts about the sexual abuse scandals since the “Open Letter”? Rod has only posted three, so Doug is definitely winning the prolongation derby, especially since all of those thirteen can be summarized as follows: “I’m right. Anybody who doesn’t agree is my enemy.”

Christopher Casey
Christopher Casey
6 years ago
Reply to  guester

Doug has said that he has friends who disagree with him and I don’t think he counts his friends among his enemys.

RandMan
RandMan
6 years ago
Reply to  J Killmaster

Stereotype much? The ugly side of christianity is made so much more ugly by the pose of non-judgementalism- of course followed by constant judgement. Err… Sorry discernment.

Quite the pirate ship over here.

J Killmaster
J Killmaster
6 years ago
Reply to  RandMan

Man… your name is so plastered all over the comment sections on this blog and at all hours of the day. Where do you find the time? And more importantly, how has your head not exploded with all that outrage? Maybe you should take a breather from all the “pirate” hunting.

RandMan
RandMan
6 years ago
Reply to  J Killmaster

Here we go again. Question the ideas killmaster. Don’t worry about me personally. I won’t think about you either.

Reformed Roy
Reformed Roy
6 years ago
Reply to  J Killmaster

Please do not deprive him of the pirate motif. He already purchased the costume for halloween. It will be his first year trick or treating without his parents.

It’s kind of a big deal.

"A" dad
"A" dad
6 years ago
Reply to  Reformed Roy

Wait! ….What!? ….A priate?……..No!!!!

I thought that …..

since randi was like a one man mob, he was going as “mob and mini mob”,

sort of like Dr. Evil and mini me in Austin Powers.?.!?

( I guess mob and mini mob is the yang of blog and mablog?)

Anyway RB, please do not give out cigars and whiskey for halloween,

I would miss your minmal but apt comments on this blog, while you were in the klink.

jillybean
jillybean
6 years ago
Reply to  J Killmaster

I am not sure how his taste in eye glasses, or how his enjoyment of NPR, disqualifies his opinion from any consideration. If he is mistaken (and he well may be), prove it on the merits and demerits of what he actually says. This makes about as much sense as disqualifying everything I say because I have blonde hair.

RandMan
RandMan
6 years ago
Reply to  jillybean

What s

J Killmaster
J Killmaster
6 years ago
Reply to  jillybean

Why can’t someone be informed by examining another’s taste’s? I think you can tell a lot about someone by the choices they make, be it the clothes they wear, the music they listen to, etc. All are have moral aspects. I’m not criticizing Dreher’s hair color or facial features, I’m criticizing the ridiculous frames he chooses to wear. Look up a picture! If a man walks into my office wearing a clown costume, I’m prone to take him less seriously.

Jane Dunsworth
Jane Dunsworth
6 years ago
Reply to  J Killmaster

Look, I’m no fan of Dreher, but this is pushing it a bit far. Lots of people wear ridiculous glasses, including people I deeply respect. Ridiculous glasses come in and out of style and people wear them. There are great saints of the past who wore ridiculous attire and hairstyles. I still chuckle at how James Montgomery Boice continued to wear absurdly large vintage 1980s glasses frames until his death in 2000. Your lack of preference for the current trend in glasses frames, when there is nothing objectively effeminate or foolish about them, is a red herring. Let it go.… Read more »

John Killmaster
John Killmaster
6 years ago
Reply to  Jane Dunsworth

Boice wore old glasses because he didn’t care. Dreher wears raccoon goggles because he’s worldly. You can tell more about someone by the personal choices they make as opposed to the views they espouse. See Paul Johnson’s book “Intellectuals”.

Dunsworth
Dunsworth
6 years ago

You read minds, do you? Look, I do understand the idea of adopting a look because of a mindset. But another person’s ability to judge why someone picks out a pair of glasses, only goes so far in judging what another person thinks. I doubt those were “old glasses” Boice wore or they wouldn’t have served him well. People who need glasses can’t keep wearing the same ones for 25 years, particularly if they spend their days in study. And, in fact, if you look at several pictures of him, he had several different pairs of those crazy big glasses.… Read more »

Ryan Booth
Ryan Booth
6 years ago

Thanks for the laugh of the day. Rod is guy who moved out of the city to a little country town, who homeschools his three children, and who is now in the middle of writing a book on why Christians need to withdraw from the culture and form tighter communities. But he wears thick glasses because he’s worldly.

Ryan Booth
Ryan Booth
6 years ago

Verily. Thick glasses are identified as the Mark of the Beast in Revelation. It’s good that we have you around to point this kind of thing out to those of us who might miss that sinister connection.

Job
Job
6 years ago
Reply to  J Killmaster

I agree the glasses are stupid. He looks like a liberal even if he isn’t one. Are there any articles of his on the American Conservative you find particularly offensive?

timothy
timothy
6 years ago
Reply to  J Killmaster

Speedo’s and gold chains make the man!

Ryan Booth
Ryan Booth
6 years ago
Reply to  J Killmaster

You definitely can judge a person by his outward appearance. I know that there’s a verse somewhere in the Bible instructing us to do just that. In fact, I know that there are lots of verses telling us to judge others all the time.

Job
Job
6 years ago
Reply to  jillybean

I agree with you, jillybean. Thick framed eyeglasses are the white guy equivalent of a hoodie and grill. Maybe the wearer is a liberal and maybe he’s just an innocent writer heading down to the local Starbucks for a caramel mocha frap.

Chris
Chris
6 years ago

Hear, Hear, Doug old boy!!! I just hope some of the rest of the Reformed crowd reads this and adjusts what has been a pretty average set of engagements on this. I’m afraid I don’t have much hope for the others closer to home in Moscow but I guess you’ve dealt with that before. The first time I heard about all this it was obvious nobody knew enough to make the judgements they have made and certainly not enough to make the insinuations they have. As far as the comment from some Reformed commentators (MoS etc.) it’s been a very… Read more »

ashv
ashv
6 years ago

Can’t understand why people not in Moscow get so itchy about this. If Wilson did wrong, he did it in contradiction of most of what he’s said for many years. From over here, seems to me it doesn’t matter much whether he made the right or wrong call here — since he’s clearly laid out Biblical principles for dealing with these kinds of situations, he’s either a faithful teacher who’s innocent in this case, or a minister who stands condemned by his own mouth. I’ve never even visited Idaho, so I certainly don’t know any more than that in this… Read more »

James
James
6 years ago
Reply to  ashv

To be fair there are a great many christians IN Moscow who are “itchy” about this.

ashv
ashv
6 years ago
Reply to  James

That seems reasonable. Everybody else just seems to be caught up in the typical internet faux-outrage cycle.

RandMan
RandMan
6 years ago
Reply to  ashv

Yes, only Moscow Christians can care about this.

David
David
6 years ago
Reply to  RandMan

RandMan, Yes, other Christians can indeed care about issues like this without living in the same town as the events, and all of us should care more about what is going on outside of our personal circles. It’s far easier to ignore those things that happen “over there”. I believe what some of us are noticing is that people who previously, on other occasions and on completely unrelated issues, had significant gripes with Doug have now been very frequent and very persistent on this particular issue, and that they are so angry, personal and so vociferous in their criticism of… Read more »

ashv
ashv
6 years ago
Reply to  RandMan

Glad you agree. Now shut up about it.

guester
guester
6 years ago
Reply to  ashv

“But given the quality of his detractors”

Is this a reference to Natalie Greenfield and her father, ashv? How would you define their ‘quality’?

ashv
ashv
6 years ago
Reply to  guester

Who?

herewegokids
herewegokids
6 years ago
Reply to  ashv

oh sweet lord.

timothy
timothy
6 years ago
Reply to  guester

Its a reference to you.

herewegokids
herewegokids
6 years ago
Reply to  ashv

really? is there another doug wilson out there, who lives in Moscow Idaho? You seem to be speaking of that imaginary “soft spoken pastor” . The whole problem is that this is clearly *not* a one off and *is* a side effect of wonky theology and cultish characteristics developed and defended.

ashv
ashv
6 years ago
Reply to  herewegokids

Can you be specific?

Monte Harmon
Monte Harmon
6 years ago
Reply to  ashv

It is obvious. Someone doesn’t agree with someone else, so they must be in a cult.

holmegm
holmegm
6 years ago
Reply to  Monte Harmon

A cult with the magical power to get the secular state to release someone from prison. Even scarier.

Cheryl Ann Hannah-Nicholson
Cheryl Ann Hannah-Nicholson
6 years ago

Ezekiel 34 — the shoe fits, but Cinderella is playing coy and refusing to try it on.

Barnabas
Barnabas
6 years ago

Have a look at this list. http://www.thenewblacklist.net/
Notice how many are purged National Review writers. If you were Rod Dreher might you be a little nervous and find yourself tempted to take opportunities to distance yourself from controversial figures?

guester
guester
6 years ago
Reply to  Barnabas

Ad hominem.

Monte Harmon
Monte Harmon
6 years ago
Reply to  guester

How so? He might be wrong, but slinging latin terms indiscriminately doesn’t make it so.

timothy
timothy
6 years ago
Reply to  guester

Tell John Derbyshire.

guester
guester
6 years ago

A huge number of comments have disappeared from this thread. But I for one am glad that the repellent attitude towards victims some of them displayed can no longer be seen by wounded ones who might venture here, heart in hand.

“A bruised reed He will not break And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice.” Isaiah 42:3

Matt
Matt
6 years ago

Dreher is puzzled by your continued insistence that this is all some kind of personal vendetta. He doesn’t realize that’s just how the clan operates here: every criticism is motivated by either hatred of God or hatred of his Chosen. Also puzzling is your offering of an olive branch to Dreher, given that he’s stated multiple times he has nothing personal or professional against you. If you want to offer an olive branch to someone, offer it to the woman whose child may have been molested. One can only hope that you have at least initiated some reforms to prevent… Read more »

Monte Harmon
Monte Harmon
6 years ago
Reply to  Matt

Are you suggesting that Christ Church should revue god’s management of mankind and require him to implement new policies restricting the sinful behaviors of sinners?

Matt
Matt
6 years ago
Reply to  Monte Harmon

Nah, just don’t marry pedophiles off anymore.

Monte Harmon
Monte Harmon
6 years ago
Reply to  Matt

Or sinners? What bible did you find that in? I’m a bit old-school, my bible only has 66 books in it and “don’t marry pedophiles off” is not in them.

Matt
Matt
6 years ago
Reply to  Monte Harmon

Hmm, well I sense we may be at an impasse then. I mean, the 66 books of the Bible also never say to duck when being shot at, but sometimes common sense has to rule the day.

holmegm
holmegm
6 years ago
Reply to  Matt

Like … somehow forcing the secular state to keep someone in prison? Or like building a church prison, and a church justice system?

I had no idea you wanted Wilson to have so much power.

accelerator
accelerator
6 years ago

And my last comment here… anyone who thinks this is an “olive branch” is functioning in a different universe from me.

Monte Harmon
Monte Harmon
6 years ago
Reply to  accelerator

I suspect you are right.

armenia4ever
6 years ago

Oh look. Social justice warriors like randman are worried about families and pedophilia while supporting known pedophiles like Sarah butts and encouraging those “coming out” on places like Salon.

Doug, stop apologizing to these people. They don’t care about apologies, rather they want blood.