The Judicious Review

Boz Tchividjian wrote a pretty good article about internal investigations that are configured to look like independent investigations. Because some folks out there were making application to the review that Christ Church has requested from the CREC, I thought I should say just a quick something.

There are two basic responses. One has to do with the application of the principles in the article to our situation, and the second is a critique of an assumption that the whole article rested on. In short, I think the article was good, but the background assumption really dangerous. I will keep this brief.Justice

First, the CREC committee of our presiding ministers does not run afoul of Boz’s criteria for an independent review or investigation. The CREC is conducting the review, and they are reviewing two particular churches, not the CREC as a whole. So the article on its face does not apply to this situation. It condemns “independent investigations” which are not really independent because the institution being investigated stays “in the driver’s seat” by hiring the investigative agency, determining who is on the investigation team, requiring updates, controlling the process by limiting the scope or determining who can be interviewed, and maintaining control of the final report. Absolutely none of the criteria that Boz laid out apply to this circumstance. But to be fair to him in this, he did not reference our review in the argument he was making — but others have done so on his behalf. Strictly applied, this article provides really solid ground for trusting this CREC review process, for which I thank him.

My second point would be critical of a background assumption that runs through the whole article. It does not vitiate his point about the need for honest investigations that actually uncover what actually happened. While it does not overthrow the good point he was making, it stands itself in marked tension to it.

He said:

“While an internal investigation offers an institution the opportunity for self-protection, an independent investigation offer an institution something far more profound. It offers the institution an opportunity to understand where it failed in order to demonstrate authentic repentance to those who have been hurt, and to make the necessary changes so that the same offenses are never repeated.”

The institution gets “an opportunity to understand where it failed . . .” Notice how the outcome of the investigation is just quietly assumed. The institution will discover, at the end of the day, where it failed, not whether it did. We already know that. Similar expressions occur throughout the article, and there are no expressions to the contrary. It is plain that Boz is predisposed to hear certain stories with an alert sympathy (“the youth pastor molested me”) and other stories with disbelief from the outset (“no, I didn’t”). At no place in the article does Boz say anything like “if the allegations turn out to be false . . .”

And that is something that any real review or investigation needs to keep front and center as one of the live options. “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him” (Prov. 18:17, ESV). As Boz knows well, cover-ups in Christian institutions are not rare. But neither are false allegations. Every good review or investigation, whether internal or genuinely independent, should want to find out the truth, and should not assume they know the last chapter of a story they have not yet read.

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Aquila Aquilonis
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Aquila Aquilonis

The more I hear from Boz the more I remember Matthew 7:15.

Andrew Lohr
Member

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s’ clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves.

Bonehead
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Bonehead

I must have missed the part where he offered a prophetic vision.

Aquila Aquilonis
Guest
Aquila Aquilonis

It’s ok, you seem to miss a lot.

Jane
Member

You missed the part where you properly understood what is encompassed in the term “false prophet.”

AMA
Guest
AMA

You have been far more gracious to Boz than he has been to you. Well done.

Erin Adams
Guest

I thought Boz did not name Doug in his article. Why & how do you find Doug to be the more gracious one here?

RFB
Guest
RFB

There is another assumption that Mr. Tchividjian makes very overtly in his article, and that is that an internal investigation lacks credibility because “…An internal investigation allows the institution being investigated to stay in the driver’s seat.” As someone who has performed internal investigations for multiple agencies, and also networked with other professionals performing the same duties, I have not once encountered any command influence, either explicit or implied. Upon entering those types of duties, the standard of the industry is to follow the facts wherever they go, peer review of findings (no lone rangers), and with redundant documentation to… Read more »

adad0
Member

The Presiding Judge of the Universe, God, wrote a pretty good article about internal investigations in Levitical Israel, which by methodology, were also properly objective and “independent”. Former prosecutors who profess to be Christian, ought to have a better grasp of the principles the Presiding Judge has laid out. I wonder if a former prosecutor would internally investigate himself? Deuteronomy 19: 15 One witness is not enough to convict anyone accused of any crime or offense they may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. 16 If a malicious witness takes the… Read more »

Laurette
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Laurette

There really can’t be too much light shed on cases like these. Internal and external examination would not be too much. It is beginning to look like a text book example of avoidance and shift and blame by beginning to discredit Boz from the beginning saying “but this does not apply to us because..” There is abuse all over Christendom; sexual, spiritual, emotional. There is mishandling of the victims to to protect the institution all the time. That is by definition, spiritual abuse. Are you willing to learn something? Let an independent investigate. Let some one who has made it… Read more »

holmegm
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holmegm

That sounds so great, until you realize it can be applied just the same to someone who has done nothing wrong, by someone who desperately wants to do them wrong.

duellsquimby
Member

This. Precisely this. Or put another way, this ain’t Doug’s first rodeo.

RandMan
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RandMan

Nope. Precisely not that. Whether someone has done something wrong or not is the whole point. That is why you appoint independent investigation that is not beholden to anyone. This is obvious. Power structures under fire should not be investigating themselves.

duellsquimby
Member

RandMan, where you been? You never call, you never right! I was worried.

Laurette
Guest
Laurette

If they have done nothing wrong, they won’t find it. ;) The reason some are already stating there is something wrong is because it is absolutely evident. You can’t say that Boz wants them wrong. You don’t know that.

RFB
Guest
RFB

I see a continual refusal to engage in a factual manner. The suggestion that an entire communion is somehow unable to seek truth and be objective is unsupported by any evidence. That position is overtly biased, the very thing that said position says it wants to avoid. The premise of “independent” means that you do not start with a preconceived position regarding the end result of what the facts will demonstrate. As stated in the referenced article, there is an expectation to offer the “…institution an opportunity to understand where it failed…” That posture immediately demonstrates a bias by the… Read more »

Laurette
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Laurette

I am stiil so amazed at all the defensiveness. You claim overt bias on Boz’s part but deny the glaring bias of the “we have done nothing wrong crowd, we have more evidence than you” club. Hillary has her own club taking care of Benghazi investigation. The thing is though, no one is asking this to take place in a court of law to make some huge guilty verdict. That is more the mind set of the Kirk and that mind set produces the defensiveness becuase there is such an aversion to being wrong. The “mob” buckled down because it… Read more »

Evan
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Evan

Ya, just say you’re sorry and this will all go away…..

duellsquimby
Member

There, do you feel better now?

Kelly M. Haggar
Guest
Kelly M. Haggar

First thought. Here’s an almost 10 year old book review in the WaPo which cites Bill Cosby as a social truth telling maverick whose recommendations ought to be heeded by the poor/underclass. For the purposes of the Bash Wilson/Defend Wilson slugfest, let’s stipulate that every accusation ever made by any woman against Cosby is 100% accurate, valid, legit, in full context, the truth-whole-truth-nothing-but-the-truth, etc, etc. Which parts – – if any? – – of Cosby’s advice becomes either wrong or irrelevant as a result of all of us taking as a given that Cosby’s feet of clay actually extend all… Read more »

RFB
Guest
RFB

I will defer to John Adams when he also appealed to calm reason in the face of sentiment and emotion:

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence…(and) will preserve a steady undeviating course; it will not bend to the uncertain wishes, imaginations, and wanton tempers of men…no passion can disturb. Tis void of desire and fear, lust and anger. ‘Tis mens sine affectu; written reason; retaining some measure of the divine perfection.”

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Examine yourselves, someone insightfully said — so let’s agree it’s always a necessity, even if it often isn’t the only advisable course of action.

Bonehead
Guest
Bonehead

“It is plain that Boz is predisposed to hear certain stories with an alert sympathy”. This could be a result of Boz’s years of professional experience with the subject: That while false allegations of sexual abuse do occur, they are relatively rare.

David
Guest
David

That is true. Yet “relatively rare” still means that some people are falsely accused. In disputed cases, a just process of investigation cannot simply assume the truth of the accusation and the falsity of the denial.

Erin Adams
Guest

Are you saying that Jamin is innocent of rape?
Of course, if he be innocent, he be innocent. Is that your stance? Are you saying here that you are unwilling to have an outside investigation, because you know you are right?

David
Guest
David

I think it’s agreed and acknowledged all around that Jamin was guilty of rape. Nothing here says otherwise.

Erin Adams
Guest

I am wondering why Doug is so opposed to Boz’s idea of an external investigation. And, Doug’s implication of full innocence. Did not Doug bar the victim from the Lord’s Table? This is a question to be examined. And, did not Doug stand by Jamin in the court of law, asking for gentle sentencing? He has said that it was “legally statutory rape”. But, he seems to believe that if Natalie was older (as he made a point to say she seemed older) than it would not have been rape. There really are a lot of questions to be examined.… Read more »