Invocation

There is a Trinity Reformed Church Head of Household (HoH) meeting tonight covering the way the church handled Jamin Fiasco 2.0, following up a similar meeting put on by Christ Church about the Steven Sitler and Jamin 1.0 situations a couple of weeks back. What I heard coming out of the first meeting wasn’t the greatest, to put it mildly. And I think that we — “we” being humans in general, regardless of religious or political affiliation — have a duty to be judicious in the way we speak of others, in that we should do some solid investigation before we accept rumors or even official correspondence as truth. I regularly get tips from people who suggest I should check this or that story out, and I do… which means that of all the stories I’m told about tragic misjudgment on the parts of leadership within the CREC, I publish only a very small fraction. This is because I can’t verify the story, because (most often) the people involved don’t want their stories going public, or potentially even because I have a day job and limited time — sorting out this stuff gets me zero dollars.

I would hope that those sitting in the meeting today would similarly do their research, both before and after. Ask hard questions. Questions like “can I have access to the financial records and verify that these cases were not influenced in any way by money?” Questions like “why are people in our congregation and across the country getting contacted by the elders and pastors of CC and TRC when they post something of Natalie’s on social media?” Questions like “why is the official line from TRC and CC that Natalie was healthier in 2006 than now, when she tried to kill herself twice in 2006?” Questions like “what specifically are you accusing Natalie of lying about? Specifically?” Hard questions like that. Questions that would be hard for leadership to avoid answering. Then, fact-check the answers. If you need help with this, please contact me; I’d be happy to point you to public records or other resources.

Because gossip is worst of all when handed down by church leadership. It should never be your job to sandpaper your conscience to the point that you can sit in church comfortably. If your leaders speak the truth, they will not mind hard questions. If your leaders speak the truth, they will not mind you verifying it on your own time.

Addendum: I’m putting together an outline of what was said in these meetings, and it would be helpful, in the interest of getting everything totally accurate, if anyone wants to contribute recordings, official or otherwise, of the contents. To that end, listening to the entire recording would obviously be more accurate than isolated quotes. I will absolutely be checking with anyone named in the recordings before mentioning them publicly.

10 thoughts on “Invocation

  1. This is why the CREC needs something like NAPARC (North American Presbyterian and Reformed Churches). NAPARC isn’t perfect. I have my own issues, but since it is a collection of denominations around a common belief, people from outside denomination (a) can investigate denomination (b) at the behest of other party (c).

    Of course, it doesn’t guarantee perfect justice, but the odds are better. It’s harder for one man to be “Pope” and control an outcome. People have told me there will be good news coming out of the recent investigation. I hope so but I have my doubts.

  2. “gossip is worst of all when handed down by church leadership. It should never be your job to sandpaper your conscience to the point that you can sit in church comfortably”

    This. Absolutely this. I’m still waiting for the day of mass exodus from meetings where lies, spin, and filthy lucre preside. Would be a true work of the Spirit and a new phase in the construction of Christ’s Church. Praying for courageous people who follow Christ and submit to His authority.

    Helpful post. Thanks again.

  3. Please keep writing and reporting, Katie. It’s with tremendous grief that I’ve been following this and other Kirk stories of abuse and mistreatment as they’ve unfolded in bits and pieces over the years. Heartbreaking.

  4. My guess is that this meeting went very much along the lines of Douglas Wilson’s posts on his “personal” -though linked through the church site- blog.

    On the blog there is much heroic talk of what stand up guy he himself is for putting up with all manner of headache and heartache in allowing a pedophile to take commuinion at his church and that further, it’s also awfully kind of the pedophile for putting up with the uncomfortable situation and keep to coming back. Golly gee.

    And then add to that the dastardly you-just-do-no-know the troubles he’s seen in Gary’s life and, “though I’m sworn to secrecy, let me underhandedly tell you that there is just oh so much more. And did I mention it is absolutely on par- absolutely- with anything the pedophiles ever did. But I’m a gentleman and I won’t tell you exactly what. But it’s bad. Real bad. And I have a time line to prove it.”

    DEFLECTION

    Uh, what does- two pedophiles sexually molesting young children and then getting married anyway (with the blessing of the church) and continuing the downward spiral, what pray tell does that have to do with, “Hey, hey, lookie over here, eyes over here everyone, can I just call together a meeting one more time to tell you what a dirty dog Gary was?”

    DEFLECTION

    And I find it absurd in the utmost to read on and on about “Man oh man, it was tough, real tough but I just persevered when I got backlash about coddling a pedophile” But danged if Douglas Wilson- Presiding Minister of the CREC couldn’t see his way clear to help a young girl who was sexually abused by a Greyfriar. “It was just too hard for me to get to her.” (sniffle)

    So, my question is:

    Just how much of the meeting was about helping/not helping the victims when all this happened. And did the leadership address what might be done to prevent the catastrophe in the future? Or was it more DEFLECTION?

    Someone like Boz Tchividjian could be a huge help- if help is what the church is after. Is there a reason no one has called him in to look this whole thing over? Read his bio. It is stellar for such a time as this.

    http://boz.religionnews.com/author/boztchividjian/

    1. Terri, you are an inspiration. A brave woman who attends (and I believe still attends) a CREC Church who refuses to be cowed and silenced in the face of such obvious evil. Thank you for your witness and example to all of us.

      1. Thank you, Cicero. I’m not brave; I’ve just seen too much fallout from the damnable patriarchy paradigm to stay silent. Natalie’s abuse is just too much more of the fallout that happens when “theologians” preach a hierarchy wherein the man lords above the subjugated women and demands obeisance and servility. It’s a setup for sure abuse.

      2. Terri, I’m glad to see you say this.
        People are focusing a lot on the actual words and actions of the players involved in this, as they should. But this ‘damnable patriarchy paradigm”, as you so eloquently call it, is also very much a part of the problem. I’m glad to see you say so.

        Jesus came to level the mountains and elevate the valleys. Patriarchy fights to keep the mountains elevated and exalted and to keep the valleys low and humble. Patriarchy is opposed to the gospel. And it lies about Jesus and the gospel to the people it is trying to control.

        http://frombitterwaterstosweet.blogspot.com/2015/09/the-patriarchs-second-lie-to-women.html

  5. What I am weary of hearing from CREC pastors and followers, “You don’t know the whole story”. First, this makes an internal inquiry null and void because they all have affection and something to lose by making DW out as anything but worthy of his position. Secondly, what more of the story needs to be known thay is not already stated by the very one who endured it and writes about it very candidly? By stating that ” You need the whole story” places blame on a victim who ought not bear any of that burden. That is not what the church, the Body of Christ should standing for. It ought to be tending to the flock and healing the wounded not pushing them further away because of their pride.

    1. No one ever knows the whole story, and that includes Doug Wilson. If he followed his own rules, he wouldn’t be commenting, because he doesn’t know the whole story.

      All we can do is make decisions based on what we see, and from what I’ve read of Doug Wilson’s own writings, the man is unfit to pastor a church.

  6. “Because gossip is worst of all when handed down by church leadership. It should never be your job to sandpaper your conscience to the point that you can sit in church comfortably. If your leaders speak the truth, they will not mind hard questions. If your leaders speak the truth, they will not mind you verifying it on your own time.”

    Katie Botkin.

    “So remember, the attempt to publicly strip and humiliate says less about the testimony about the person being humiliated than it does about the person intent on this crucifixion.”

    Katie Botkin.

    Titus 2
    But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. 2 Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance.
    3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior,

    not malicious gossips

    nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.
    6 Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; 7 in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, 8 sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.

    God.

    Well, Titus has us all covered, does it not?

    Whoops! There I go “proof texting”, even about myself!

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