Thank You For Reading The Life And Times of Bruce Gerencser. Your Support is Appreciated.

Serving the Fundamentalist Food God

Guest post by ObstacleChick

In 2011, I started reading books about a diet (and lifestyle) called the “Paleo Diet” that was supposedly based on evolutionary and anthropological studies of ancient humans. This diet was popularized by Dr. Loren Cordain, professor emeritus in the department of health and exercise science at Colorado State University. Dr. Cordain’s research examined the nutritional values of foods within the framework of humans’ hunter-gatherer ancestor, contrasted with the foods that were cultivated as humans moved toward and into agrarianism. His main work is The Paleo Diet, if you are interested in exploring further. His work spurred a health and wellness movement carried further by Robb Wolf, Mark Sisson, and a myriad others who have published cookbooks, exercise books, websites, and blogs. Many athletes for a while, particularly in CrossFit, latched onto the paleo diet hoping to improve athletic performance and lean muscle mass.

Many paleo diet proponents touted this diet as the end-all cure-all to obesity, diabetes, eczema, acne, auto-immune disorders, dementia, polycystic ovarian syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, etc. You name it, and somebody was proposing that if we only consume the foods that supposedly our ancestors ate, we would cure these modern maladies. What foods, you may ask, do followers of the paleo diet eat? Basically, people are encouraged to eat whole unprocessed foods such as fruits, berries, vegetables, seeds and nuts, meats (particularly the more highly nutritious meats like seafood and organ meats), eggs, and healthful oils like coconut and avocado oils (unsweetened teas and coffees are generally allowed, as are natural sugars in moderation like honey, molasses, agave). Everything else is technically off-limits and considered not “paleo,” Perhaps it is worthwhile to note the items which are technically excluded from the paleo diet: grains of any sort, including wheat, rice, oats, quinoa, millet, etc.; beans, including lentils, peanuts; corn; dairy (sometimes with the exception of ghee or clarified butter); refined vegetable oils; refined sugars; potatoes (some paleo proponents allow sweet potatoes and yams); processed foods; sodas, wine, beer, sweetened beverages; soy.

After having read several books on the paleo diet and lifestyle and hoping to optimize my health and athletic performance, in March, 2012, I embarked upon what I understood to be the paleo diet (much to my family’s chagrin). I eliminated pasta, bread, pizza, cereals, etc., from our household and started my paleo journey, dragging my (unwilling) family along with me. Actually, they didn’t mind so much after I allowed them to eat their bread, ice cream, etc., while I would eat my own paleo foods. As an avid runner and someone who strength trains, I struggled for quite a while to get enough carbohydrates to support my training load. Apparently, this was a big issue with people who are athletic, so Dr. Cordain wrote The Paleo Diet for Athletes to address those issues. Full disclosure – I didn’t follow the paleo diet entirely, as I still drank wine when I felt like it and would eat foods at restaurants that were probably prepared with processed oils and that may have been contaminated with wheat. In 2012, there were fewer gluten-free options available in restaurants and groceries (now there are a plethora of options available, and their quality, texture, and tastes have improved tremendously). But, I did become a “fundamentalist” about my food, a fact about which I am embarrassed now.

Early in 2014 I tried the mother of all hard-core exclusive dietary challenges — the Whole30 Challenge. For 30 days, one adheres to a strict paleo diet with additional caveats. If you slip up, you have to start over. No excuses. What are the rules for this challenge? No sweeteners of any sort are allowed — including honey, molasses, coconut sugar, etc., and one must read every single label of every single item one buys (bacon, for example — it cannot contain any sugar at all). No grains (of any sort), beans, rice, corn, soy, processed oils, processed foods, alcohol, dairy, or processed chocolate are allowed (unsweetened cocoa powder is allowed). If one does choose to eat at a restaurant, one must be “one of those” customers who grills the wait staff regarding the types of oils that are used, whether there is any cross-contamination with gluten/soy/dairy/etc. (seriously, it’s better just to eat at home when you’re on Whole30). If you go to a party and can’t pester your host about what specific foods he or she will be serving, bring your own food to ensure Whole30 compliance. You are supposed to eat 3 meals a day and ONLY 3 meals a day (unless you are an athlete, then you can add a snack). Desserts or paleo-version comfort foods are not allowed (i.e., no paleo pancakes, muffins, brownies, etc.). In fact, adherents are encouraged NOT to eat fruit at the end of their meal as substitute for a dessert. One is not to weigh oneself during the challenge as weight loss is not the only goal of the challenge. One is to examine one’s relationship to food. Do you find yourself wanting to mindlessly snack while watching TV? Do you find that you expect to finish a meal with a dessert? Do you crave chocolate? Do you get hungry at 3 pm every day? Are there certain foods that you tend to wolf down without control (foods without breaks)? Are there certain foods that are extremely pleasurable for you (SWYPO: “sex with your pants on”)? Additionally, there is a whole schedule of how you should anticipate feeling throughout the 30-day challenge — like being in a withdrawal phase “carb flu” for the first few days, how you feel mental clarity after the “carb flu” subsides, etc. Whole30 is not just a diet — it is a process that one can use to identify one’s reactions to foods and is supposed to “clear one’s gut” in order to start a controlled reintroduction after the Whole30 to determine what foods your body tolerates or doesn’t tolerate. It’s an intense experience.

When I started my Whole30, I joined a Facebook group designed to allow people a forum to discuss recipes, tips, results, and what they are going through. Most people were encouraging and supportive, but there were a good number of people who were hard-core fundamentalist Whole30 participants. These were the people who were very strict enforcers who commented on people’s posts and would get into extensive “fights.” If someone accidentally ate ketchup that contained a sugar, these enforcers would state that the person had failed Whole30 and MUST start over at day 1, regardless of whether they were on day 5 or 17 or 29. These enforcers would nitpick over every ingredient and typically had exhaustive lists of what commercial products were Whole30 compliant or not. While a lot of the enforcers had useful information, many of them were just plain MEAN. Occasionally, a comment thread would become so heated that the moderator would jump in and tell everyone to cool it, and soon thereafter she would write a blog post aimed at getting the enforcers to relax their vehemence (while still adhering to the tenets of the program). Several times, she would have to defend herself when an enforcer would see her eating a non-compliant item, and she would have to remind people that Whole30 is not WholeLife. It’s designed for shorter periods and if someone chooses to make it Whole60 or Whole90 that’s their choice, but the program wasn’t intended to be followed strictly forever.

What happened to me while I was on the Whole30? I was stressed out all the time making sure I was maintaining compliance while still trying to provide my family with non-Whole30 options as much as possible. Reading every label at the supermarket was seriously time-consuming to the point that I was freaking out over whether the pickles I bought were Whole30 compliant if they had any sort of preservatives in them (preservatives are banned too). I went through several days where I craved a piece of chocolate so intensely that I felt like the monster Grendel from Beowulf. As each day of compliance passed, the more invested I was in completing the program, demanding though it was. Some days I was hungry, though the program says you aren’t supposed to be hungry. Physically, I felt great, but emotionally, I was stressed, on alert, and after a couple of weeks of compliance I started to feel morally superior to those not on Whole30. While I detested the enforcers, I understood where they were coming from, and I hated myself for it. At the end, I weighed myself and had lost 7 pounds, but I was anxious about a party I was to attend in a few days where there would be alcohol and lots of non-compliant foods. At the party, I was anxious and stressed about eating a bite of cheese — and I wasn’t even on Whole30 at that point. I realized my thinking was MESSED UP. I was exhibiting signs of orthorexia — an obsession with eating foods that one considers healthy. This was NOT a healthy relationship with food. I had become a food fundamentalist.

Food fundamentalists are not that different from religious fundamentalists. Both have strict rules of behavior and compliance. Both groups demand giving up things — “sins” in the case of religions, foods or food groups in the case of food fundamentalism. Both groups have a type of “magical thinking” in which they believe that compliance will solve their problems and absolve them from “sin” or “disease” or “obesity.” Food fundamentalists and religious fundamentalists consider themselves part of a “tribe,” a social collective of people sharing a belief system. In either group, when one is in close compliance, one may feel a sense of moral superiority over others. Both groups believe that they have the “truth” and that if only others would join their group, their problems could be solved. Neither group wants to hear any negative research or evidence regarding their “truth” claims. Additionally, there are leaders in both groups who are intent on making money from members of the tribe.

Why did I leave food fundamentalism? The process of leaving food fundamentalism was not so different from leaving religious fundamentalism. Research was the beginning. Just as I had read evidence that refuted the veracity of fundamentalist Christianity, I read evidence that brought into question many overarching claims of the Paleo Diet. I took a look at myself and realized that I was being dogmatic, moralistic about food, and was starting to proselytize about food to other people. I was the fundagelical of food.

Did any good come out of my time in the Paleo Diet? Yes. I found that my digestive system doesn’t like certain foods so I know what the consequences will be if I choose to eat some of those foods. I found a lot of new recipes for some delicious dishes that everyone in my family can enjoy. And I learned that stressing out about what I am eating is not good for me or for my family.

Have you ever found yourself becoming a fundamentalist of something other than religion?

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Everyone Believes in God, Including Atheists

roger olsonI believe there can be no more important question than “Who is God?” because even among believers in God have so many different “pictures” of God in their minds. And every mental image of God has consequences for everyday life. Did you know that Hitler believed in God? He absolutely did. When he narrowly escaped death from a bomb planted near him by a conspirator he frequently attributed his survival to God. He saw his narrow escape from assassination as proof that God was with him and on his side.

I happen to think that everyone believes in God; I don’t take atheism very seriously. I believe awareness of a creator being who is all powerful and eternal is planted in our hearts. To me atheists are just those people who are in denial about what they really know. You have heard the old saying about war and soldiers “There are no atheists in foxholes.” Well, I will dare to say there are no atheists at all. There are only people whose god or gods are unworthy of worship or they prefer to live in denial of the one supreme creator God because they don’t want to be accountable to him.

So, for me the real question is not whether God exists but who God is. Which of the many gods people believe in, or deny believing in, is worthy of worship? And how should we Christians depict God to ourselves and other people?

— Roger Olson, Who is God? September 17, 2018

Black Collar Crime: Youth Pastor Ryan Mutchler Accused of Trying to Have Sex with Teen Girl

ryan mutchler

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Ryan Mutchler, a youth pastor at Mountain Park Church in Lake Oswego, Orgeon, was arrested earlier this month on allegations that he tried to have a sexual relationship with a fourteen-year-old girl he met at youth camp. The Orgeonian reports:

Ryan Mutchler, 30, faces charges of second-degree online sexual corruption of a child and luring a minor after he was arrested Sept. 7, according to Beaverton police and Washington County court filings.

….

A pastor at Mountain Park Church in Lake Oswego, police say Mutchler met the girl during a weeklong camp at the end of June and soon began exchanging text messages with her.

….

The girl’s parents saw the texts and alerted authorities, the Beaverton police said.

An undercover detective later used the girl’s phone to have a text conversation with Mutchler, who expressed his desire to have a sexual relationship with the child, police allege.

Greg Borror, a senior pastor at Mountain Park Church, told the news website Patch on Monday that Mutchler was fired the day after his arrest.

A short bio on the youth pastor’s Twitter page, which has since been deleted, reads: “Love God. Love Others. Grow a Beard. Eat a Burrito. Drink Coffee.”

….

 

 

Black Collar Crime: Dallas Theological Seminary Graduates Man Knowing He Was a Child Molester

jon warnshuis

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) recently settled its fourth lawsuit over its enabling of child molester Jon Warnshuis. DTS, an Evangelical institution, graduated Warnshuis knowing that he had, in the past, sexually molested church boys. Sara Coello, a reporter for The Dallas Morning News, writes:

An evangelical seminary in Dallas has settled a fourth lawsuit claiming that it knowingly allowed a child molester to graduate, enabling him to have access to boys he’d rape years later as a North Texas pastor.

Dallas Theological Seminary required that Jon Gerrit Warnshuis undergo counseling before receiving his diploma in 1992 — but didn’t report the allegation to law enforcement or tell future employers, according to the lawsuit.

Nearly a decade later, Warnshuis was convicted in Denton County for sexually abusing three boys. He is serving a 40-year prison sentence and will be eligible for parole in 2021.

His victims sued the seminary, as well as Oak Hills Community Evangelical Free Church in Argyle and Warnshuis, claiming that the school created dangerous conditions for future congregants by granting Warnshuis a diploma.

“Warnshuis was thus cloaked with all the powers, appearances, and indices of a Man of God that permitted him to infiltrate the community earning the trust of the victims, their families, the congregation and the community at large,” the latest lawsuit said.

That lawsuit, filed in January, was settled in August. The two other victims sued in Dallas County in 2008 and 2009 and settled their cases in 2010. The terms of the settlements with the seminary were not disclosed in any of the cases, and the church was dropped as a defendant in all three. Another settled in Tarrant County in 2005.

The victim who filed the latest lawsuit will use the money to pay for therapy, attend college and marry his fiancée, said attorney Tom McElyea, who represented all three victims in their civil cases.

“More than anything, the lawsuit gave him a chance to have a voice,” McElyea said.

Warnshuis was set to graduate from the seminary in May 1988, but was kept from graduation after allegations were made against him. The morning of his commencement, a man told school president Donald Campbell that Warnshuis had molested his 13-year-old son and asked that he get counseling and be separated from young boys, the 2009 lawsuit alleged.

An attorney advised Campbell that Texas law did not require him to report Warnshuis to law enforcement, Campbell testified. Seminary officials required him to attend sessions with Richardson psychologist Stephen Ash.

….

“Dr. Ash stated that Defendant Warnshuis was unable to be involved with minors or teens and that Defendant Warnshuis should give up the ministry altogether as it relates to teens,” McElyea wrote in the 2008 lawsuit.

Ash wrote a letter to the school in 1991 claiming that Warnshuis had addressed the root of his problems — his father’s death — according to a 2009 deposition. The letter has since been lost, and it’s unclear whether it was intended as an endorsement of Warnshuis’ safety or an update on his progress.

….

Oak Hills church officials say they followed a normal hiring process for Warnshuis, calling the seminary before inviting him to become their pastor in 1996.

Seminary officials testified that they have no records of that call and emphasized that Warnshuis could have been hired without the school’s certification.

As a pastor, Warnshuis spent much of his time with the congregation’s boys, even inviting them to sleepovers at his home.

“I was only really happy when I was working with the boys,” Warnshuis wrote in an undated letter to his mother, according to a 2002 Star-Telegram article.

One boy’s father told the newspaper that he’d directed his son to Warnshuis for spiritual guidance in the late 1990s. That night, the pastor molested the 13-year-old for the first time, the boy’s father said.

“I had peace and fulfillment, only to turn on them and betray them,” Warnshuis wrote to his mother, the Star-Telegram reported.

Investigators believe Warnshuis could be responsible for sexually assaulting several more children, both in North Texas and California, where he lived before enrolling in the seminary.

….

You can read the entire sordid, disgusting story here.

Jon Warnshuis’ rap sheet and incarceration record. Warnshuis has been in prison for seventeen years. He will be eighty-years-old when he is released in 2041.

2005 story on the first lawsuit against Dallas Theological Seminary.

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Youth Pastor Joshua Clemons Sentenced to Four Years in Prison

joshua clemons

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Last February, I reported the story of Joshua Clemons, youth pastor at Crossroads Community Church in Parker, Colorado, and his alleged sexual assault of a church teenager. In July, Clemons pleaded guilty to one count of sexual exploitation of a child. On Friday, Clemons was sentenced to four years in prison for his crime. After his release from prison, Clemons will have to serve ten years of intensive supervised probation.

Clemons also faces an October 19, 2018 sentencing in another case after he pleaded guilty to second-degree assault—strangulation and attempted sexual assault of a child.

ABC-7 reports:

Clemons pleaded guilty in July to one count of sexual exploitation of a child – video/20+ items and one count of attempted sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust – victim age 15-18 in the Douglas County case. Six other counts were dismissed in exchanged for the guilty plea.

Clemons, who worked as a pastor at the Parker church from 2006 through September 2015, had been accused of having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl who had long been in his program.

The relationship carried on as the girl went to college at Colorado State University before ending toward the end of 2016, when the alleged victim said Clemons began to show up at her new church and she threatened to get a restraining order, according to police documents.

Clemons also pleaded guilty in late July to second-degree assault—strangulation and attempted sexual assault of a child in the Denver case. He is scheduled to be sentenced for that case on Oct. 19. The sentence is expected to run consecutively to his sentence from the Douglas County case, a spokesperson for the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office said.

Black Collar Crime: IFB Pastor David English and His Drug Addict Wife Arrested

jennifer and david english

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

David English, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Clinton, South, Carolina, was arrested today on charges of second-degree domestic violence and unlawful conduct toward a child. English’s wife, Jennifer, was arrested on kidnapping charges after she disappeared with a two-month-old baby she was babysitting. According to WYFF, Jennifer English is a drug addict, and her husband, on occasion, has taken her to buy drugs.

Laurens County Sheriff Don Reynolds had this to say about the good pastor and his wife:

This was a terrible incident but, luckily, we found the baby before this turned out to be much more tragic than it already is. Hopefully, this lady will stay behind bars where she can’t put any more children in danger. As for Mr. English, this guy is a preacher, as well as a teacher in another county. It is very disturbing to think that someone in his position, which makes him a role model to our youth, would assist his wife in purchasing illegal drugs or would assault a woman. We will continue to incarcerate these types of violent offenders and put it in the hands of the prosecution.

New Hope Baptist Church is a King James-only Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) congregation. The church has no active web presence. Its Facebook page was disabled after the public became aware of what was going on behind closed doors with their pastor and his wife.

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Every Atheist Believes There is a Moral Law of Right and Wrong

fool says no god

One reason some choose atheism is to deaden the sting of a corrupt nature. If we can convince ourselves that there is no God, then we think we will never have to give an account for our wickedness. However, it is not only the Atheist who has a corrupt nature; all of us do. The difference is; some acknowledge it, and ask God for forgiveness and help. The nature your nurture is the one that will dominate.

God also accuses the atheist of a lack of understanding. Atheists cannot be accused of lacking knowledge or education. Many have a high IQ, and are well educated. However, as someone said, “The bigger the belfry, the more room for the bats.” Observation and understand can be worlds apart.  The atheist rejects the revelation of creation. Psalm 19:1-3. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.” As I understand this verse, the atheist will have to say, “I was just too dumb to see it.”

The atheist also rejects the revelation of conscience. Every atheist believes there is a moral law of right and wrong. Notice how Paul describes it. Romans 2:14-15. “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;).” God will use their on argument against them.

The atheist also rejects the revelation of Scripture. Any person can know beyond any doubt that the Scriptures are an accurate revelation of God, if he wishes. We give one challenge to the atheist on this matter. John 7:17. “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.”

Finally, the atheist rejects the law of congruity. When you find the key that fits the lock, you have the right one. The only key that answers the question about creation, conscience, Scripture, where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going, is the acknowledgment of a wise, and an all-powerful God. Otherwise, we must continue to swim in a cosmic swamp of soup until science can pull us out. The key that fits is an understanding that there is a God.

— Ken Blue, Ken Blue Ministries, Why God Says the Atheist is a Fool, May 16, 2012

Blue is a graduate of Midwestern Baptist College in Pontiac, Michigan, the same school I attended in the 1970s. Blue’s LinkedIn page “humbly” says:

PASTURED THREE CHURCHES, ONE I STARTED WITH “0” PEOPLE AND HAD A HIGH ATTENDANCE OF 1800. PURCHASED FIVE ACRES OF PRIME PROPERTY, AND BUILT TWO BUILDING WITH AN ESTIMATED VALUE OF SIX MILLION DOLLARS. ALL ARE PAID FOR. WE HAVE SENT DOZENS OF YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN INTO THE MINISTRY AND MISSION FIELD. DEVELOPED THE PAL MINISTRY, WHICH IS A FULL MANAGEMENT PROGRAM. ALL DONE BY GOD’S GRACE!

As I have often said, when it comes to IFB preachers, penis size matters.

Accusations Against Evangelical Pastor Dean Curry Upheld by Church Board

pastor dean curry

In July, Dean Curry pastor of Life Center Assembly of God in Tacoma, Washington, was fired over sexual misconduct allegations. (You can read previous posts about Curry here and here.)  Yesterday, the church board upheld the accusations against Curry.

The News Tribune reports:

They didn’t provide racy details, nor did they name accusers, but leaders of Tacoma’s Life Center church took a methodical procedural walk during a private meeting Thursday, explaining to a crowd of parishioners exactly why lead pastor Dean Curry was fired this summer after 14 years of service.

“The board is in unanimous agreement that Pastor Dean Curry’s removal as senior pastor was the correct decision,” said Nate Angelo, chairman of Life Center’s executive board. “He is disqualified from gospel ministry because of repeat violations of Life Center’s sexual harassment policies. He will not be returning as Life Center’s senior pastor.”

To the end, Curry denied the accusations against him, saying,

I stand by my denial and I stand by my comments about the Assembly of God — very disappointing. My disagreement has to do with mishandling of this process by the Assembly of God. It put Life Center and the board and me in a very awkward situation. I know they were forced into making a decision that was difficult for them. I appreciate their love and kindness to me. They have to make a decision and a statement that is best for Life Center. I totally understand why they want to cut ties.

Julee Dilley, a former church board member who left the church in 2016 over concerns about Curry’s conduct, filed complaints this summer with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the state Human Rights Commission regarding Curry’s behavior.

Dilley’s complaints levied the following allegations against Curry:

  • An ongoing relationship with a married church member that turned physical.
  • An incident involving another married church member being visited by Curry late at night, discovered by the woman’s husband.
  • A female administrative employee who spoke of uncomfortable conversations with Curry that included comments on her appearance and discussions of his intimate relations with his wife.
  • Inappropriate counseling sessions when Curry used vulgar terms when describing intimacy.
  • Talking to other women about intimate details of his marriage
  • Talking to women about their appearance, sometimes in crass terms.
  • Telling women, “You are the only one who gets me.”
  • Isolating women and spending time alone with them on multiple occasions, to their discomfort.

According to The News Tribune, DIlley took issue with the Life Center’s board’s characterization of Curry’s behavior as mere “sexual harassment.” Dilley called the board’s findings an understatement, saying:

Dean’s abuse was not consensual. This isn’t about bad language, lack of boundaries with women or flippant sexual comments. This was abuse, in my opinion. I do feel that there is a duty to warn the public about this type of predatory behavior to help protect from the potential of future victims.

It’s time to start the Dean Curry Resurrection® betting pool. How long will it be before the good pastor finds a church that buys his denials or is willing to give him a second chance?  Forgive and forget, that is what Dean Curry is hoping for. And if there’s one thing I know about Evangelicals, they love a great comeback story. If Mark Driscoll, Ted Haggard, and Jimmy Swaggart can find forgiveness, why anyone can!

Evangelical Pastor Jason Webb Resigns Over His “Adultery Addiction”

pastor jason webb

It comes as no surprise to read of an Evangelical pastor getting caught with his pants down.  What’s surprising, at least to me, is how these revered cult leaders explain away their “sin.” Take Jason Webb, pastor of Elmbrook Church in Brookfield Wisconsin. Webb resigned Wednesday, saying he had been “struggling with a serious addiction, which has led to many betrayals, including unfaithfulness to my wife, Heather.” In a letter to the Elmbrook congregation, Webb wrote:

It is with deep remorse that I write you this letter. As you are aware, over the last two years I have been on a journey towards emotional, spiritual and relational health.

While I have been open with you about much of the journey, there is one part that I have kept hidden. I have also been struggling with a serious addiction, which has led to many betrayals, including unfaithfulness to my wife, Heather.

Words cannot fully describe how sorry I am for my sin. The gravity of all of this is not lost on me. I have lied to Heather, my counselor, the men in my life, the elders, the staff and the church.

I am so very sorry. As I come to terms with this, I must take two difficult steps for myself, my wife and my children.

First, I will immediately seek intensive inpatient treatment for addiction over the next six weeks. Second, I am offering my resignation as senior pastor of Elmbrook Church.

Elmbrook will always be dear to me. I will continue to count it one of the greatest honors of my life to have served under the Elmbrook umbrella in various capacities for the last seventeen years, and as senior pastor these last four years. (PDF)

Just once, I wish one of these smooth talking preachers would be brutally honest and say, “I admit it. I fucked my secretary, and I loved it!” Instead, they talk of “sexual indiscretions” or in Webb’s case “addiction.” Addicted to what, exactly? Sex? If that’s the case, I know a hell of a lot of addicts.  The issue for me, of course, is not the adultery; it’s the hypocrisy. Evangelical preachers and their congregations believe that they have a God ordained duty to inflict on everyone their version of Jesus and his morality code. And yet, these very same people don’t practice what they preach. Jason Webb, whose church believes atheists think they are smarter than God (we are, by the way), is one such hypocrite. Why should any of us listen to one word Evangelical preachers have to say about sex, when they themselves can’t keep their toadstools in their pants? I say to to these hypocrites, talk to the hand.

Webb has committed himself to six weeks of “intensive inpatient treatment for addiction.” While Webb cannot return to Elmbrook, I have no doubt that he will, much like Dean Curry, rise again and find a church that will let him be their pastor. If his wife forgives him, so should everyone else, right? What’s a little adultery among friends.

In February, Elmbrook’s executive pastor, Brodie Swanson, resigned after it was made known he was having an affair with another church staff member.

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Socialism and the Family Are Incompatible

jesus is a socialist

Socialism is a distortion, in a collectivist direction, of human beings’ natural need for familial connection with others. But socialism and the family are incompatible. The family requires independence from governmental interference in order to flourish, and parents know its needs better than government officials can. Meanwhile, the breakdown of the traditional family leads to greater need for state assistance. The ethos of self-gratification that weakens commitment to the family also leads to increased desire for services from the state. Hence it is no accident that, historically, advocacy of socialism has always tended to go hand in hand with hostility to the traditional family structure. Anyone opposed to socialism should defend the traditional family and anyone concerned to defend the traditional family should oppose socialism.

— The Heritage Foundation, Socialism versus the Family

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: ‘We Are Living In An Unparalleled Golden Time’ Under Trump

michele bachmann

Two years ago, I believe that the prayers that God’s people made to ask God for his provision were heard. They were heard and granted and for two years, we have lived in an unparalleled golden time in the United States. We are living in an unparalleled golden time. We have a president who has made the most pro-life actions of any president ever. We have a president who has been the most pro-Israel president ever in the history of the United States of America. Our president has put the United States on a pathway of blessing … We have the most pro-religious liberty president in the history of the United States, ever! Do you see what a golden day that we have been given? On every possible level, America is killing it. We are doing great in every possible metric, and I believe that’s because God’s people utilized the tool that he gave us.

Michele Bachmann, Value Voters Summit, September 21, 2018

Video Link

This Week With Christians on Social Media

cant believe you said that

Guest post by ObstacleChick

Most of the time when I check my social media accounts, I can be sure to find at least one post by fundamentalist evangelical Christians that either elicits an eye roll or a chuckle from me. Here are some good ones from this week, along with my comments.

“To pray ‘Thy Will be done’ I must be willing, if the answer requires it, that my will be undone.” – Elisabeth Elliot

OC: Bruce has written quite a few posts concerning Christians’ interpretation of the answers to prayer. If one prays for something that doesn’t happen, then the Christian says, “It wasn’t God’s Will.” If one prays for direction between option A and option B, the Christian usually just chooses what he or she wants to do. If it works out, then Yay! the Christian successfully understood God’s Will. If it doesn’t work out, then it was a “lesson from God”.

“Don’t worry. God’s never blind to your tears, never deaf to your prayers, and never silent to your pain. He sees, he hears, and he will deliver.”

OC: Yeah, that’s what makes him such a jerk – he sees and hears but he doesn’t actually deliver . . . just ask all the victims of every natural disaster EVER. Oh, yeah, the “God’s Will” thing again . . . it’s a mystery, isn’t it?

“Christ offends men because his gospel is intolerant of sin.” – Charles Spurgeon

OC: Judgmental blowhards like Charles Spurgeon and name-your-favorite-evangelical-pastor offend me with their incessant talk of sin, hell, and damnation for everyone whose interpretation of the gospel doesn’t match theirs. They offend me with their assumption that everyone is filthy and pure evil until they say the magic words and *poof!* Jesus makes it all better. They offend me by offering me a “choice” between saying the magic words to become a slave to Jesus but escaping the eternal flames of hell, or not saying the magic words and facing an eternity of torture – just for existing. They offend me with their insistence that I must vote a certain way, dress a certain way, act a certain way, give money a certain way – THEIR way.

“We are sent to bless the world, but we are never told to compromise with it.” – A. W. Tozer

OC: Because Jesus needs SOMEBODY to be judgmental and to fight the culture wars. Omnipotence only goes so far with the Trinity . . .

“Drunk Lot impregnated his daughter, who bore Moab, whence came Ruth, the great-grandmother of David. Christ’s own bloodline preaches his will to save even the most messed up of families.” – Chad Bird

OC: I’ll let you guys comment on this one . . .

“Parents who know how to repent in front of their kids give them a greater gift than a Harvard education.” – Scotty Smith

OC: I’d rather have the Harvard education instead of watching my parents pray to Jesus and consider themselves (and me) worms all the time. But that’s just me, and education is what led me down the road to atheism, so there is that.

“When you realize God’s purpose for your life isn’t just about you, He will use you in a mighty way.” – Dr. Tony Evans

OC: I like to be able to make my own choices, to choose my own purpose, to have autonomy as much as possible in my life. It’s worked out pretty well so far. I guess I could just sit here and let God repurpose me. Nah . . .

“Pray, then let it go. Don’t try and manipulate or force the outcome. Just trust God to open the right doors at the right time. Amen.”

OC: The principal of our local high school tells the students every day to CONTROL WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL. The point is to teach students to assess which aspects of a situation are in their control and which aspects are out of their control. Then students are encouraged to act on the aspects that are in their control. Sitting around and waiting for an invisible and silent deity to manage a situation is poor advice.

What Christian messages have you seen on social media this week? Please share with us in the comments!