Fascinating Patterson Comment

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Re: Fascinating Patterson Comment

Postby William Thornton » Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:29 am

Dave offers an example where there may be a legitimate case, contra PP's advice.
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Re: Fascinating Patterson Comment

Postby Sandy » Wed Oct 23, 2013 12:18 pm

I think that employment covenants between pastors and the churches which call them are good things to have. However, most churches take full advantage of all of the benefits accorded to them with regard to tax exemptions, property ownership, insurance regulations, employment regulations, by pleading the separation of church and state, and religious liberty. Making a covenant agreement in the calling of a pastor seems to be asking for the government to intrude, while being asked to stay out of other business based on church-state separation. I don't think the court system and the state's legal authority is the place for a minister to appeal in order to hold a church accountable.
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Re: Fascinating Patterson Comment

Postby Haruo » Wed Oct 23, 2013 12:26 pm

But surely once a pastor has extricated herself from a crocodilian-infested quagmire with the loss of only one limb and some hair, she ought to have both the right and the duty to warn others who may see the chamber of horrors as merely a Spirit-sent job opportunity.
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Re: Fascinating Patterson Comment

Postby Dave Roberts » Wed Oct 23, 2013 2:31 pm

Sandy wrote:I think that employment covenants between pastors and the churches which call them are good things to have. However, most churches take full advantage of all of the benefits accorded to them with regard to tax exemptions, property ownership, insurance regulations, employment regulations, by pleading the separation of church and state, and religious liberty. Making a covenant agreement in the calling of a pastor seems to be asking for the government to intrude, while being asked to stay out of other business based on church-state separation. I don't think the court system and the state's legal authority is the place for a minister to appeal in order to hold a church accountable.


Sandy, I doubt that you have ever set and listened to some of the horror stories of pastors and church staffs who have been subjected to the whims of certain congregations. I've known those who have returned from vacation to find the locks on the pastor's study changed and their property packed and placed outside. If a church doesn't have the ethics to follow their own rules, some of them belong in court. Also, if they are that unchristian, they may also discover a higher judgement.
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Postby Stephen Fox » Wed Oct 23, 2013 6:00 pm

Moyers is not the world of Unbelief. But Jesse Helms, Patterson and Pressler were the world of the Birch Society, and now the underbelly of the Tea Party and Koch Brothers. See NPR today interview on the civil war in the GOP to see what Pressler and the recon world of Ted Cruz have wrought.

We are all limited by our experience but Sandy in particular seems fogged in his analysis of what the takeover was about. Dave Roberts consistently has a wise and virtuous though not naïve perspective on these matters when they flare up on this board.
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Re: Fascinating Patterson Comment

Postby Sandy » Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:13 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:
Sandy wrote:I think that employment covenants between pastors and the churches which call them are good things to have. However, most churches take full advantage of all of the benefits accorded to them with regard to tax exemptions, property ownership, insurance regulations, employment regulations, by pleading the separation of church and state, and religious liberty. Making a covenant agreement in the calling of a pastor seems to be asking for the government to intrude, while being asked to stay out of other business based on church-state separation. I don't think the court system and the state's legal authority is the place for a minister to appeal in order to hold a church accountable.


Sandy, I doubt that you have ever set and listened to some of the horror stories of pastors and church staffs who have been subjected to the whims of certain congregations. I've known those who have returned from vacation to find the locks on the pastor's study changed and their property packed and placed outside. If a church doesn't have the ethics to follow their own rules, some of them belong in court. Also, if they are that unchristian, they may also discover a higher judgement.


The judgement that they are subject to is a higher one. As unfortunate as it is that many churches, too many, are not very Christian in their handling of their pastor and staff, I believe that there is Biblical instruction not to take the affairs of the church before the secular courts, and I think that can be pretty clearly discerned. Don't doubt anything, Dave, I've seen it, and have even been on the experiencing end of it. I'd be in agreement with a few less privileges and perks under the religious liberty banner, such as requiring churches to pay premiums for unemployment insurance based on their pastor and staff salaries, or using deposits on contracts, so that when the church violates the contract, the money in the account goes to the pastor or staff member who was unjustly terminated.
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Re: Fascinating Patterson Comment

Postby Dave Roberts » Thu Oct 24, 2013 7:28 am

I have been involved with the Ministering to Ministers Foundation for the past five years. One of their resources to assist ministers in the face of unjust (and even illegal) treatment of ministers is the service of volunteering attorneys who can often negotiate with churches to protect ministers from these actions. This voluntary counsel can then negotiate for or assist with a minister's dealings with the congregation. They have been able to assist in negotiating termination agreements and sabbaticals from which ministers do not return and also spell out who can speak about these things to future congregations that may inquire about a minister's history. This also can provide assistance for the minister in regaining a sense of health and hope in spite of the problems. Check their website.
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Re: Fascinating Patterson Comment

Postby Ed Pettibone » Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:47 am

Ed: Dave does MTM serve pastors out side of Virginia? Wish had known of this earlier, BHBC is hosting a training session for members of the Regional Enhancement Team today. We are just in the talking stages at this time. I hope to see it move in the direction of MTM. St present we are primarily involved in assisting churches in Pastoral search,

BTW you didn't give the URL but I looked it up. http://www.mtmfoundation.org/
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Re: Fascinating Patterson Comment

Postby Dave Roberts » Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:16 am

Ed Pettibone wrote:Ed: Dave does MTM serve pastors out side of Virginia? Wish had known of this earlier, BHBC is hosting a training session for members of the Regional Enhancement Team today. We are just in the talking stages at this time. I hope to see it move in the direction of MTM. St present we are primarily involved in assisting churches in Pastoral search,

BTW you didn't give the URL but I looked it up. http://www.mtmfoundation.org/


MTM serves nationwide and conducts retreats for terminated ministers and their spouses in a number of places across the country including WI, TN, VA, GA, MO, NM, and a number of other locations as the demand is there for their services. Their weeklong retreat provides scripture study, self-assessment, the opportunity to tell your story (and let your spouse tell his/her story, the services of a clinical psychologist in group sessions, and practical guidance on taking the next steps for ministers. Resources are offered to help with recovery, devotional life, and preparing a post-termination resume. Their services also include working with you across the long term and staying in contact long after the initial event is over. Its services reach into several denominations, so it is not strictly a Baptist event at all. Hope that helps with a brief word on Ministering to Ministers, and thanks for posting the URL. I was coming back, but got sidetracked.
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Re: Fascinating Patterson Comment

Postby Sandy » Thu Oct 24, 2013 11:51 am

That's a great service. Expanding the kind of things that they do might be something to consider, such as keeping a registry of churches and their record when it comes to their pastor and staff. Having a place where you could look up a church and find out how many pastors they've had, how many have been dismissed, or even how many have had frequent resignations. For Baptists in particular, this would be valuable information, since there's no denominational organization in place which handles that sort of thing. You can call a director of missions, or other pastors in the area, but sometimes they are reluctant to do or say anything that leaves a negative impression.

When I graduated from Southwestern, I took their placement office's advisory session. They were quite helpful in providing advice like finding out about previous pastors and staff, asking them to provide a reference to you for the church. One of the things they said was to ask the search committee to provide you with the contact information of their former staff members or pastor, depending on what you were seeking. I only had one church situation in which I had to deal with the established power structure and self-appointed leadership related to keeping my position, and that was before I went through the seminary's program. I guess they still do that, and it would be a good idea for all of them to prepare their students for what they might face. I did have one DOM in Kentucky who told me that a church that was interested in me had a couple of deacons who were hard on ministerial staff, and a pastor who used staff members as scapegoats to keep his own job. That was a red flag. That should happen more often.
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Re: Fascinating Patterson Comment

Postby Dave Roberts » Thu Oct 24, 2013 12:22 pm

One of the things I have learned over the last 40 years is that state and associational workers often are not completely honest about churches or are sadly uninformed about the problems in many congregations. It would seem that because the church is the one contributing to the state or associational worker's organization, they often feel a duty to protect churches rather than being honest about what is going on there. Perhaps there is no cure for it, but there are many well-hidden secrets about church-minister relations that often require careful research, and then they may not be visible. Because MTM works across denominational lines, it would not be an ideal organization to maintain lists of troubled churches, but state and local organizations could, if they were willing to risk some funding.
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Re: Fascinating Patterson Comment

Postby Dave Roberts » Fri Oct 25, 2013 3:28 pm

Another response to Patterson's statement has been reported today.

http://www.abpnews.com/culture/social-i ... mljwvksl8E

If laws are violated, and the lid is placed over it, then the failure to report is criminal behavior under the laws of many states.
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Re: Fascinating Patterson Comment

Postby Sandy » Sun Oct 27, 2013 10:38 pm

It seems that what is happening is that Patterson's statement is being taken well out of its intended context. It was a chapel message. I haven't listened to it, though I guess it is, like all chapel messages at Southwestern, available on their website. But it seems as if his critics, in typical fashion, are trying to find just about anything they can to throw in a criticism.

The court of public opinion is not where the church is instructed to operate, nor are the civil courts to be the forum in which church issues are settled. But applying Patterson's remarks to the specific situation in the ABP article that Dave cites is quite a stretch, even for them.

Bob Allen in ABP wrote:Patterson didn’t specify what kind of internal matters he meant, but critics termed his blanket statement ill-advised and potentially dangerous given evangelicals’ poor track record of mishandling reports of known or suspected criminal abuse in churches.


Patterson didn't specify what kind of internal matters he meant. No comma. What we have here, from this point on, is an editorial comment masquerading as a news article. It's lousy journalism, and speculative gossip at best. If you really want to know what Paige Patterson thinks about this particular situation, the best way to find out is to pose the situation to him, let him read the news reports, and then ask for his comment. A good journalist might actually ask a few specific questions, such as how Patterson might connect his chapel sermon statement to this particular situation. But I don't expect ABP to resort to good journalism, especially when they have a chance to smear Paige Patterson.
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Re: Fascinating Patterson Comment

Postby Dave Roberts » Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:36 am

Sandy, I don't know if you have listened to the chapel address. I took the time to go back and listen to see if there was injustice toward Patterson. In the address, he stressed that God will eventually set things right and his justice is sure. He even used the line, "if you are abused." Now whether he intended that to be about sexual abuse or not, I don't know. It may just be typical Patterson hyperbole. However, if I were an child or teen abused by someone in power in the church and heard him say, "You don't take what happens in church before the law," I doubt I would ever return to the church that denied me justice here trusting only that God would set it right in the future. After listening to the address, I understand the upset. Patterson created his own storm by his word choice, especially by using the word "abused." Listen to the address from the perspective of a victim and see what you would say.
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Re: Fascinating Patterson Comment

Postby Dave Roberts » Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:39 pm

In listening more to the address, Patterson also used the word "defrauded." I wonder if he intended for churches who have experienced embezzlements not to report these to legal authorities. This was also in his list of things that should not go outside the church. I would like for someone else to listen and see if they heard what I am hearing.
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Re: Fascinating Patterson Comment

Postby Ed Pettibone » Mon Oct 28, 2013 3:55 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:In listening more to the address, Patterson also used the word "defrauded." I wonder if he intended for churches who have experienced embezzlements not to report these to legal authorities. This was also in his list of things that should not go outside the church. I would like for someone else to listen and see if they heard what I am hearing.


Ed: Dave, where did you find Patterson's address that is under discussion. I haven't been able to locate it.
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Re: Fascinating Patterson Comment

Postby Dave Roberts » Mon Oct 28, 2013 4:27 pm

Ed Pettibone wrote:

Ed: Dave, where did you find Patterson's address that is under discussion. I haven't been able to locate it.


I went to the SWBTS website and followed links to chapel and found the recordings of all chapels. The link is:

http://swbts.edu/index.cfm/resources/?action=public:library.details&ID=867&load=audio#.Um7I6KDD-po
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Re: Fascinating Patterson Comment

Postby Dave Roberts » Mon Oct 28, 2013 7:43 pm

Christa Brown, a member of this forum, has now weighed in also with a response to the SWBTS President's chapel sermon.

http://www.abpnews.com/opinion/commentaries/item/8966-why-paige-patterson-s-anti-outsider-stance-is-wrong#.Um7y9sPD-rQ
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Re: Fascinating Patterson Comment

Postby Sandy » Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:33 pm

Boy, ABP is sure jumping on this to drag in everyone they can, and yet, they've not bothered, as far as I can tell, to confirm their speculation about what he meant in his chapel address. I listened to it, and I don't think there is enough context to jump to the conclusions that have been drawn. I have a lot of respect for Christa Brown, but I think she is being used here to generate unwarranted and unverified criticism of Patterson, at ABP's instigation. This is shoddy journalism at its best, but I don't think it rises to that level. It's a mean spirited hack job, especially since it is clear that no attempt has been made to be fair to Patterson, or get his clarification and perspective. That nullifies any criticism of Baptist Press, as well as claims from CBF supporters that they are more than just the Anti-SBC.
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Re: Fascinating Patterson Comment

Postby William Thornton » Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:54 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:Christa Brown, a member of this forum, has now weighed in also with a response to the SWBTS President's chapel sermon.

http://www.abpnews.com/opinion/commentaries/item/8966-why-paige-patterson-s-anti-outsider-stance-is-wrong#.Um7y9sPD-rQ


CB's main thrust is that the SBC fund and utilize an independent review board for clergy sex abuse cases.

These [independent review] denominational systems are far from perfect and often fail in actual practice. But for Southern Baptists, lacking even the bare existence of a denominational accountability system, failure of accountability is virtually assured. If a Southern Baptist pastor isn’t literally sitting in prison, he can probably find a pulpit to stand in. The denomination has no alternative system for stopping him.


I don't believe this to be possible. Patterson unfortunately mentioned people in church being "misused and abused” but the reference was not intended to be applied to criminal acts of abuse best I can tell.

Bob Allen has hundreds of clergy sex abuse articles at ABP. If BP did a little work here, I'd complain about ABP's excesses.

The Alabama CBF set up such an independent review board a few years ago. I don't know if they have heard any cases or taken any action and I don't know what action they would take if they found something actionable. Maybe someone else here knows.
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Re: Fascinating Patterson Comment

Postby Sandy » Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:57 pm

It's a stretch to take Patterson's use of the term "abused," and apply it this way. If you listen to the message, and to that statement, and what is around it, he's not talking about sexually abusive clergy.

And if you've read or heard of Christa Brown, and what she is advocating for Southern Baptists to do with clergy accountability regarding abuse cases, it is not inconsistent with what Patterson is saying. She's not suggesting that churches air their dirty laundry in front of secular authority. ABP is grasping at straws in pulling this out and trying to use it to bludgeon Patterson. But that's so typical of them.

I guess, with the money drying up like a creek in the desert, there's not much for ABP to write about when it comes to CBF...Maybe they could do a piece on financially strapped Christian fellowships and their creative financing of airline commutes for the executive director.
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Re: Fascinating Patterson Comment

Postby William Thornton » Tue Oct 29, 2013 6:46 am

Consider me to see this differently from my religiously con colleague, Sandy. ABP seldom messes with the SBC these days, budget woes or not, and ABP has, properly in my opinion, done extensive reporting on church and clergy sex abuse cases. Patterson's comments were a rather weak but still legitimate foil for Christa Brown's article.

A better foil would be any of the several cases where due to the autonomy of the local church and the lack of any central SBC sex abuse registry, SBC clergy have freely moved from church-to-church in ministry positions while having a background but not a conviction of sex abuse.
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Re: Fascinating Patterson Comment

Postby Dave Roberts » Tue Oct 29, 2013 7:50 am

Having listened to the address, Patterson left a lot of his statements open to interpretation. He needs to clarify what he meant. It is not obvious from the address how he intended it to be applied. My guess is he was aiming at social media and other forums, but that simply isn't all that clear. A clarification of intent would help his case.
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Re: Fascinating Patterson Comment

Postby Sandy » Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:24 am

Dave Roberts wrote:Having listened to the address, Patterson left a lot of his statements open to interpretation. He needs to clarify what he meant. It is not obvious from the address how he intended it to be applied. My guess is he was aiming at social media and other forums, but that simply isn't all that clear. A clarification of intent would help his case.


On the contrary, Patterson's address was a chapel sermon aimed at seminary students. It's not his responsibility to clarify his remarks for a wider audience. Most of Patterson's chapel addresses deal with practical church matters, are instructional and advisory, and in that context and setting, I think would be pretty easy for his primary listeners to discern that he was speaking about the kind of church conflict and problems that are common to most congregations, and he wasn't addressing "abuse" in the context that Christa Brown addresses it.

Patterson is a prolific writer and speaker, and it shouldn't be a difficult job for a good journalist to peruse his writings and statements and figure out where he stands on clergy abuse in the SBC, in the church in general, and whether his position on taking church conflict into the secular arena would extend to clergy sexual abuse. But it seems to be an impossible task for ABP. Patterson doesn't have to "help his case," he doesn't have a "case" here. He preached in chapel, and ABP jumped on his remarks to be critical. They're the ones who have to come up with the evidence to make their case, and so far, I don't see anything here except a scatter-shot approach that is falling miserably on its face and making ABP look very unprofessional and amateurish.

William Thornton wrote:A better foil would be any of the several cases where due to the autonomy of the local church and the lack of any central SBC sex abuse registry, SBC clergy have freely moved from church-to-church in ministry positions while having a background but not a conviction of sex abuse.


Actually, in the context of Patterson's address, if churches did what he suggests they should do, while that might not create a central sex abuse registry in the SBC, it would involve honest communication from church to church. Nor would creation of a central abuse registry in the SBC be a violation of anything that Patterson said in his address. Nothing Patterson said is in conflict with anything Christa Brown has advocated.

Does CBF have a central clergy sex abuse registry? If ABP is such an excellent source on the issue, shouldn't they have prompted CBF to become pro-active in this area? Maybe they need to get their ducks in a row before badmouthing Patterson and the SBC. But I sure don't expect that to happen.
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Re: Fascinating Patterson Comment

Postby William Thornton » Tue Oct 29, 2013 11:17 am

So far as I am aware, the CBF does not have their own clergy sex abuse register although the Alabama CBF does have one for their state. The Alabama CBF is the only state that has a procedure for churches reporting alleged abuse by an Alabama CBF minister. I haven't checked all the states with CBF organizations.

ABP has done about all they can to be proactive on this issue. It's up to the various state and national entities to take action.
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