On “Gossip”…and Pastor CJ?

January 16, 2012 in Sovereign Grace Ministries

I know the non-linear nature of the discussions here bugs some people.  We typically don’t stick with the topic of the original post for very long, and sometimes things can go very far afield.  On rare occasions, I will feel the need to step in and request that we drop a particular subject or take the conversation in another direction.

It’s not always pretty.  It’s not tidy.  And, like I said, it’s not linear.

But I find what goes on in the “Comments” to almost always be WAY more interesting than anything I write for posts.

Here are some thought-provoking reader contributions from the past few days:

“intheNICKoftime” said,

You know the old saying that if you tell yourself something enough you come to believe it.  Those SGM guys don’t just use the gossip and slander thing as a weapon to silence their opponents.  Those guys actually believe it!

That’s why they keep coming back to it.  They actually believe the gossip and slander has created this problem, and not that the problem is what generates gossip and slander.

I am not saying it is right…or even that they are playing with a full deck.  A schizophrenic hears real voices in his head.  WE know they aren’t there but the schizophrenic doesn’t.  To him it seems real.  The same is true for the  SGM guys.  Just because WE know that CJ did terrible things which caused lots of damaged people who talk about it, gossip if you will, that doesn’t mean the SGM guys see it that way.  They, like the schizophrenic, actually believe it is the gossiping and the complaints that don’t come through channels that are the basis of all the problems.  (Nor do they see that THEY are the reason there are no channels.  They didn’t make any channels for complaints, accidently or purposefully.)

So if you really want to understand SGM thinking, and why they won’t listen to “reason”, you need to understand they actually believe in that gossip stuff…down to their very core!  If you wonder why they keep hammering it and keep throwing that up as the source of the problems, they really really believe it is the real cause.  They really hear those voices in their heads!

Then “the leftovers” responded with this:

That was my observation as well while at Bristol SGM. I think the pastors really believed that when they told people who they should avoid, spread around details of people’s private lives, openly expressed their opinion about congregants etc, they thought they were just carrying out their God-given duty BUT, if anybody in the congregation talked about them: GOSSIP, SLANDER, BITTER and so on.

It created such an environment of intense fear and oppression.

I heard that quite a lot of the members still going there read here but I am certain not one of them has dared to confront the pastors about stuff on here. They know the deal: speak up and you’re written off for good.

“Former CLCer” added,

The gossip and slander thing is crazy.  For example, in the church I attended up until last year, the pastor was the main offender.  Telling him your business was like broadcasting it online.  One guy was in drug rehab and everyone in the church knew it, though they weren’t supposed to.  He even told certain people my age!?  But the second I questioned him or called him on this, I was gone.

“the leftovers” added,

Similar thing happened at Bristol Grace church but it was over adultery. I can’t believe the person involved could possibly have wanted the entire congregation to know.

Someone else I knew while there (who has also moved on)shared some very personal family stuff with the pastor. They found out that had travelled too.

You would think that a pastor would be so aware of the enormous responsibility involved with their calling (job) and that they cannot tell anybody things shared in confidence.

I felt that the lack of confidentiality was a reflection of how superior they felt to the rest of the congregation. And I don’t think they will change because people were too afraid to confront them.

And then “Muckraker” said,

FormerCLC and Leftovers: The one taboo topic never spread by gossip was child sex abuse. THAT was usually hushed up! Why is that?

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On another topic, “Oswald” wrote,

From ‘somewhereintime’ over at Refuge – “Unsubstantiated rumor from reliable source. CJ to start his own SGM church. Will leave SGM leadership.

Anyone else hear this?”

I responded with this:

Oswald,

That rumor dovetails very well with what CJ himself said back in November about his supposed area of giftedness:

I think I have neglected my call to preach.  I think I have accepted a role that is more managerial and quite obviously I am not a manager.  And I also think I am a pastor.  That is what I think I am.  I’m a pastor.  And over the last 8 years I have become detached from serving a particular local church.  I hope that changes soon.  It is my intention to change that soon.

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What do y’all think?  Will we be introduced anew to “Pastor CJ” in the near future?