Hipster Megachurch in Shambles Over Pastor’s Alleged Affair by Emily Shugerman

Hipster Megachurch in Shambles Over Pastor’s Alleged Affair by Emily Shugerman

I actually blogged about this before, (Link): here.

If I am understanding the reportage correctly, this news story involves a married man who had an affair with a married woman. It’s so important to mention this, because a lot of people – I’d say maybe both in and out of the Christian culture – assume that SINLGE (un-married) adults “hit on” married people and entice them into affairs.

I’m an unmarried adult who is tired of that odious trope.

I periodically see news items about married people who have affairs with other married people, or married people who “hit on” single adults.

Also, if you’re a single Christian, and if you’re exposed to Christian teaching about dating and marriage which suggests that you have to achieve some kind of perfection, level of godliness, or whatever, before God will allow you to get married (I saw this sort of teaching from Christians in the 1980s and 1990s), news stories like this one demonstrates that no, God does not with-hold spouses from imperfect, flawed people.

If God permitted this clown to get married – this church pastor who committed adultery – he won’t withhold a spouse from you.

Also, marriage, contrary to what the “marriage pushers” in Christianity promote, does not always, or necessarily, make a person more ethical, loving, or responsible. If it did, this pastor douche would not have strayed from his wife, and the douche-ette he slept with would not have slept around on her spouse. But they both did. Which means, marriage did not magically conform them to some higher standard.

(Link): Hipster Megachurch in Shambles Over Pastor’s Alleged Affair

The drama has unfolded like a soap opera, with rumors, a parade of employee exits, and a suggestive videotape.

by Emily Shugerman

When volunteers at Venue Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee, arrived at their pastor’s house last November, they were hoping to raise his spirits with a surprise visit.

Instead they got a shock: Pastor Tavner Smith was alone with a female church employee—she in a towel, he in his boxers.

The charismatic 41-year-old hurriedly explained that the two of them had been making chili and hot dogs and gotten food on their clothes, according to one volunteer who was present.

But, as the volunteer put it, “I don’t think none of us was that dumb.”

“If she dropped chili on her clothes, why are you in your boxers?” she recalled thinking. “Was y’all like, throwing chili at each other?”

For the volunteer, the scene confirmed something she had long suspected—that Smith, then married with three children, was secretly carrying on an affair with the employee, who was married to another church staffer.

Continue reading “Hipster Megachurch in Shambles Over Pastor’s Alleged Affair by Emily Shugerman”

Lundy Bancroft on Narcissists vs Abusers for The Audacious Life podcast

Lundy Bancroft on Narcissists vs Abusers for The Audacious Life podcast

The first half to two thirds of this video of what the speakers describe, how they describe the typical views of abusive men, is reminiscent of some Christian Gender Complementarians and their views, and what some complementarian adherents believe.

Especially if you are a Christian single woman who’s wanting to marry AND in particular you were raised by Christian parents or in a church that taught traditional gender roles (perhaps under the phrase or label of “gender complementarianism“) please pay special attention to the video below.

Under “gender complementarian” teachings (and just mainstream, evangelical or Baptist and Christian dating advice), Christian women have been taught to accept all sorts of toxic teachings and to accept on-going mistreatment from a spouse (and from other people in their lives).

Chances are good that if you’re a single Christian woman who was brought up to believe in gender complementarian teachings that you were heavily encouraged to adopt people pleasing or codependent behaviors, beliefs, and attitudes, which will make you attractive to abusers and people with personality disorders (many of whom can be abusive).

Additionally, if you do marry an abusive person (whether he is emotionally, sexually, verbally, or physically abusive) the majority of Christian churches and denominations teach women that divorce is not an option, not even in cases of abuse.

You (if you’re an abused wife asking a Christian for advice or help in regards to your marriage) will usually be told just to “submit more,” give your spouse more sex, and to pray about it – but none of those methods will change your spouse or cause him to stop abusing you.

There is nothing you can say or do that will get your husband to stop abusing you – (Link): nor is it your responsibility to try to fix or change your spouse in the first place.

You have to go into a marriage to a self professing Christian man knowing before-hand  that if your spouse turns abusive, that you must eventually divorce the guy, and you most likely won’t get any help or encouragement in that area from your church, church group, church friends, or pastor.

Most churches and pastors will shame, pressure, and guilt trip an abused wife to stay in the abusive marriage at all costs, because they value the institution of marriage above the safety and mental health of the abused wife.

If you’re a Christian woman in an abusive marriage, your church, church friends, and your preacher will never, ever give you permission to divorce – but you don’t need their permission or approval – you just need your own. It’s your life, not theirs.

(Link – to video on You Tube): Lundy Bancroft on Narcissists vs Abusers for The Audacious Life podcast

Excerpts, video description (from text below the video on the You Tube page):

I’m happy to interview Lundy Bancroft, author, and expert on male abuse behaviors and tactics.

Lundy has 30 years experience working in the field of abuse. His book “Why Does He Do That” is a one of the first I read and it helped tremendously.

Lundy is a lifelong advocate for the safety of women and children and it shines through in his books. You may be wondering whether you’re in a relationship with a Narcissist or an Abuser or someone who’s both.

Continue reading “Lundy Bancroft on Narcissists vs Abusers for The Audacious Life podcast”

Staffers Quit Venue Church After Confronting Pastor With Allegations of Affair, Misconduct by L. Blair

Staffers Quit Venue Church After Confronting Pastor With Allegations of Affair, Misconduct

(Link): Staffers Quit Venue Church After Confronting Pastor With Allegations of Affair, Misconduct

Dec 23, 2021
by Leonardo Blair

At least eight employees of Venue Church, a fast-growing congregation based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, have reportedly quit their jobs over alleged misconduct by Pastor Tavner Smith, who is allegedly shown kissing a woman who is not his wife in a video that recently surfaced online.

Last Friday afternoon, staff and volunteers confronted Smith about the video recorded in North Georgia, The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported.

Two former employees and four volunteers or members previously connected to the church told the newspaper that the eight employees quit after confronting the pastor about a rumored affair with a church employee.

Continue reading “Staffers Quit Venue Church After Confronting Pastor With Allegations of Affair, Misconduct by L. Blair”

Rebuttal to, Or Observations About, the Kerwin Holmes Jr. Editorial “On Finding ‘The One:’ Another Correction on Christian Teaching Concerning Romance”

Rebuttal to, Or Observations About, the Kerwin Holmes Jr. Editorial “On Finding ‘The One:’ Another Correction on Christian Teaching Concerning Romance”

The following post has been edited after publication to fix typing mistakes or to add more commentary.


I will be commenting on this editorial about singleness and marriage on The Christian Post:

(Link): On finding ‘the one:’ Another correction on Christian teaching concerning romance by Kerwin Holmes Jr

That post as linked to on The Christian Post’s Facebook page:

(Link): On Finding The One – post on Facebook Page

This guy’s editorial is written in an odd way, so I’m having to go back and re-read it to just to try and comprehend some of the points he’s making.

Maybe I am totally wrong about this, but my impression is that Holmes is either in his 20s at this time, or in his 30s.
(Wait until he’s in his 40s or older and STILL single.  If Holmes still has not married by age 40 or older, his views on these matters will likely shift in time, thanks to good old life experience.) kermitTyping

Also distracting: his first name, Kerwin, reminds me of Kermit the Frog, so I unintentionally keep visualizing Kermit sitting at a keyboard typing this editorial I am reading. (That is not intended to be an ad hominem, just a random aside.)

At the beginning of Holmes’ editorial, he tells readers to view or read dating advice articles or videos by Christian pastors or personalities that he agrees with, such as the works by Reformed pastors or personalities in general and Voddie Baucham in particular .

Let me stop him right there.

I spent years following Christian dating advice (stuff I read or heard in the 1980s and 1990s, advice by and from standard, run- of- the- mill conservative Baptist or evangelical Christians), and none of that smelly, stupid advice ever actually helped me to marry, though I had wanted to be married for many years (I am currently in my 50s and still single). 

As a matter of fact, a lot of Christian dating advice, even the advice by conservative Christians, is counter-productive and actually plays a role in keeping single adults single (this includes, and is not limited to, the “be equally yoked” rule).

Continue reading “Rebuttal to, Or Observations About, the Kerwin Holmes Jr. Editorial “On Finding ‘The One:’ Another Correction on Christian Teaching Concerning Romance””

Convicted Sex Offender on the Run for 20 Years Found Living New Life as Pastor, or “Musical Minister,” in Alabama

Convicted Sex Offender on the Run for 20 Years Found Living New Life as Pastor, or “Musical Minister,” in Alabama

My parents used to tell me as I was growing up that church is a better place for single adults who’d like to marry to go “spouse-hunting” than other places, especially bars or night clubs.

I can see how maybe that was true in the past, but these days, I’m not so sure.

I don’t know or care if this bogus, sex offending pastor or minister mentioned was a “true” Christian or not; the point is, a lot of his church mates assumed he was a real-deal Christian.

So, could you imagine if you are a single, Christian woman, and he was single, you walk into this guy’s church, and you may just assume this guy is safe to date or marry?

Especially for those of you single, Christian ladies who are way too beholden to the “equally yoked” teaching.

If you’re a single, Christian woman who’d like to be married one day, you really need to get rid of the “equally yoked” teaching in regards to whom you choose to date or marry, as it will increase your dating odds if you get rid of following that rule.

If you insist on limiting yourself to dating only self-professed Christian men, you could end up dating or marrying a self-professing Christian man who by all appearances seems to be a devout Christian but who ends up being a child rapist, like the pastor in this news story below.

You may as well ditch that dippy, stupid rule and judge men by their behavior, not by what religion they claim to follow.

(Link): Fugitive sex offender caught working at Alabama church after 20 years on the run

A convicted sex offender who spent 20 years on the lam was busted in Alabama — where he’d been working at a church for a decade, authorities said.

Larry Albert Flake, 75, was nabbed Friday in Birmingham, where FBI officials said he was living under an assumed name, Larry White, and was known to locals as Rev. White, FBI spokesman Paul Daymond told AL.com.

Officials at the Evergreen True House of Prayer Missionary Baptist Church told the outlet Flake was a minister of music and not a pastor.

Continue reading “Convicted Sex Offender on the Run for 20 Years Found Living New Life as Pastor, or “Musical Minister,” in Alabama”

Pastor Tells Men: “The Best Person to Rape is Your Wife” by Sarah Einselen

Pastor Tells Men: “The Best Person to Rape is Your Wife” by Sarah Einselen

(Update Below)

Another indication of why single, Christian women especially should never, ever take any type of dating advice by Christians…
Because if Christian pastors are teaching it’s acceptable for married men to rape their wives, you can feel sure in assuming such men and their churches or denominations won’t have YOUR best interests at heart if you are a single woman. 

You – if you are a woman, whether you are married or single – need to look out for you and not expect to get loving, wise counsel from such sexist douche waffles, like this male pastor, who always prioritize the feelings and needs of men above that of women.

Contrary to what this guy is teaching, yes ladies, you are your own; you have a right to have boundaries. Here we go again with patriarchal, complementarian Christian men assuming that Codependent relationship habits for women are “biblical,” though the God of the Bible frowns on Codependent behavior in EITHER biological sex (men or women).

Also, the “equally yoked” rule is bunk. If you’re a single, Christian woman, don’t limit yourself to only dating Christian men – because some of these self-professing Christian men are dirt bags who have no regard for women; you’d be better off dating and marrying an ethical, loving NON-Christian man than a dirt-bag Christian one who thinks it’s acceptable for a husband to rape his own wife.

(Link): Pastor Tells Men: “The Best Person to Rape is Your Wife” by Sarah Einselen

Nov 22, 2021

A New York pastor recently told men in a video clip posted on YouTube that “the best person to rape is your wife.”

The pastor, Dr. Burnett L. Robinson, is senior pastor of (Link): Grand Concourse Seventh-Day Adventist Temple in New York City. And in the clip, Robinson urges womento submit to their husbands and tells them, “In this matter of submission, I want you to know up front, ladies, that once you get married, you are no longer your own. You are your husband’s!”

Robinson then expresses dismay that a woman can sue her husband for rape and states, “I would say to you, gentlemen, the best person to rape is your wife.”

The video was posted by Sarah McDugal, an advocate and abuse recovery coach.

(link to You Tube video: Pastor Promotes Rape & Abuse from the Pulpit)

But the doctrine he preached is common in some fundamentalist evangelical circles, too.

Continue reading “Pastor Tells Men: “The Best Person to Rape is Your Wife” by Sarah Einselen”

Rampant Sexual Abuse of Women, and Its Cover Up, at Hope Community Church, Gives Single Christians Another Reason to Be Leery of the Be Equally Yoked Rule or Looking for a Spouse at a Church

Rampant Sexual Abuse of Women, and Its Cover Up, at Hope Community Church, Gives Single Christians Another Reason to Be Leery of the Be Equally Yoked Rule or Looking for a Spouse at a Church

The following article needs to be read in full, because, among other things, one learns that the church staff of the church discussed victim-blamed a teen-aged girl for wearing shorts as the reason as to why a male hired by the church sexually assaulted her.

What I wanted to focus on in this article, however, were the comments the single women made about this church.

Remember as you are reading this, that many Christians will advise you, if you are a single woman who’d like to marry, to try finding “husband material” at your local church.

Also remember as you read this, that a lot of Christians still push the spinster-making teaching of “be equally yoked” in regards to dating or marriage. (It’s a Christian view that holds that a Christian single should not date or marry any Non-Christians.)

(Link): Women Came to Hope Community Church Looking for Fellowship and Healing. Disrespectful Behavior from Church Leaders Drove Them to Leave.

Excerpts:

Feb 10, 2021
by Katie Jane Fernelius

…As members of Hope Community Church streamed in for services, the protesters held signs confronting Hope’s leadership on its record of handling sexual abuse and assault.

Over the last few months, the INDY has worked to vet these allegations and the church’s response to them.

Unfortunately, church leaders, including founder and lead pastor Mike Lee, have not responded to multiple inquiries, effectively stonewalling the INDY’s reporting around a fraught topic.

Sara Dye, who joined the megachurch looking for healing after she was raped by a stranger and went through a divorce, says she was assaulted by a member of the church’s worship team.

Continue reading “Rampant Sexual Abuse of Women, and Its Cover Up, at Hope Community Church, Gives Single Christians Another Reason to Be Leery of the Be Equally Yoked Rule or Looking for a Spouse at a Church”

Candace Cameron Bure Says It’s ‘Not Too Much’ to Ask That Her Adult Kids Date People Who Love Jesus

Candace Cameron Bure Says It’s ‘Not Too Much’ to Ask That Her Adult Kids Date People Who Love Jesus

I am going to try to be nice about this. This is a topic that can set me off, and I can get mouthy, but my impression of Mrs. Cameron-Bure is that she sincerely means well and actually tries to live out the Christian faith consistently, which I respect.

So I will try to keep the tone of this respectful and not get too… how do the kids say it today, “salty.” I’ll try to keep sarcasm out of this.

I will paste in some excerpts from the page and below those, offer some of my thoughts.

(Link): Candace Cameron Bure says it’s ‘not too much’ to ask that her adult kids date people who love Jesus

Excerpts:

By Jeannie Ortega Law, Christian Post Reporter

Hollywood actress Candace Cameron Bure recently revealed that she has one specific desire concerning the people her children date, and it’s that they love Jesus.

The “Fuller House” star told Us Weekly that she has asked her three adult children, Natasha, 22, Lev, 21, and Maksim, 19, all of whom are actively dating, to bring home someone who’s Christian.

“When it comes down to it, I just want [their significant others] to love Jesus the way I love Jesus,” Bure shared in her video interview.

Continue reading “Candace Cameron Bure Says It’s ‘Not Too Much’ to Ask That Her Adult Kids Date People Who Love Jesus”

Church Director, Seminary Student Set to Wed in November Arrested for Child Pornography

Church Director, Seminary Student Set to Wed in November Arrested for Child Pornography

No, the “equally yoked” rule so many Christians like to cram down the throats of singles is of no import – another example further below in this post.

There are a lot of men out there, who appear to be genuine Christians (whether they are actually Christian or not is immaterial to single Christian women who find them on dating sites and so on), who are actually great big perverts.

It would be better for a single Christian woman who desires marriage to marry a loving, non-perverted atheist (or Hindu or Druid or whatever)
than to marry an abusive or perverted man who believes in, and who confesses, Jesus as his savior, and who regularly attends church and does all the other things that appear to be the marks of an actual Christian to most other believers.

Disclaimer for the annoying female Christians who like to bray on my blog when I mention all this:
“But what about all the bad atheist men out there??!! Don’t tell me that all non-Christian men are wonderful!”

I am well aware of the fact that Non-Christian men can be pigs and horrible, too.

My view does not have to contain the premise that ALL atheists and other flavors of Non-Christians are angelic and marriage-material. That is not my belief nor my point.

My point is that one limiting one’s self to any one group of men based on religious criteria (whether Mormon only, Christian only, atheist only, ‘whatever’ only) is needlessly limiting one’s dating pool.

Let this also be a lesson that contra to what so many Christians teach about dating and marriage, that one does not have to be perfect in any way to “deserve” a spouse, or to be “worthy” of a spouse.

If God is permitting deviants like the sicko in the news story below to become engaged to be married – a nasty ass pedophile of all things! – there’s absolutely no reason to adhere to a false theology that God has special, stricter rules for “permitting” a non-pedophile adult single to become engaged.

I mean, please! As though God is more lax and forgiving towards a child- diddler than a normal person? Get bent.

But so much of the Christian dating advice, the “how to get married” advice I saw and heard from Christians (in person or read in books or on blogs) is predicated on this faulty type of thinking.

There are a lot of hurtful, false, and stupid things Christians teach and believe about singleness, dating, and marriage.

(Link): NOBTS student dismissed after arrest on child pornography charges

NEW ORLEANS (BP) – A student at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS) was arrested today (May 13) on child pornography charges. Andrew Shiira was being held at the Orleans Parish Prison on 10 counts of pornography involving juveniles.

(Link): Church Director, Seminary Student Set to Wed in November Arrested for Child Pornography

by L. Blair,
May 2021

Andrew Shiira, once the director of worship planning at Lake Shore Church, was getting ready to graduate from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary on Saturday.

A few months later in November, he was expected to move on to wedded bliss with his fiancée, but his life was upended Thursday when he was arrested on 10 counts of child pornography.

Continue reading “Church Director, Seminary Student Set to Wed in November Arrested for Child Pornography”

Thoughts Regarding ‘Crisis in the Christian Church: A Lack of Young, Single Men’ Essay by S. Green

Thoughts Regarding ‘Crisis in the Christian Church: A Lack of Young, Single Men’ Essay by S. Green

I will excerpt this essay from The Christian Post, which was published about a month ago, then offer my thoughts.

I will start out by saying it’s not just a lack of YOUNG men in the church, but a lack of single men of ANY age at churches that is a problem for any Christian single woman who expected to be able to find a marital partner at a church.

I remain single past my 30s and 40s. I had wanted to be married, I was taught by Christian culture and my parents that if I was just a good Christian person, prayed, and trusted in God, that I would be “sent” a Christian spouse, and that I could likely expect to meet this spouse, whoever he was, at a church.

So, over the years, in my 20s and older, I would pop into the occasional church every so often. However, any time I attended,  there were never any single men of my age, once I got into my mid or late 20s, my 30s, and my 40s.

It’s not just women in their 20s who’d like to marry, it’s women in their 30s and on up age-wise who’d like to marry. Why oh why do Christians always ignore them? It’s not fair or okay.

Never, ever focus solely on 20-something singles.

With that, here is the article – below the article, I will offer my observations:

(Link): Crisis in the Christian Church: A lack of young, single men

Excerpts:

By Solomon Green, March 4, 2021

….Churches are increasingly becoming a (Link): very unpopular [PDF document] place to meet a future wife or husband since the 1940s. The truth is, Christian Culture is dying.

…new families cannot be formed when there is a barrier of severe gender imbalance.  According to (Link): Lyman Stone’s study, a typical Sunday service has 71 eligible men to 100 eligible women.

This is an enormous problem within the Body of Christ that isn’t getting any better or going to fix itself.

New men aren’t just going to walk into churches. So how do churches fix this? Well, here are three steps to help solve the problem.

Step One: Have more Sunday sermons focused on careers, sex, and marriage. These topics are of great importance, yet are hardly covered from the pulpit …

Continue reading “Thoughts Regarding ‘Crisis in the Christian Church: A Lack of Young, Single Men’ Essay by S. Green”

Awful Early-Marriage Promoting Editorial, ‘The Future of Christian Marriage,’ from The Christian Post that Actually Cites Deviant Mark Regnerus (December 2020)

Awful Early-Marriage Promoting Editorial, ‘The Future of Christian Marriage,’ from The Christian Post that Actually Cites Deviant Mark Regnerus (December 2020)

Below: another article (this time from The Christian Post) seemingly advocating for the good ol’ days when, supposedly, most women got married by the age of 21 and popped out 10 kids apiece and lamenting at how folks just aren’t quite into marriage now as much as they used to be.

Such articles inadvertently suggest that being single and/or childless are somehow “wrong,” immoral, dangerous for society, or “second best.” They are sometimes (Link): intentionally or inadvertently singles-shaming.

Seems that about once a year, every year, some secular conservative or Christian group or person releases some kind of editorial bemoaning delayed marriage.

You can count on these things appearing regularly. Just like death and taxes, or the sun rising in the east tomorrow.

Continue reading “Awful Early-Marriage Promoting Editorial, ‘The Future of Christian Marriage,’ from The Christian Post that Actually Cites Deviant Mark Regnerus (December 2020)”

Hillsong Church Rife with ‘Inappropriate’ Sex, Members Claimed

Hillsong Church Rife with ‘Inappropriate’ Sex, Members Claimed

As someone who is not totally opposed to the idea of churches setting up social functions so that single adults may meet other single people (in the quest to get married), I’ve never promoted, nor do I defend, any church that actually devolves into a seedy sex racket, where members are going about willy nilly sleeping with each other, and I sure do not approve of sexual harassment.

But I don’t want to see Christians or churches out there pointing to garbage like this news story at Hillsong (Link): to excuse NOT LIFTING A FINGER  to help single adults get married – at least the ones who’d like and appreciate the help.

But what is reported here is not acceptable – and it makes you really question that “be equally yoked” rule so many Christians cram down the throats of singles: if so many of the (usually MARRIED) Christian men at these churches are sexual predators, why do some Christians tell single Christian women that the best, safest place to “husband hunt” is at their local church?

(Link): Hillsong church was a ‘breeding ground’ for inappropriate sex and leaders ‘sent nudes to female volunteers while sleeping around’, claim whistleblowers after disgraced leader’s multiple affairs were exposed

(Link): Hillsong Church Rife with ‘Inappropriate’ Sex, Members Claimed

by Mara Siegler and O. Coleman
December 17, 2020

Hillsong staffers used the church like a seedy dating service, “sleeping around” with volunteers and asking them to send nude pictures — according to a group of volunteers who allegedly complained about the situation. Continue reading “Hillsong Church Rife with ‘Inappropriate’ Sex, Members Claimed”