Pastorboy Embarrasses Minnesota (Again)

photo by David Joles, Star Tribune

My long-time nemesis, John “Pastorboy” Chisham, made the news here in the north land for out-assholing free-Bible-guy Brian Johnson at Twin Cities Pride last weekend.

Chisham and I used to be able to chat personably and agree-to-disagree, as you can see in the video below.  He had garnered a reputation as a tough-but-fair member of the “online discernmentalist mafia.” He is also a clergyperson in good standing in the Christian and Missionary Alliance, a denomination that I think would be embarrassed by his antics.

But as time has elapsed, Chisham has spun out of control.  He’s written things online that are patently untrue and he’s crossed the line from civil public disagreement to offensive personal attacks.  His weekend stunt at Pride was only his most recent attempt to garner attention.  Last fall, he put out an online call for like-minded preachers to join him outside of the JoPa event, Christianity21 — at which 21 women preachers were highlighted — to proclaim 21 alternative sermons.  Not one person joined him.  Instead, he stood behind a shrub and recited Bible verses, and, as far as I could tell, not one participant at Christianity21 even knew he was there.

I realize that bringing attention to him here is a double-edged sword.  Like kicking an hornets’ nest, I imagine that he will temporarily increase his attacks on me now.  So be it.

Because the moral of the story comes at the end of this paragraph in the StarTribune story:

Another protester at Saturday’s event, John Chisham of Marshall, Minn., attracted far more attention than the Johnsons as he stood on a box with a sign that read “You are an abomination to God, You justify the wicked,” preaching to a jeering crowd. Chisham attracted shouts of disapproval and arguments from passersby. Eventually, Pride attendees stood in front of him with signs that read, “Standing on the Side of Love.”

Yes, that seems like the best possible response.

  • Tom

    I assume that your comment that Chisham “out-assholed” Johnson leads me to believe that you think Johnson was/is an asshole. I disagree. According to the link you provided, Johnson was low key and completely in his rights both legally and spiritually to pass out Bibles. Unfortunately, the media blew it all out of proportion when Twin Cities Pride made the tactical error of taking Johnson to court over it. On the other hand, you are right about Chisham, but don’t lump him with Johnson.

  • http://sweetbiandbi.wordpress.com Rachel

    Tom: as one who has endured YEARS of Johnson’s behavior and belligerence, let me state clearly and for the record, I think Tony’s language is not far off. Yes, the media did blow it out of proportion, but having to endure his hate speach year after year, I am glad someone is finally speaking up to say NO MORE. Have you witnessed him in person at Pride? Until you have, I hope you will reconsider his assholery from one who has. And indeed – love is the only rational response.

  • http://tonyj.net Tony Jones

    Tom and Rachel,

    Thanks for the reality check. I have never seen Johnson in person — I am making assumptions about his behavior based on his beliefs, which is not necessarily fair. And I agree that Pride blew it by trying to get him banned.

    However, I also trust Rachel’s eyewitness accounts of Johnson’s assholery (which is an awesome word, BTW).

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  • http://ryanguard.net ryan guard

    Why can’t we be friends, why can’t we be friends, why can’t…

    How has the picketing approach survived? How does someone see a picture like the one you posted and say, “You know what… that’s a pretty great idea!”. Does anyone know anyone that has ever benefited from this sort of thing?

  • http://missional.ca Jamie Arpin-Ricci

    Ryan, the answer to your question is the picture itself. As long as it gets press (and it does) that will be enough for people to do it. Effective in making change? No, but effective in getting put in the lime light. sigh…

  • Andy D

    Let’s be honest and admit that the only problem people seem to have with John Chisham and the like is the combination of his views with his protesting. People picket and hold rallies and strikes for every sort of perspective (anti-war, civil rights, anti-everything) and we champion this as freedom of expression. But when a Christian who believes homosexual lifestyles are a sin uses this method you label them bigots and other belligerent words. Tony, you need to be more consistent. Not everyone who disagrees with your theology is a bigot; to insist on using this word is to beg to question.

    • http://tonyj.net Tony Jones

      Andy,

      Your comment could not be further off the mark. Just last week I posted against Lavender Magazine for outing an anti-gay preacher. Bigotry knows no ideology. I’m happy to chastise those on either end of the theological spectrum who are bigots. And I’m happy to champion those with whom I disagree when they civilly and christocentrically discourse.

  • http://novalogos.net/heather Heather

    Sigh. As someone who was raised in and spent 30 years of my life in the Christian and Missionary Alliance, yes, I’m embarressed by his antics. We’re a quiet denomination. Actually, is it even an official denomination in the US? It started off over 100 years ago as a group that got together to discuss missions as that was its founder (AB Simpson’s) passion. It isn’t known for controversy and outrageous stunts like his.

  • http://www.stupidchurchpeople.com Steve Chastain

    Christocentrically and Assholery in the same post. Sweet!

  • http://dariusteichroew.blogspot.com Darius

    The prophet Elijah was equally alone in speaking against and mocking the false gods of his day… Chisham should take heart in that.**

    **I don’t know the extent of Chisham’s behavior or words, so perhaps he’s going beyond the line of decency. I’m merely pointing out that being a lone voice amongst evil can be a good sign… or at least speak against the ad populum argument that Tony seems to subscribe to.

  • http://www.randybuist.com Randy buist

    Darius… I’m wondering if the prophet Micah was also alone and standing with the ad populum when he wrote: “What does the Lord require of you? To do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”

    When Jesus hung with the whores, he was always kind. Was that also joining in the ad populum of his day? Or is kindness God’s way of doing things?

    Somehow, much of the evangelical church has cashed in their kindness for being right. Perhaps the real ad populum of the day belongs to a lot of Christians who have forsaken the ways of the kingdom for…

    Grace & Peace.

  • Tom

    Tony and Rachel,

    No, I haven’t seen Johnson, and my only two sources are a media account and one person’s opinion, both which are probably biased. So I will choose to exercise grace towards a fellow Christian and give Johnson the benefit of the doubt.

  • http://www.stupidchurchpeople.com Steve

    “I’m merely pointing out that being a lone voice amongst evil can be a good sign”

    Evil is relative. Chisham’s behavior is evil from some peoples viewpoint.

  • http://www.csaproductions.com/blog/ Brendt Waters

    Glad to see you’re naming names, Tony. After all, it’s the person, not the issue, that’s important. Ingrid Schlueter would be so proud.

  • http://www.csaproductions.com/blog/ Brendt Waters

    “Evil is relative. Chisham’s behavior is evil from some peoples viewpoint.”

    I have very little doubt that Chisham behaved in an inappropriate manner, perhaps even an “evil” manner. But “some peoples viewpoint” has absolutely no relevance to this fact. Evil is not at all relative.


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