Matt Chandler: Let Us Reconcile You To Your Child Porn Viewing Ex, Or You’re Excommunicated

Matt Chandler: Let Us Reconcile You To Your Child Porn Viewing Ex, Or You’re Excommunicated May 27, 2015

So, this one pisses me off.  It pisses me off because it shows, clearly, the oppressiveness of the concept of Christian grace.

People think that “grace” is the most wonderful concept in Christendom.  But it’s the most offensive, in my opinion, because it is a tool the church can use to give you no recourse against people who have profoundly hurt you.  It is a way the church can say you HAVE to be OK with something someone did that was profoundly offensive.  Most common — among far right movements like Quiverfull and within the Catholic Church — it seems, is the forced forgiveness of child sexual abuse.

You think child sexual abuse is bad?  Get over it.  God forgave that person (especially if it is a man).  Move along; nothing to see here.  Oh, you’re not a Christian?  You’re LGBT?  Sorry, but the church is going to bear down on you, hard, and say that you’re an ugly-hearted degenerate who is unable to control his or her sexual desires around children, whether there is proof that you actually or more at risk for molesting children or not. Sorry, our magic wand of God’s grace isn’t bestowed to you, sinner.  But repent and say that our imaginary friend who loves you so much he wants to control every aspect of your life is the ruler of the universe, and we can use him to force people to be OK with whatever child you decide to sexually abuse.

And people deny this is true when it is right in front of our faces and has happened for years. Louis CK has a skit in which the Catholic Church is portrayed as an excuse for priests to “fuck little boys in the ass,” which has a strong ring of truth to it.

But you need to forgive.  They apologized, God’s grace and all that, so you need to forgive…as they turn around and judge those outside of their church as abominations.

Now, some people might thing this attitude is infuriating and break with the whole church altogether.  But that’s not allowed here.  No, no, no, no.  If the man is important to the church, you gotta forgive him.  Don’t be upset.

Well, fuck that shit.  I’m pissed off after reading this story, and I think all those concerned have every fucking right to be pissed off, and if you’re more fucking pissed off that I’m fucking pissed off than at the situation, fuck you for being part of the goddamn problem.

There’s this guy named Matt Chandler who lives right smack-dab in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, where I live.  He is the Pastor of this huge, contemporary megachurch called The Village Church.  And it’s nice, clean, and contemporary in feel, which is why it has over 10,000 members.

He’s also the author or co-author of several bestselling books that have high 4.5 to 5 star ratings on Amazon.  He’s kind of a big deal — and is a picture of a clean cut, fresh-looking pastor.

So, anyways, there’s this couple at the church Matt Chandler pastors whose names are Jordan Root and Karen Hinckley (formerly Root).  They aren’t just a side couple.  They’ve attended the church for three years.  For they even were sent on a missionary trip to Southeast Asia last August, which is a pretty heavy investment in the church and indicates a very strong connection to the people who attend the congregation.

According to Jordan Root’s former wife Karen Hinckley, Jordan Root was pretty well connected. In her words on May 21, 2015:

Jordan sought and gained access to a large number of children, many of whom represent some of the most vulnerable populations of children in our society. His ability to successfully manipulate others is evidenced by the complete trust that was placed in him by many parents, companies, churches, and organizations over the course of these years.

So he’s pretty well connected to children and the community (although The Village Church claims he never served the children there in any capacity).  And he had been viewing child pornography for years.

So the church and his wife found out about the child pornography in December, due to a confession by Jordan Root.

Which was smart.  Because Jordan Root knew how church worked, it seems.  He knew he’d be forgiven, it seems.  He may have also known that because the church said he was covered by God’s grace, it would force his wife to forgive him.

You don’t want to lose all your friends, do you Karen?  You don’t want to be isolated?  You don’t want people to stop inviting you over, to shun you in the Supermarket, to blacklist you from employment, do you? Then ignore that your husband, who has sought out hanging out with children for the years you’ve been married to him, has just brazenly — well, with an “apology” and “repentence” — went to the church and you and confessed to watching child sexual abuse for entertainment for years.

Get over it, Karen.  God did.  Because we said so.  But if you don’t, then God won’t forgive you, because we said so.

The upsetting thing is that God doesn’t even exist.  He doesn’t even bloody exist.  He’s just a tool to force Karen to stay married to her husband.   Can you imagine the marital counseling based on a nonexistent God?

…and be sure to be a good wife to him, Karen, as he “repents.”  As he seeks out more children to hang around. Say you love him, Karen. Have sex with him, Karen. Because we — I mean, our fucking imaginary friend we call “God” — has extended grace to him, Karen.  So what right do you have to say that’s not good enough, Karen?  What’s your spiritual problem, Karen?  Haven’t you done things just as bad, Karen?  Who are you to throw the first stone, Karen? Do you need more marriage counseling, Karen? You should be thankful, Karen, that he “repented” in front of the whole bloody church, Karen.  Don’t ask too many questions about the children of the past, Karen.  Trust God in this relationship.

Because God’s grace is sufficient to shut you up, Karen.  For the rest of your goddamn life, Karen.  Till death do you part, Karen, because that’s what marriage is.

And if you don’t, Karen, I’m afraid we’ll have to make an example of what happens to those who don’t recognize the grace of God to every woman watching.  It’s for their own good, Karen.

Yes, that’s what happened. Or, as The Village Church put it in Christianeze in a “private” email to members on May 25, 2015 (this is the source of several other quotes):

There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1) and, therefore, no condemnation for Jordan. He has confessed his sin, and through the finished, redemptive work of Christ, Jordan is washed clean of all unrighteousness ( 1 John 1:9), met with forgiveness and granted fellowship with the body ( 2 Cor 2:5-8).  With that said, grace and love sometimes take the form of discipline and consequence (Hebrews 12:5-11reminds us that God’s intent for discipline, as a good and loving Father, is the restoration and holiness of His children. The road of discipline is difficult, but when walked faithfully, there is a good end to it.

What is this road?  The church later says that their hope was that “after an appropriate [apparently as determined by the church, not Karen] time of healing and repentence, the married couple would eventually be able to come back together for the sake of pursuing possible reconciliation.”  It then states:

While there MIGHT be situations that end in the dissolution of a marriage, we ALWAYS hope for the power of the gospel to bring about a story of forgiveness and reconciliation. [Emphasis added]

Might be?  How about “ARE”? ALWAYS hope for forgiveness and reconciliation?  That doesn’t seem fair to Karen wanting to leave.

In addition, although they were upset with Karen for seeking permanent separation from her husband, they themselves sought permanent separation from him in several ways.  In their words:

Restriction from Designated Facilities of The Village Church

While grace is present for Jordan, he cannot and will not have access to designated facilities at The Village for his safety and the safety of our church. Some of the specific security protocols related to The Village include:

o   He is restricted to attending only the Dallas campus.

o   He is not permitted to enter any children’s facilities at the Dallas campus.

o   He must be accompanied by an approved Covenant Member while at the Dallas campus.

o   He must check in with staff or security before services.

The email goes on to say that they have removed financial support from Jordan, and transferred it to Karen until August 2015.

But he is not undergoing “church discipline” — by which it means, they seem, he is not going through a process of excommunication — because, basically, he seems genuinely sorry.  Instead, he is going through a “season of intentional pastoral care.”

The church, with its double standard, tried to get Karen to work with them.  But Karen was done.  It seemed to her (gee, where did she get the idea?) that her concerns were kinda swept under the rug.  In her words:

The inclination towards minimization and secrecy that the pastors and elders of The Village Church have displayed is inexcusable. And the spiritual abuse I have experienced at their hands is unacceptable from those who would represent Jesus Christ. Jesus cares deeply for the vulnerable and the voiceless. He speaks strongly against those who would victimize children, and he went toe-to-toe with the religious bullies of his day who “tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.” (Matthew 23) The treatment of Jordan as the victim and me as the perpetrator by the leadership of the church is an appalling reversal that evidences priorities that are not in line with the Word of God.

I’m not a Christian, but it seems to me that it’s pretty clear that this is bullshit.  It’s inexcusable.  And it’s plenty reason to annul a marriage.  you kidding me?

And for this rather respectable attitude, the church declared that although Jordan was not undergoing a process of what basically amounts to excommunication, Karen’s refusal to work with The Village Church’s plan for her (even after, they emphasize, they granted her “a gracious six-month leave”) and her former husband’s life was.

That’s right.  They excommunicated her.  Saying they recognized their  was “messy and difficult” (um, not really — she’s just done. Accept it), they said that they “believe the Lord is near to the brokenhearted and heals all wounds” (by their guidelines — she had six months to get over it already. Ugh). Furthermore, their “greatest hope is that Jordan and Karen will find restoration and hope in the Lord” (read: that we succeed in guilt-tripping and intimidating Karen to stay with Jordan for the rest of her life).  Finally, they say “the cross has the power to bring forgivenessand redemption to those who have committed the deepest of sins and to those who have been affected and wounded by those sins,” in a further act of manipulation.

And then, to add insult to injury, they end by asking the entire 10,000+ member church to pray for Karen and Jordan.

Ugh.  Could you imagine hearing “I’ll pray for you” from 10,000 people over this, in Karen’s situation?

Although this is all dressed up in Christianeze, they seem to know they fucked up, because at the end the email states they want to keep all the info in this in-house:

We also strongly urge that you would keep all details of this situation within our church body, specifically our Covenant Membership. Please do not forward or share this with anyone who is not a Covenant Member. If you are contacted by the media, we encourage you to refer back to the official public statement of The Village.

And the link, if you follow it, is a very generic statement that mentions nothing, specifically, about Jordan or Karen.

This is clearly an attempt to intimidate Karen into coming back into the “loving” church and “reconciling” with Jordan.  Jaw-dropping cruelty and misogyny dressed up as polite churchspeak.  And the power of 10,000 people to force a marriage to happen.  And the cult-like “don’t tell anyone” included.

Update:

As if this wasn’t enough, Karen recently indicated that several aspects of this story are a lie:

  • Not only did Jordan not voluntarily confess — he confessed after much prodding from his wife and after he erased all the evidence from his computer so the authorities would not book him. When pressed on whether he molested any children (he was attracted to children four and up, mainly, although he also had an attraction to infants occasionally), he said he masturbated to thoughts of the children at times, but said nothing more.  Karen was worried, after how hard it was to get him to confess to this (it took 3 weeks), that there might be more.
  • Karen tried to reconcile with Jordan for 52 days following his confession.
  • Jordan confessed privately to the all-male group of elders, who tried to keep the incident a secret and only publicly addressed it when it was publicly known.
  • The “financial support” being provided to Karen is neither asked for nor wanted by her, and it goes to the missions organization anyway.  It also suspiciously began being provided due to the fixing of a “clerical error” — a repair that suspiciously collided with the incident being on local news.
  • Karen states that in talking to the (rather authoritarian) church, she would not have been allowed to annul the marriage (she would have had to pursue a divorce or have stayed married).
  • The reason Jordan has been released from the mission program working with The Village Church, and the reason why The Village Church is having a hard time working things out with the mission program,  is that the mission program is uncomfortable with the lack of seriousness The Village Church is displaying in dealing with the situation.
  • The church indicated that they wanted Karen to “walk with” Jordan, implying that his sin was partially her fault.
  • The all-male elders told Karen not to separate her finances from Jordan.  When she objected, citing counsel of trusted friends and family, they said, “They are not your spiritual authority, we are. We are the most important voice at the table, and you need to wait until we decide how you should proceed” and told her to “let the church hold [her] hand and tell her what to do.”
  • After the above events, she resigned from the church.  The all-male group of elders called her in for a meeting, which she thought was not a safe situation, so she didn’t attend.
  • This is basically a case of them trying to “discipline” her when she is no longer attending the church.
  • The church told the congregation about Jordan’s being guilty of sin, but did not say what the sin was, and told the congregation to continue to pray for and emotionally and financially support them. Here, also, there was secrecy, as they told the congregation they should not ask questions as to what, exactly, was going on.  The church did as they were told, when if they had known they might have been more careful about having children around him.
  • The church told Karen that Jordan was not in need of any professional therapy whatsoever.

This is jaw dropping, to say the least…


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