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GenerationCedarchip

Using "Membership Covenant" vs. Wife of Kiddie Porn Viewer

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GenerationCedarchip

Have you all seen this? I'm not very familiar with this megachurch in Dallas, but it appears fundie-lite when I reserach online. Perhaps some of our Texas FJ readers know more.

At any rate, it sounds like the church sent a missionary couple, Jordan and Karen Root, out into the mission field. Jordan later confesses to the sin of viewing child porn and seeks treatment. At some point, it appears, Karen asked the church to annul her marriage and let her go on being a missionary. This didn't fit with the church's plan and said church is now trying to discipline Karen for breaking her membership covenant.

I'll admit this story grabbed me because membership covenants and the use of same for guilting members into doing things and/or threatening members with ostracism/discipline was a real problem in my old fundie church back when I was still there. It took me years to learn how to have a healthy relationship with a body of believers in a church because of that stuff.

Here's the link (not breaking b/c not a fundie blog) http://www.scribd.com/doc/266531116/The ... ordan-Root

There is also some info on Wartburg Watch, and they have mentioned that a more detailed post will follow shortly: thewartburgwatch.com/2015/05/21/the-village-church-child-pornography-and-a-hero-makes-a-statement/

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imokit

Wow, good on her.

Here's a link to the documents detailing the harassment she received from them.

watchkeep.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/she-speaks-village-church-protects.html?m=1

Its a worrying commentary on fundamentalist attitudes to child abuse... :angry-banghead:

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Mischievous
nelliebelle1197

I would almost immediately think any church with a covenant is fundie, even if the outward appearances belie that. Something about that covenant doctrine smacks of deep fundie-ism to me.

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Idolatry

This church is a target of my parents' fundie crap. It's not fundie in the sense we use it at FJ.

The church's response actually sounds somewhat reasonable once I read it and they're paying her through August. I think there's more to this story.

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Mischievous
nelliebelle1197
This church is a target of my parents' fundie crap. It's not fundie in the sense we use it at FJ.

The church's response actually sounds somewhat reasonable once I read it and they're paying her through August. I think there's more to this story.

What do you mean by target? Your parents have been involved/taken in or are going after? Inquiring minds...

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Mango

It's always struck me as a SUPER obnoxious fundie light church- not fundie in the 'denim skirts and frumpers' sense but in the socially conservative-as-an-excuse-for-bigotry, help-only-the-deserving-poor, and primarily devoted to their own congregations' comfortable shiny subdivision lives and keeping any awareness of REAL need or REAL injustice in the world from sneaking in.

Don't know much about it beyond that, but could possibly be bribed with starbucks gift cards to go check it out and report back. (Am not masochistic enough to volunteer otherwise, that's a perfectly good sunday morning I could be fishing.)

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Idolatry

What do you mean by target? Your parents have been involved/taken in or are going after? Inquiring minds...

My parents' strain of fundie would call them worldly. That guy is very famous, as you might imagine with a church that size. It's also pretty hard to have an actual fundie church that big.

Some aspect of his theology and/or fame irrates fundies in ways I no longer care about. Maybe worldly nonsense like school and pants.

I still think the church's response, for an employee they are paying for, sounded reasonable.

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2xx1xy1JD
This church is a target of my parents' fundie crap. It's not fundie in the sense we use it at FJ.

The church's response actually sounds somewhat reasonable once I read it and they're paying her through August. I think there's more to this story.

I read through the link to the church's response. How on earth is it "somewhat reasonable"? He is the one who was caught viewing child porn, yet she is the one in church discipline because he went through the motions of saying he was sorry while she wanted out of the marriage and didn't want to pursue reconciliation with someone who would view child porn. They made it crystal clear that the issue with her is that she wanted to immediately seek an annulment.

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GenerationCedarchip

I read through the link to the church's response. How on earth is it "somewhat reasonable"? He is the one who was caught viewing child porn, yet she is the one in church discipline because he went through the motions of saying he was sorry while she wanted out of the marriage and didn't want to pursue reconciliation with someone who would view child porn. They made it crystal clear that the issue with her is that she wanted to immediately seek an annulment.

I agree with this. Also, I didn't read this as the wife being a church employee. From what I understand reading the articles, it sounds like they were missionaries with a mission called SIM. The church was paying them support, but from what I know of missions, that wouldn't make her church staff. Generally, missionaries raise support from their home church as well as private donors. Not toeing the line with the home church will generally put a missionary at risk of losing the home church financial support, but it sounds like here the church also took the extra step of trying to keep the non-porn watching wife from being able to stay employed by her mission agency.

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Idolatry

I agree with this. Also, I didn't read this as the wife being a church employee. From what I understand reading the articles, it sounds like they were missionaries with a mission called SIM. The church was paying them support, but from what I know of missions, that wouldn't make her church staff. Generally, missionaries raise support from their home church as well as private donors. Not toeing the line with the home church will generally put a missionary at risk of losing the home church financial support, but it sounds like here the church also took the extra step of trying to keep the non-porn watching wife from being able to stay employed by her mission agency.

Read the response. It made it crystal clear there were many issues. It said the church wanted counseling and attempted reconciliation, which is definitely consistent with their views of marriage. I assume the husband and wife agreed if they joined this church, evangelized for it, and agreed to a covenant, as is their right and their choice.

The guy wasn't charged, the police were already involved. They at least did that right, based on what I read.

The statement said she didn't do the solo counseling either and didn't respond to them. If you have a known kiddie porn guy, you can't just send out his wife, no big deal, without checking it out right? You need to investigate or actually deal with it maybe?

Like I said, sounds like there is a lot more to the story, and they paid her to August, which seems fair. But you aren't entitled to be employed as a missionary when you don't agree with your home church's views. That's kind of the point.

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Idolatry

The criticism at these sites are that the church's views about the situation and/or kiddie porn are wrong and should have kicked him out/let her get annulled/whatever. Those criticisms I am more on board with. But I don't belong to churches anymore, so I don't argue with men about views based on whatever book they think are correct to subject others to. If you don't like the church, leave, which is what she did.

If you aren't on board with your church's views, for whatever reason, I don't understand why you think you are entitled to represent them and get paid for it.

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TXGirlInAMaterialWorld

The church only has as much power over your life as you give them- this was the hardest thing for me to understand when I left that life behind me.

Also, any church "discipline" ends the moment you decide to cancel your church membership.

If the church still tries to pursue any recourse or publicly badmouths a former member- you can sue the pants off them. I hope someone is helping this woman to navigate out of this situation and take back control over her own life.

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Idolatry
The church only has as much power over your life as you give them- this was the hardest thing for me to understand when I left that life behind me.

Also, any church "discipline" ends the moment you decide to cancel your church membership.

If the church still tries to pursue any recourse or publicly badmouths a former member- you can sue the pants off them. I hope someone is helping this woman to navigate out of this situation and take back control over her own life.

Exactly. That covenant and all those dumb rules mean shit when you tell them to kiss your ass as you leave. Good for her.

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VapingindaCity

CN someone explain what covenant means to Fundies?

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mirele

Seriously, this is an obnoxious situation.

Amy Smith at WatchKeep has the first batch of documentation:

http://watchkeep.blogspot.com/2015/05/s ... tects.html

The important thing to get out of this is that Karen Hinkley (formerly Root) resigned her membership in the Village Church on February 11. However, the pastors refused to let her go, put her under discipline and continued to harass her. Two months after she left, one of the pastors, Steve Hardin, continued to send her text messages. (Scroll down on the post.) She is no longer a member. Church membership is voluntary here in the USA.

The church upped the ante over the weekend by publishing this letter to its approximately 6,000 "covenant members." Apparently Amy Smith and the Wartburg Watch ladies got copies of the letters from concerned members. Here it is--and keep in mind KAREN RESIGNED AS OF FEBRUARY 11.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/266531116/The ... ordan-Root

I've told the Village Church on Twitter and left a message for one of the pastors harassing Ms. Hinkley that I believe TVC has committed torts against Ms. Hinkley, including defamation, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Here's another thing to keep in mind: In order to get an annulment of your marriage in Texas based on fraud (and in this case, the fraud was that Jordan Root did not tell Karen he was a pedophile), the party asking for the annulment has to stop cohabiting from the moment s/he finds out about the fraud. The Village Church first pushed for a temporary separation, then wanted these two back together. If Ms. Hinkley had gone back to her marriage, it would have destroyed any chances of getting a legal annulment (an acknowledgment the marriage was fraudulent from the beginning). It is my personal opinion (very much my personal opinion) that TVC wanted Ms. Hinkley back in the marriage so that she would be forced to stay in the marriage or get a divorce. The latter would destroy any chances she had of working as a missionary or getting most kinds of church work.

If you read all the documentation above, plus peruse this timeline put together with the assistance of Karen Hinkley at the Wartburg Watch, you'd come away with the idea that TVC didn't give a flying banana about Karen Hinkley.

http://thewartburgwatch.com/2015/05/25/ ... trust-him/

In fact, they're a bunch of disgusting asshats. The pastor, Matt Chandler, has called his anonymous critics "narcissistic zeroes" but since my real name is on my Twitter and I left my name and phone number on the church voicemail this morning when I was firmly giving them a piece of my mind, they know damned well who I am.

There is no defending TVC in all this. These guys wanted to control Karen Hinkley and would likely have tried to force her to remain in a marriage with an alleged repentant pedophile. That's bullshit. Defending that kind of crap behavior is also unacceptable, IMHO.

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mirele
CN someone explain what covenant means to Fundies?

It's not a Fundie thing. It's something that's popped up in the last decade or so with so-called Cavinista (followers of John Calvin, Presbyterian, Reformed, Predestination) churches. They're being used as control mechanisms. Matt Chandler, the head of The Village Church, also heads up Acts 29. He replaced Mark Driscoll and we know what happened to him. Acts 29 is HUGE on covenant agreements.

One should NOT NOT NOT sign a church covenant AT ALL without having your lawyer look at it. Thankfully, the TVC covenant doesn't appear to be a legal document. I have seen some that are legal documents in all but name, complete with enforceable arbitration clauses.

Seriously, this is a huge issue. WTF gives TVC the right to force a woman who has resigned into a reconciliation and discipline because she got an annulment due to her husband being a pedophile? These men need to back the **** OFF.

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theotherelise

Well crap, didn't expect this to be so close to home. Matt Chandler, the pastor of this church (the village church) is someone whose sermons I listen to regularly and is the president of the church-planting network (Acts 29) that my church is a member of. While my church is not at all a mirror copy of The Village Church (i.e. we have membership, but not covenant membership; my church has 70 attending on a big day, village church has thousands), we do follow similar doctrine/theology.

I absolutely would not call the village church fundie. Women are not demeaned and can hold leadership roles (not sure the extent of this at TVC, in my church women can do pretty much any role). There are no dress codes at all, birth control is welcomed, public school is the norm, pretty sure most believe in evolution and science. It is evangelical Christian in the sense that they follow the Bible and believe in sharing the gospel.

I just read their explanation for "covenant membership" and it is way creepy. Contrasting my Acts 29 church with theirs: at my church, becoming a member means you have learned what the church believes and, excepting that you may disagree with some tertiary doctrine, you agree with the church and pledge to treat it as your home church, volunteering and tithing as appropriate and feasible. If you're a member at my church and you just go AWOL, church members or the pastor will reach out and try to see what's up and where you've been. If you decide to leave church or attend another church, the pastor wants to hear that from you so he knows if you felt wronged/slighted or like you weren't getting what you needed. He basically just wants to make sure that you're leaving on good terms and if you're not, what he and leaders can do to address problems.

It seems like the village church treats it quite a bit more like a formal contract (which it's not). I understand that they feel like they and Karen made a reciprocal covenant agreement and due to that they feel like they owe it to Karen to reach out and help her and see if the marriage can be saved. But it goes way past the line. It just feels really creepy and it definitely seems like they're punishing her for her reaction to the husband's horrible crimes.

I read the whole letter and I will say that up to point where they describe "bringing Karen under church discipline," it seems like they handled the situation appropriately. Then it gets weird. If she doesn't want to be a member any more, I get that they probably wouldn't support her as a missionary, but why do they need to go through all these weird motions?

Also, to clarify, The Village Church does not handle or approve annulments, so they didn't deny that to her. It seems like they wanted to force her to try counseling and reconciliation before she, on her own, pursued a legal annulment. I don't agree with the village church's actions, but it is an important distinction. They're not like the catholic church where they can give an annulment.

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gustava

Is http://sim.org/ the organization with which Grifter John Schrader was initially involved?

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Idolatry

@mirele. I seriously have no idea what you are arguing.

A church has crappy views, so someone leaves. This happens all the time. A lot of churches have A LOT of crappy views that would be why I would suggest anyone leave, but that's their choice.

It was their choice to sign on to/agree with whatever jacked definition of marriage they wanted. The covenant only means something if you recognize its power over you. There are a lot of churches like this, BTW.

Are you saying the church's theology is wrong? Or that they should keep paying someone to rep them who doesn't agree with them?

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Idolatry

It's not a Fundie thing. It's something that's popped up in the last decade or so with so-called Cavinista (followers of John Calvin, Presbyterian, Reformed, Predestination) churches. They're being used as control mechanisms. Matt Chandler, the head of The Village Church, also heads up Acts 29. He replaced Mark Driscoll and we know what happened to him. Acts 29 is HUGE on covenant agreements.

One should NOT NOT NOT sign a church covenant AT ALL without having your lawyer look at it. Thankfully, the TVC covenant doesn't appear to be a legal document. I have seen some that are legal documents in all but name, complete with enforceable arbitration clauses.

Seriously, this is a huge issue. WTF gives TVC the right to force a woman who has resigned into a reconciliation and discipline because she got an annulment due to her husband being a pedophile? These men need to back the **** OFF.

LOL. This isn't Saudi Arabia. A church in Dallas can't force a lady to do shit.

This lady has terrible taste in men and churches apparently.

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2xx1xy1JD
@mirele. I seriously have no idea what you are arguing.

A church has crappy views, so someone leaves. This happens all the time. A lot of churches have A LOT of crappy views that would be why I would suggest anyone leave, but that's their choice.

It was their choice to sign on to/agree with whatever jacked definition of marriage they wanted. The covenant only means something if you recognize its power over you. There are a lot of churches like this, BTW.

Are you saying the church's theology is wrong? Or that they should keep paying someone to rep them who doesn't agree with them?

What I'm reading here is that:

1. TVC continued to pursue and harass Karen AFTER she explicitly informed them in writing that she was withdrawing from church membership and asked them to leave her alone.

2. TVC condemned her in writing to their entire covenant membership, which is in the thousands.

To say that this means nothing unless she recognizes its power of her, or that she has poor taste in churches, is a bit like saying that a woman shouldn't have had a relationship with an abusive stalker. She's tried to end it, they aren't taking no for an answer, they are pursuing her and trying to make her life miserable because she won't submit to their control.

3. TVC currently has Karen under discipline, but not her pedophile husband. In their control-freak universe, defying church officials by seeking an annulment without their consent is worse that viewing child porn.

4. Karen feels that this issue with her husband goes beyond mere marital difficulty, and that he was actually somebody completely different than the man she thought she was marrying. Perhaps it was foolish of her to agree to a covenant membership with its clause about marital reconciliation - but so what? Who anticipates that their beloved husband is actually into this stuff? She's recognized that she can't be with him, that he poses a serious risk to children and that she can no longer be part of the church that supports him. Good for her. She should be applauded for recognizing all of this and having the courage to break ties despite the high personal cost, not criticized for not being clairvoyant and making decisions that turned out badly.

5. The church, by pushing reconciliation, actually thinks that it would be appropriate for her to stay with a pedophile. What about any future children? Or any children they serve in a ministry? Or the fact that she may feel like throwing up when she thinks about what he did?

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Idolatry

Did we read the same email? They condemned and harrassed her? This was a pretty considerate and thoughtful email, considering the circumstances.

She agreed to their bullshit views on marriage, got paid them to evangelize them, is still being paid to evangelize them, and then refused to do them.

Good for her for walking out, and the whole church should walk with her.

But the church is entitled to make sure its missionaries are following their views. I can completely disagree with the church on reconciling with a pedophile, and still think the church shouldn't pay you to rep them when you won't comply. Marriage reconciliation, submission, headship, I can think of a lot of bullshit marriage views that a lot of churches have.

And yes, this lady has bad taste in men and churches.

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notsocommon

church disciplines HER!

“Karen’s decision to pursue immediate annulment, to decline any attempt of reconciliation, to disregard her Membership Covenant and pastoral counsel, and to break fellowship with the body has led her into formal church discipline. While members in good standing are free to leave the church and seek membership elsewhere, those in the disciplinary process have covenanted to see that process through before leaving the church. Because of this, we have attempted to fulfill our biblical commitment to love and care for her according to the Membership Covenant she affirmed and subsequently renewed on multiple occasions.
â€

http://matthewpaulturner.com/2015/05/26 ... -thinking/

This would earn a FUCK YOU from me.

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notsocommon

Don't miss the comments, either...

Rob is a charmer!

"Unfortunately she is {in sin}. She made covenants with both the church and her husband. She is by refusing to attempt reconciliation and counsel breaking those. I fully agree that this man fid horrible things and should meet justice. Like her church I do not want you see her become a victim of society and dump her morales and b r lies because her heart has become hard by this pain."

"I understand The Village stance. It’s hard for a church to stand on its foundation when such a terrible thing has occurred as child or sexual abuse. The bottom line is that we are in community and we really need the help and wisdom of others when it comes to sin. Jesus would not condemn anyone who believes in His absolute power, so this church is wanting and willing to walk with them in this. If a party refuses then they themselves are so deep in there sin and selfishness they can not see that forgiveness is paramount in our relationship with Jesus. So refusing to try and honor her commitment she is walking away from faith and grace."

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