I want to share something with you guys because I can’t do it anywhere else and many of you were involved in this dramatic story.
Just a bit of background: Many of you may remember a couple of my posts from a couple of years ago about Tony Jones, a progressive theologian in the Emergent movement and a self-proclaimed, clinically diagnosed narcissist. He had divorced his wife, Julie, and remarried. They shared custody of their children.
However, when Tony responded to my critiques of his theology, Julie joined in the comments and started sharing her nightmare of the story of the breakup of her marriage, Tony’s abuse and maliciousness, their messy divorce, as well as the undying support Tony received from, and the cruelty she suffered at the hands of, well-known Emergent leaders who supported Tony.
Long story short… Tony hated the fact that Julie’s story was now out there. I immediately started receiving harassing phone calls, messages, and emails from Tony and many other Emergent leaders. They all insisted that I remove the posts since they considered them damaging to Tony’s reputation and harmful to his career.
Tony took out his wrath on Julie. Armed with an excellent lawyer, he got full custody of the kids and continues to make life more and more difficult for Julie.
I refused to comply to the pressure, threats, and demands. Julie and all those who understand what it means to be an advocate and stand with victims were appreciative that I never took down the posts but left them up for all the world to see.
However, lately, I’ve received several emails from Julie pleading with me to please remove two posts that Tony wanted taken down. Apparently, if I remove these two posts, she will be allowed visitation of her children. Julie says her lawyer and therapist both agree that she should approach me to request I take them down to increase her chances of seeing her own children.
At first I refused for a couple of reasons. One, the fact that these posts have been used as evidence in court might make their removal a spoliation of evidence. Secondly, I suspect Tony is yanking her chain and that she will not get visitation of her children. He only wants the posts removed to scrub his online reputation.
But, after so much begging, and after my heart could no longer take her desperate pleas, I finally decided to make the posts invisible to the public. They are not destroyed. Only their visibility settings have been changed and can be restored to public viewing at any time. I told Julie that I have removed the posts from public view, but that if she doesn’t have visitation of her children in a month or so (in fact, I think the meeting was yesterday), then I will restore them again.
My heart continues to break for Julie, for the church, and for progressive Christianity that even allows for this kind of thing to happen. This is a graphic example of how the church, religion, and Christianity fails. Many of us took a lot of heat for simply providing a space for a woman to tell her story. Unbelievable! And honestly right now I can’t see any reward.
If the frequent Old Testament lamentation… why do the mighty always win and the weak always lose?… ever applies, it certainly applies now.
Please don’t share this letter.
Thanks for listening guys.