1/ A question for you, @jdahlmd and @DianeLangberg (as you know more about it): Is Bill Hybels a Psychopath?

A look at some texts:

In the 1998 update of his book “Too Busy Not to Pray”, Bill Hybels wrote the following about his first ever interaction with Pat Baranowski.
2/ (It’s important to remember, when reading this, that Bill selected Pat, groomed her, sexually harassed & assaulted her, then systematically destroyed her reputation & fired her.)

"Private Promptings:

A few years ago, after a particularly exhausting meeting, I got into my ..
3/ "car and drove out of the church parking lot onto the exit road. As I started down the road, out of the corner of my eye, I saw someone walking toward the parking area. In that fraction of a second I received what I thought was a leading from God--to go offer some form of ...
4/ "assistance to the person I had just passed.

My initial response was Why? The person didn't seem to be having any difficulty. My second response was Why me? I'd already done my share that day, studying, working on a sermon, counseling with people and then leading a ...
5/ "meeting. I wanted to go home.

And so I kept driving, rationalising my disobedience to the little leading from God. But the Holy Spirit persisted. By the time I had reached the entrance sign, I felt so restless in my spirit that I said, "I can't put up with this anymore. ...
6/ "Disobedience is causing more stress than simply turning around and obeying, even if I'm tired and don't know why I'm supposed to do this."

So I headed back down the road, pulled up alongside the person, who was still walking south, rolled my window down and awkwardly ...
7/ "said, "Is there any way I can serve you? Could I drive you to your car? (Our parking lot is large, and frequently people forget where they have parked.)

The woman, whom I had never seen before, gladly accepted my offer. Just as she was about to thank me and get out of ...
8/ "the car, she said, "There was an announcement in the bulletin tonight about the need for administrative help in the church office, and I've been feeling God leading me to apply for that position. What do you think?"

We discussed the matter briefly, and then we each drove ...
9/ "off. That night I had no idea how offering help to a person who probably didn't need it would affect my life and ministry. As it turned out, the woman joined our staff and served faithfully for almost ten years. I wonder what would have happened if I hadn't obeyed
10/ "that leading.

~Bill Hybels, “Too Busy Not to Pray”, 1998

Some comments on the text, with reference to Dr. Anna Salter’s book “Predators: Paedophiles, Rapists, and Other Sex Offenders”

Two notes to begin.

A. It’s important to acknowledge that we now know that Bill ...
11/ Hybels is an unrepentant, unapologetic outright liar. The group of four leaders (calling themselves “Independent Advisory Group”, or IAG) who spent 6 months reviewing the multiple stories of sexual assault and harassment found these stories credible. Bill Hybels’ last ...
12/ public word on the matter is that all his victims are liars.

B. The IAG stated: “Most allegations of sexually inappropriate words and actions have been reported in the mainstream and religious press. While greater detail and specificity were reported to the IAG, the ...
13/ overall narrative heard by the IAG is similar to the narrative publicly reported.” That is, they said that what can be read in the press is credible. We can take the public media account to be the true and correct account.

Looking at the text, first we have:

I. "A few ...
14/ "years ago, after a particularly exhausting meeting, I got into my car and drove out of the church parking lot onto the exit road. As I started down the road, out of the corner of my eye, I saw someone walking toward the parking area. … The woman, whom I had never ...
15/ "seen before ...”

Two observations. F͟i͟r͟s͟t͟l͟y͟, please remember that Bill Hybels is a liar. There’s no reason to believe either that Bill Hybels had never seen this woman before, nor that he saw her out of the corner of his eye. In fact, given his history of sexual ...
16/ predation, it seems far more likely that he knew quite a lot about her already, and had chosen her as a victim, and had been watching closely for his opportunity to begin the process of grooming her. Dr. Salter writes:

"It is important to understand fully that such ...
17/ "offenders do not have a conscience as you and I know it. Acts that would bother others—and even haunt nonpsychopathic child molesters or rapists—give no pause, cause no regret.…It is perhaps not surprising that sexual predators who have never been arrested are so ...
18/ "successful in fooling people. They simply take on the lifestyle and manner of genuinely nice people, and it is understandable, if tragic, that we can’t tell the difference."

~Dr. Anna Salter, "Predators"

In her book “Predators”, Dr. Anna Salter describes the ...
19/ meticulous process that incarcerated sex offenders use to manipulate, control, and ruin prison staff. The first part of this process is Information Gathering, and the second part is Selecting A Target. The inmates are masters at identifying and exploiting ...
20/ vulnerabilities. Dr. Salter writes:

"But it is more than weaknesses or problems that define vulnerability for inmates. Staff who reach out and try to help inmates are considered possible targets. Religious staff are considered easiest to manipulate because, as one ...
21/ "inmate says, “they look for the good in people,” but any sort of caring is fair game."

~Dr. Anna Salter, "Predators"

Pat Baranowski is quoted in Laurie Goodstein’s New York Times article thusly:

"I thought maybe God was just being good to me, and I think he was. But ...
22/ "I couldn’t understand: Why did he [Bill Hybels] select me? Because I didn’t think that highly of myself."

~Pat Baranowski, via @lauriegnyt

S͟e͟c͟o͟n͟d͟l͟y͟, we must acknowledge that here we have a single, particular instance of a larger truth with which women are ...
23/ confronted their entire lives: sexual abuse and rape are pervasive. Anna Salter writes:

"The statistics for rape tell a very odd story. Women are least safe at home and least safe with friends, acquaintances, and family. Statistically speaking, women are better off with ...
24/ "strangers and being anywhere but our homes, at least as long as we stay away from streets and parking garages. The best thing we can do to protect ourselves is to grow older. As noted in Chapter 1 , somewhere between 12.7 percent and 24 percent of U.S. women have been ...
25/ "raped, depending on the study. 1 According to Bureau of Justice statistics, approximately one-half of the victims of rape or attempted rape are attacked by a friend or acquaintance, and overall 62 percent are assaulted by someone they know, adding together friends, ...
26/ "acquaintances, intimates, and family members. 2 Only about one-third are victimized by a stranger. Youth provides no immunity: The highest risk age group is sixteen to nineteen. 3 More than one-half of sexual assaults take place in someone’s home, either the victim’s ...
27/ "or a friend’s, relative’s, or neighbor’s. The most dangerous place to be outside the home is on the street."

~Dr. Anna Salter, "Predators"

Continuing with the text from “Too Busy Not to Pray”, next we have:

II. "My initial response was Why? The person didn't seem to ...
28/ "be having any difficulty. My second response was Why me? I'd already done my share that day, studying, working on a sermon, counseling with people and then leading a meeting. I wanted to go home.

And so I kept driving, rationalising my disobedience to the little ...
29/ "leading from God. But the Holy Spirit persisted. By the time I had reached the entrance sign, I felt so restless in my spirit that I said, "I can't put up with this anymore. Disobedience is causing more stress than simply turning around and obeying, even if I'm tired and ...
30/ "don't know why I'm supposed to do this."

~Bill Hybels "Too Busy Not To Pray"

Here we see Bill Hybels perpetuating the double life which he lived for 42 years. In one life he is, as the New York Times described it, a superstar pastor—at the upper echelons of ...
31/ professional Christian success—appearing on multiple lists of “top evangelical leaders”, and starting a global Christian leadership conference which in 2017 had half a million attendees. In his other life, he uses this mega-star status to select, groom, and sexually ...
32/ assault and harass women, and gets away with it and gets away with it and gets away with it. As he writes this, in 1998, Bill Hybels KNOWS that he selected, groomed, sexually abused, then systematically destroyed this woman. Yes he writes as some Godly Christian leader, ...
33/ following the Holy Spirit’s private promptings. Dr. Salter writes:

"There are specific techniques sex offenders and other predators use to fool people. First and most important is setting up a double life. Many offenders will deliberately establish themselves as the ...
34/ "kind of person who wouldn’t do that kind of thing."

~Dr. Anna Salter, "Predators"

It seems unlikely Bill Hybels was following persistent prompting form the Holy Spirit. It seems far more likely the spirit he was following was the opposite of holy. Having selected ...
35/ Pat Baranowski, it seems far more likely Bill is following persistent prompting from his own erotic fantasies. Dr. Salter writes:

"The cornerstones of rape are distorted thinking and rape fantasies. These fantasies play an enormous role in the development of compulsive ...
36/ "rapists. This does not mean that every man who has a rape fantasy will someday turn into a rapist. The rape fantasies that rapists have are distinguished from the occasional rape fantasies of nonoffending men by their prevalence, their obsessiveness, and their importance ...
37/ "to the rapist."

~Dr. Anna Salter, "Predators"

Continuing with the text from “Too Busy Not to Pray”, next we have:

III. "So I headed back down the road, pulled up alongside the person, who was still walking south, rolled my window down and awkwardly said, "Is there ...
38/ ""any way I can serve you? Could I drive you to your car? (Our parking lot is large, and frequently people forget where they have parked.) … offering help to a person who probably didn't need it …"

~Bill Hybels, "Too Busy Not To Pray"

In Dr. Salter’s chapter on ...
39/ Staff Seductions, following Obtaining Information and Selecting A Target, the third part of the process she describes is Tactics Of Seduction: The Role of Reciprocity. Dr. Salter writes:

"After all the information-gathering and the selection of the most appropriate ...
40/ "target, staff seductions begin, not by asking something from a staff member, but by giving something to them. Inmates intuitively recognize a social law called “reciprocity.” It is a powerful principle of the social sciences and has been found in all cultures studied. …
41/ "The power of this law is hard to overestimate. … Small favors are fair game too."

~Dr. Anna Salter, "Predators"

Continuing with the text from “Too Busy Not to Pray”, we have:

IV. "That night I had no idea how offering help to a person who probably didn't need it ...
42/ "would affect my life and ministry. As it turned out, the woman joined our staff and served faithfully for almost ten years. I wonder what would have happened if I hadn't obeyed that leading."

~Bill Hybels, "Too Busy Not To Pray"

But here’s the real story, from ...
43/ Laurie Goodstein’s New York Times article:

"Ms. Baranowski said that during the years of harassment, Mr. Hybels never kissed her, and they never had intercourse. She was particularly ashamed about the oral sex. She grew increasingly wracked by guilt and tried to talk ...
44/ "with him. One day in his office, she told him that it was unfair to his wife, that it was sin, and that she felt humiliated. That night she recorded in her journal what he had said in response: “It’s not a big deal. Why can’t you just get over it? You didn’t tell anyone, ...
45/ ""did you?”

"His attitude toward her slowly began to change, she said. She moved out of the house after two years. In the office, he began to suggest she was incompetent and unstable. He berated her work in front of others. She grew depressed and poured out her feelings
46/ "to God, filling 20 spiral-bound journals. On May 11, 1989, she wrote, “I feel like an abused wife.”

"She feared that she would be forced to stand in front of the congregation and confess, like the other employees who were fired. She was relocated to work in a converted ...
47/ "coat closet. Mr. Hybels finally sketched out an exit plan for her on a piece of note paper, which she kept. She resigned from Willow after more than eight years.

"Mr. Hybels said in an email last week that Ms. Baranowski had “wanted a bigger challenge than being my ...
48/ ""assistant” and changed jobs “on good terms.”

"She saw a counselor, who said in an interview that she remembered only that Ms. Baranowski was “humiliated, guilty and ashamed” because of her relationship with Mr. Hybels. The counselor, who spoke with Ms. Baranowski’s ...
49/ "permission, requested anonymity because she did not want to be part of the controversy. She recalled of Ms. Baranowski, “She felt she had lost her connection to God.”

"Since leaving the church, Ms. Baranowski said she has struggled to keep a job, lost her condominium, ...
50/ "moved from state to state, and had migraines and panic attacks. “I carried Bill’s responsibility, for things he should have been responsible for,” she said.

"The entanglement with Mr. Hybels “altered the trajectory of her life,” said Mr. Cousins, a well-known ...
51/ "evangelical leader who worked at Willow for 17 years. “She had been a very high-performing person, committed, high-caliber, responsible,” said Mr. Cousins, now a pastor in Orlando, Fla. “And the church was her life.”

~@lauriegnyt @nytimes

The key thing to recognise ...
52/ here is that Bill Hybels KNEW the real story, as outlined by Laurie Goodstein, when he wrote the false version, and published it, in 1998. He also knew that both Don Cousins and Pat Baranowski knew the real story. He was so supremely confident that he could get away ...
53/ with telling this false story that he literally published it. Dr. Salter writes about this in her chapter: “Psychopaths—Fooling People for the Thrill of It”

"If violence were all, psychopaths would simply be thugs. But what distinguishes psychopaths from other ...
54/ "offenders is not just their level of violence and their propensity for crime; it is that they have personality traits that allow them to manipulate people pretty much with impunity. Key characteristics of psychopathy are glibness, superficial charm, and an ...
55/ "extraordinary ability to con and to manipulate.

"One likely reason psychopaths can thrive in business and elsewhere is that their lying and manipulation is just so difficult to detect. Normal people feel some degree of guilt and nervousness when lying, and if they’re ...
56/ "not careful, they will show signs of that guilt in their facial expressions or body language. We assume the presence of guilt in others and routinely expect that those lying to us will be made uncomfortable by the lying. In fact, what most people look for as a sign of ...
57/ "lying is simply nervousness, anxiety, or discomfort.

"But the psychopathic mindset is different. Imagine what life would be like if every human interaction were a football play. There is no “we” between adversaries on the football field. They are competing, and the ...
58/ "outcome is win, lose, or draw. If one wins five yards, he doesn’t have to feel guilty: After all, the other guy is trying to do the same thing. Did Joe Montana or Kurt Warner ever feel bad about winning a Super Bowl? Isn’t pride a more understandable feeling? And ...
59/ "that’s what psychopaths feel when they dupe you and me."

~Dr. Anna Salter, "Predators"
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