if you're a pastor or Christian leader or board member etc and you've wanted to respond to the RZIM issues but haven't known what you could add to the discourse, I have a writing prompt for you. Ask yourself these non-rhetorical questions and write about your answer(s)
#2. "If I were being groomed to allow or normalize red flag behavior the way RZ's peers were, how would I know?" Because I promise you RZ is not the first or last charismatic & successful preacher fooling everyone around him. You may be working with one right now.
#5. "Have I dismissed an allegation of wrongdoing because it did not fit my image of the accused and I was assured it was false & an attack on a good man's ministry?" Or perhaps not dismissed, but minimized as a he said she said? Wow, you're in *exactly* the same shoes as RZIM.
We bloggers can write about best practices, but you all in the trenches are the ones who have to implement them. We can investigate cases that are public but you are the ones who know what is really going on behind the scenes.
Start with the examples of organizational misconduct in the Miller & Martin report. Claims of transparency but then anger when asked for information. Retaliation. Inflammatory language. You ever seen these? Had a coworker disappear mysteriously? ➡️ ruthhutchins.com/post/rzim-repo…
Read Ruth Malhotra's whistleblower letter in full. Odd interactions with a woman while traveling. Strange narrative shifts. Mockery of a victim, mockery of younger concerned staff. Have you been groomed to ignore these as normal? How did that happen? docs.google.com/document/d/1Vl…
A common theme we see in stories of church abuse is how the leader exploited the victim's trust. He seemed so wise and reasonable; he made them doubt their own intuition; it seemed what he wanted them to do must be alright. How do you know that hasn't happened to you?
When you read the accounts of how RZIM insiders w/ concerns were treated... it's *mean*. I don't think everyone in RZIM sr leadership was an accomplice to RZ, but they were so unkind - how did they get to a place where it seemed right to them to do that?
There was only one Ravi... But so many who missed the signs. While one predator can have many victims, please remember that survivors of abuse often say the part that hurt the worst was how the people they went to for help... didn't.
Or is the Captain right? Are evangelicals *incapable* of doing any different because their true god, as evidenced by their actions, is power? I really hope not.

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More from @RuthDHutchins

22 Feb
"The problem with all of these scandal-riddled Christian groups isn’t celebrity culture. Or a “misplaced priority.” It’s the pursuit of power within an authoritarian context. When shortcomings in accountability allow predators to run rampant, then that is exactly what they do."
"He wants evangelicals to learn to totally hold “rigorous, independent investigations.” To disallow big-name Christians from putting their own kids on their ministries’ boards. To end the practice of nondisclosure agreements to keep their wrongdoing under wraps. Most of all...
...to stop “trust[ing] instincts over evidence.”

If evangelicals could do literally ANY of that stuff, they wouldn’t be evangelicals. Predators gravitate to positions of power within evangelicalism precisely because evangelicals let them play and frolic freely in the sheepfold."
Read 4 tweets
19 Feb
"The CMA did its own investigation, but the results are not being made public. ... However, the limited findings corroborated RZIM’s report, [Terry] Smith said."
"In 2018, the CMA said it “completed a thorough inquiry of these accusations,” including “a review of all available documentation and records” and found no basis for discipline. ... Smith clarified that the CMA did not do an investigation. It did a preliminary inquiry and then...
...decided not to investigate. .Smith also emphasized that the inquiry relied on available documentation and records, meaning publicly available. Two CMA staff members interviewed Zacharias in 2017 about the allegations but did not see phone or email records."
Read 6 tweets
18 Feb
I appreciate the reflection here on where the wider culture failed and the apology to @RaviScam and @RandalRauser. I hope he writes a follow up trying to answer some of his own questions, ie why we have such a culture oriented around charismatic speakers. patheos.com/blogs/unbeliev…
"I didn’t ask the awkward questions I should have asked, because, well…I didn’t want it to be true. I wanted Ravi to be the hero of the hour, to have a great legacy, for the work of RZIM to continue strong." Can I ask to unpack this a little more? Why was this what you wanted?
Because for this to be true, it meant handwaving away & making excuses for all the hard evidence of credential fraud, maybe shooting the messenger on the way. It meant calling the woman Ravi targeted a liar and more than that, a wicked opportunist. Why was that what you wanted?
Read 6 tweets
18 Feb
It's really interesting how diametrically opposite people's impressions of him have been and I really wonder what each side is seeing differently. (for the record, I saw his style as combative, focused on name dropping and zingers, but so many saw him as gentle and humble)
Maybe it's a comparison thing? Like how your eye perceives color relative to surroundings, maybe your impression was compared to your faith background? Or maybe compared to stereotypes of an "apologist"?
I know people have mentioned loving his accent and diction which, well, means nothing to me, is that part of it?
Read 4 tweets
16 Feb
"I was alarmed not just by the allegations but by Zacharias’ response to them. He told me that he was falsely accused, and that these allegations were false—in general terms.

But I said to him and to his team that I failed to see how, if that were so, he could not...
...definitively state that he had not had any sexual conversations in this way with a woman not his wife, and that he had never, as reports suggested, pleaded with her not to tell her husband or that he would kill himself. We canceled Zacharias from speaking at the event. ...
...He was angered by that and made that very clear. He then had mutual friends call to seek to get me to change my mind. I said no."

I wish @drmoore had done more than uninvite him. I wish he had defended Lori Anne, having seen red flags most people didn't have access to.
Read 8 tweets
16 Feb
It occurs to me the line level employees most likely to see red flags and the top level power-holders who could do something about it are never the same people. And we have a culture where the big shots don't listen to the little people. They listen to each other only.
We are not going to whistleblow ourselves out of this problem.
The problems isn't that there are no red flags. There are. The problem is the people who see them can't do anything about it. A powerful culture of silence makes whistleblowing costly - not only to your salary and career, but also emotionally, spiritually - and your family too.
Read 15 tweets

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