Timothy Isaiah Cho Profile picture
Gathering a healing and just church community in Columbus, OH. Owner and Head Roaster @mosaic_coffee. Editorial Manager.
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May 28 6 tweets 1 min read
A pastor who is held captive to image and whose identity has become enmeshed with their ministry is unable to be honest, vulnerable, and transparent about how their church is actually doing. They will hide financial struggles or take unethical routes to pay the church's bills. They will avoid difficult conversations that affect the health of the church and will shirk their discipleship responsibilities for outward appearances of churchliness. They will hyperfocus on details that make the church look good (eg the best coffee, the best potlucks) and
Mar 1 9 tweets 2 min read
This is the game that they love to play - they claim to have some secret set of information that only they know that completely acquits the abuser no matter how guilty they appear to be, but they won't release that secret set of information.

Columbus Metro Presbytery would not release the minutes of our church's session minutes during the time that they had a committee sit in to (purportedly) bring extra accountability after our pastor got caught in his sin. They also refused to release their report and
Feb 24 5 tweets 1 min read
I was stopped in my tracks when I read this quote.

“'The unborn' are a convenient group of people to advocate for. They never make demands of you; they are morally uncomplicated, unlike the incarcerated, addicted, or the chronically poor; they don’t resent your condescension or complain that you are not politically correct; unlike widows, they don’t ask you to question patriarchy; unlike orphans, they don’t need money, education, or childcare; unlike aliens, they don’t bring all that racial, cultural, and religious baggage that you dislike; they allow
Feb 18 7 tweets 2 min read
I've noticed that there are generally three progressive levels of complementarianism. The first is ministerial complementarianism, where women are only barred from ordained offices. The second is familial complementarianism, where, in addition to the constraints of ministerial complementarianism, women are barred from certain types of roles within their household. The third is societal complementarianism, where, in addition to the constraints of the first two types, women are barred from certain types of roles within society at large.
Feb 10 5 tweets 1 min read
In Christian circles, the expression of anger is often connected to power. There are those who are afforded the right to express their anger freely and to have righteousness be attributed to it. There are others who are never allowed to express anger.

Those who can freely express their anger also receive a wide range of grace, so that an instance of unrighteous anger is tucked away under righteous intent or ends. Those who are never allowed to express their anger are given no grace, so that anytime they step out of line, they lose all rapport.
Jan 11 8 tweets 2 min read
What I learned from my time in the PCA is that it's not so much that leaders *can't* do something about abusive peers or that they are *unable* to do it quickly. It's rather that they choose to neither do as much as they can nor push to do it as quickly as possible. There are plenty of leaders in the PCA who know about our church's story and who know our former pastor. They've reached out privately with their sympathy and sorrow. But they have not done anything substantive or public to bring about justice to our situation.
Jan 11 4 tweets 1 min read
Weaponizing words of grace is a common tactic of spiritual abuse. Examples include:

1) forced forgiveness.
2) "we're all sinners"/"if you looked deep in your own heart, you'd see that you're that bad too."
3) "he/she has repented enough already."
4) labelling a whistleblower or advocate as simply adversarial (e.g. "bitter," an "enemy of the church/ministry," a "cynic," etc).
5) "the peace and purity of the church" as a method of silencing.
6) "no church is perfect"
7) "love covers a multitude of sins"
8) "did you talk to him/her privately first?"
Jan 6 5 tweets 1 min read
What churches need to realize is that often, abusive leaders don't set out to wreak the most amount of harm possible. Rather, they have convinced themselves that what they are doing is actually for some sort of good. We need to distinguish between intention and impact. This is one of the reasons why people will defend abusive leaders, because they have shown that "their heart is in the right place," while they are doing great harm. They believe intention absolves the impact.
Jan 1 7 tweets 2 min read
One hard lesson I learned in 2023 is that those who seem like they are the "good guys" and can say all the right things about spiritual abuse in the church can turn out to be one of the worst offenders or one of their staunch enablers. Our former pastor knew my family's story of spiritual abuse and would regularly make himself out to be a defender of victims. He said he wanted to create an environment where "the one with the least power in the church is able to confront the one with the most power" through
Sep 14, 2023 8 tweets 2 min read
Last summer, our church was beginning to do poorly financially, so we couldn't afford to send our former pastor to general assembly. But then all of a sudden he said he found a way to make it work. We thought nothing of it until we began to dig into our church's finances. Apparently several years ago, our church had been doing poorly financially and was on the verge of not making payroll. Our former pastor decided to open a credit card under his name as an additional revolving line of credit to be reimbursed by the church. He did this to no one's
Jul 3, 2023 6 tweets 1 min read
Keep a close eye on the ways in which people in power police the emotional expressions of those who are not in power.

Dismissive statements such as, "too emotional," "too angry," "uncontrolled," "out of order," "unruly," "disruptive," "too MUCH," etc. are all ways in which power solidifies itself and further marginalizes and otherizes those without power or with less power.

Yet, when those in power express the same kinds of emotions at the same or greater amplitude, they are magically transmutated into honorable qualities such as "passionate," "strong,"
Mar 22, 2023 7 tweets 2 min read
I've written and spoken about spiritual abuse quite often not only because it is sadly a part of my story but also so that others can for the first time think to themselves, "I'm not crazy!"

Here's a thread of everything I've written and spoken: 5 signs of spiritual abuse. Not exhaustive, but a good start in seeing signs of spiritual abuse.

Mar 21, 2023 8 tweets 2 min read
Matthew 18 may be the most abused and misused passage of Scripture in occasions of abuse in the church. Such a beautiful passage about interpersonal reconciliation is often used as a club by abusers and their enablers to silence, shame, and further abuse their victims. Matthew 18 is neither the exclusive method of dealing with sin (see how Jesus and Paul publicly confront sin in their ministries) nor is it an exclusive requirement for all church sin matters to be handled "in house." In fact, there are certain sins that either by its grievous
Mar 13, 2022 5 tweets 1 min read
One tell-tale sign of cult-like behavior is what is said about a person who leaves a church/organization. It became very clear as I left certain church circles that there was an entire narrative that had been crafted about me and the reason I had left - all of which were false. I've heard of everything from being a scapegoat for an organization's financial woes to becoming "liberal" to wanting to make a platform for myself to just being a bitter person. It was never framed around the issues of spiritual abuse, racism, misogyny, and moral compromise.
Dec 31, 2021 4 tweets 1 min read
One of the most painful things is when you share your story of spiritual abuse with someone you trust and respect and they break their friendship with you rather than believe you and act on what you've shared. Christians & churches are often so ill-equipped to provide suitable spiritual care for those who have undergone spiritual abuse & trauma. We often don't have the framework to be able to walk with people who have experienced harm from the church rather than find ways to cure them.
Nov 1, 2021 16 tweets 4 min read
It was not just that Presbyterians individually were slave owners, but the fact that Presbyterian congregations as a body owned enslaved people and would fund endowments, pastors' salaries, and other works of ministry through the leasing of enslaved work.

leben.us/slave-owning-p… This actually heightens the discussion about reparations because it is clear that Presbyterianism in America (second only to Anglicanism in America) was directly funded through the institution of slavery, so much so that congregations as a body would own enslaved people.
Oct 30, 2021 6 tweets 1 min read
People often blame White Evangelicals who are a part of churches that are about entertainment and loose on doctrine to explain the 81% vote for Trump. The problem is that there were plenty of theologically conservative, doctrinally precise, hymns/psalms only who supported Trump. I'll make this even more pointed: there were many Reformed Christians, churches, church leaders, and seminary professors who love to talk about liturgy this, theology that, doctrine this, reverent worship that, who supported Trump.
Oct 29, 2021 4 tweets 1 min read
Christians in the US fail to recognize that immigration laws have historically been racially motivated in the country as a way to prevent non-White people from either entering the country or integrating as full members of society. They have been used as a tool of White supremacy. That's not just a hunch or an opinion. Read the historic immigration laws, the policies that were developed by agencies in the US, court rulings at both local and federal levels, and the influential rhetoric of politicians and leaders over the past several centuries.
Oct 28, 2021 4 tweets 1 min read
Racism must be primarily seen as a liturgy of behaviors and habits. Christians especially have been limited in thinking that racism is about belief or intention solely. "I didn't mean to....""I have warm feelings towards..."

Racism is about behavior. If it walks and quacks like a duck, it's a duck.
Oct 27, 2021 5 tweets 2 min read
It's a matter of fact that 1) anti Asian racism has grown significantly and 2) this violence is directly tied to anti Asian rhetoric from Trump and his allies and enablers.

This has to be addressed in our churches, where a significant number of people have both voted for and been formed by this rhetoric.

White Reformed and Evangelical leaders need to put love of their Asian American brothers and sisters over their love of money, career, and comfort of their predominantly White donor base. The silence from many sends a clear message.
Oct 22, 2021 6 tweets 2 min read
It's easy to talk about the necessity and benefits of community without addressing Western presuppositions about what community means. Community is not simply a voluntary association of hermetically sealed individuals. It is a vibrant perichoresis and co-inherence of persons. In fact, our individuality finds its moorings within the dynamics of community in such a way that, as CS Lewis stated, "In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out. By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity;