Jules Woodson first appeared in the media roughly a year ago, when fellow blogger Dee Parsons, among others, covered her sexual abuse at the hands of her former youth pastor, Andy Savage. A teen at the time, Jules accepted a ride home from Andy, only to be coerced into a sexual encounter along a dark road.
Since then, Andy had gone on to become a mega-church pastor. To me, he seemed the quintessential type: Good looking, rather buff, well-dressed, and a toothy smile. In short, possibly a narcissist.
That conclusion was supported by Andy’s initial response to the uproar that followed Dee’s post, which largely took the form of a “sorry if you were upset,” non-apology.
To make matters worse, when Andy “confessed” his sin, he got a standing ovation from the knuckleheads in his church. Jules got nothing, but Andy got a hero’s welcome.
And it turns out that, while he eventually left the church, there are signs to suggest that previous employers had brushed aside Jules’ concerns.
Andy’s New Church
Andy, who I often refer to as “Savage Andy,” is starting a new church. Yup, he’s big, he’s bad, he’s buffer than ever.
Now, more than a year later, Andy is back, and the victim blaming continues.
The new church is registered at Andy’s humble abode, pictured below. Prosperity gospel, anyone?
And for those of you who ascribe to my belief that any church with “Grace” in its name is bad news, the new church is “Grace Valley Church” per public records.
Victim Blaming Resumes
Those who remember the original story will recall that a number of good Christians trotted out the whole, “It’s been a long time,” routine. Not to mention the “he’s been forgiven,” bit, the “how long are you going to keep after him?”, drill, and the ever-popular claims that the victim is a slut, crazy, etc. For example:
And in all of this, damned little concern for Jules, who has consistently been wonderful in her dealings with me and others, despite what she has been through.
Yet despite the ensuing uproar, many seem to remain as clueless as ever. Here is a tweet from @Megnanderson, who teaches young minds according to her Twitter header, and qualifies for the Clueless Wonder award. (She also promptly protected her account once people pointed out just how mean and dumb her comments were.)
For the record, it’s people like Meghan that are the reason I and many others don’t go to church. Yes, I believe in God. I love God. And God loves me; of that I am sure.
But in the midst of Meghan’s curiosity, I don’t see any signs that she’s following how Jules is doing. Did she ever once raise that question? Ask Jules if she needed anything? Or heaven forbid, just listen with compassion?
And for the record, judging from Savage Andy’s house, the word “destroy” is not the first to come to mind.
Christians would do far better to focus on reconciliation, healing, and making amends for the harm they cause, versus engaging in this and similar behavior. In the meantime, my advice is this: Lose the heretical notions of forgiveness. It’s not anyone’s place to demand forgiveness, nor is forgiveness inconsistent with accountability. As for reconciliation, talk is cheap, but I don’t see signs of restitution, which is a prerequisite.
And for the record Meghan, when you and others wonder why organized Christianity is dying, let me answer that question for you.
Just look in the mirror.