I did a series of thoughts on Reformed Theology a while back at a website I used to assist with on moderation and am still active with after stepping down after 6 years and feeling it was time for others to take over while I took a sabbatical of sort. The original thread is here.
I may revise them a little for readability here as I go along but if they seem a little odd in terms of the voice and casual approach, that is why.
I will only put my posts here as I haven’t asked for permission to include others with their comments.
I don’t believe Calvinism or Reformed Theology is a cult or wrong to the degree that any who follow it are unable to know Christ and God. On the contrary, I believe Reformed Theology and Calvinism are a rich Christ centered tradition with the best motives underlying it.
While I am, without apology, “against” Calvinism in total or in whole, I believe there is much within it that is right. It’s a part of the Christian Tradition and heritage for many and it seeks to honor God and promote Christian community. I can and have worshiped with Reformed and Calvinist people and could again (assuming I could get by the whole institutional thing that I’m not on board with any longer.) I am against elements of the system, not seeking to pass judgement upon those within the tradition, many of whom I believe are genuine believers and children of God. I admit that I am at times offended by those Calvinists who equate their tradition and doctrinal constructs as synonymous with the gospel of Christ and the only authentic expression of faith that there is. I find that type of attitude both condescending, arrogant and also remarkably ignorant of Church History for the prior 1500 years before Reformed theology began to form. That said, Calvinists are not the only ones liable to that attitude and practice and I confess that I need to step back myself from time to time and be reminded that neither I nor my knowledge are the measure of other people’s faith and relationship in Christ.
I have read Calvin’s Institutes in full as well as many of the Reformed confessions that emerged at the time of the reformation. I’ve tried when doing this, though I confess it’s been many years ago, and my views were different at the time, to let Calvin speak for himself and not just accept what today passes as “Calvinism.” It may surprise some people but the popular “TULIP” acronym was unknown to Calvin but was a later contrivance to summarize the primary points. Much of what is called Calvinism today, is in fact not solely from Calvin’s writing but represents further extension of his platforms to a form of their logical conclusions. I don’t claim to be a reformed theology expert, but I think I’ve read enough from Calvin, Zwingli, Boice, and more recently from Sproul and Piper, combined with my time in reformed fellowships to have a reasonably grounded perspective.
So, I’ll hold off for a while here before continuing with more of the substance of what I have to say. If anyone has questions or wants to save time and brand me a heretic right off the bat, go ahead and do it now. It’ll save time.
OK. I haven’t heard any cries of gross misrepresentation and so I’m going to assume, I’ve done a reasonably fair job of laying down some groundwork.
I’m also going to preface some of what I’m going to say, by stating that most of my personal issues are more with Neo-Calvinists or Neo-Reformed leaders today than so much with mainstream traditional Calvinists or Reformed churches. In my life, I’ve watched a denomination here in the US, that I was originally licensed to preach in, be absolutely decimated over the past couple of decades by a strong academic leader who in effect, in my opinion and observation, managed a coupe and masterfully moved his denomination which has never historically been particularly Calvinist (Southern Baptist) to the point where that denomination has lost immense numbers of member churches and formal members by making some issues that we’re accepted in their past as being OK to disagree upon, suddenly cardinal issues over which professors could be thrown out of university positions for being “too liberal” or apparently just as bad; being women. This denomination is fairly loosely associated in that member churches are quite independent and have a great deal of autonomy to manage their local affairs and even many elements of their Statements of Faith which are not necessarily identical from church to church. The power within the denomination falls in two primary areas, Educational Institutions and Missions Boards. By making things like Young Earth Creationism (which isn’t necessarily a Calvinist issue per se) a litmus test for professors and missionary candidates, this person (and I’m not afraid to name him as he’s a very public person and as such is fair game for examination and discussion) managed to take hold of the institutions of his denomination and exclude people with whom he disagreed but who were in no way outside of the traditions, history and theology of his denomination and manufactured what can only be described as a radical shift to where now many SBC colleges and Seminaries have been take over by 5 point Calvinists. Rest assured though, they still claim to have diversity …. there’s a few 4 point Calvinists there who help to balance things out … (and yes, I’m being sarcastic.)
Now, the point of this thread is not to dwell on these issues. I’m putting them on the table up front so that those who maybe don’t know me so well (and maybe even those who do) understand that I’m human and I feel hurt and anger over my perspective of watching these events and the impact that they had on me as a young man and minister at that time and since have followed. I know people and families who were treated, in my opinion, very unfairly and very poorly by some who used their appeal to “truth” as justification for their wielding of power to exclude others who were professing brothers and sisters in Christ and the aftershocks are still reverberating. It’s hard for me at times to separate those experiences and observations from the theology that was used and still is used to justify many of the actions taken. In fairness, counter-examples could probably be found of opposite things taking place, and I don’t dispute that. Those lack the personal intensity and impact of my own experience but I recognize that there’s no shortage of hurt or injustice in the world over which to take offense.
So, when at times in the past, if I’ve seemed sharp or inexplicably strong, that is part of the reason why.
As I mentioned, I think much of the debate in America today is now somewhat different than the old Arminianism/Calvinism debates in Europe. I think we have a new generation of evangelical and reformed leadership that is being applied in different contexts than the full “reformed” package that was Reformed, Covenantal and Community based. I see popular leaders today who are outside of that reformed tradition who are introducing elements that are somewhat out of balance with what the entire package has been in the past. Again, to name name’s I’m thinking somewhat of leaders like Albert Moehler (OK, that’s who I was talking about earlier), John Piper and Mark Driscoll. There are others who tie into some of this new movement including R.C. Sproul who is still fully reformed but often a source through Ligonier Ministries for teaching and support in this movement) and John F. MacArthur too has been an influential voice in some of this newer movement.
I’m going to try to keep out of a lot of this as I progress and deal more with the elements of reformed theology and practice that trouble me, and keep focused on those issues rather than the personalities. I have no dog in any of these fights as my career and local church involvement no longer are influenced by any of these factors.
So, for any of whom these comments seem off the wall or unusual, feel free to just set them aside. I think it’s important to remember that when we deal with issues like this, no matter how much we want to try and represent them as just issues of intellect and truth, that there are living and breathing human beings behind them, many of whom have stories to tell and wounds and scars along the way. My purpose in revealing and mentioning these things here are to self-reveal and own my own scars and hurts picked-up along the way.
So enough of that for now. Onward to more of the nuts and bolts of the issues involved.
A post from Frank on what sometimes drives those who attack and fight over religious issues or a desire to see more attention for themselves.
I did a series of thoughts on Reformed Theology a while back at a website I used to assist with on moderation and am still active with after stepping down after 6 years and feeling it was time for others to take over while I took a sabbatical of sort. The original thread is here.
I may revise them a little for readability here as I go along but if they seem a little odd in terms of the voice and casual approach, that is why.
I will only put my posts here as I haven’t asked for permission to include others with their comments.
I’m starting this thread after having observed for a long time many of the discussions that take place on our board and indeed, several that are going on right now. I’ve said, and for the most part, stood by in the past and declined the invitation to dive into these discussions for a variety of reasons.
First, I’ve very rarely seen such discussions prove a positive benefit in my life and I’ve many time observed friendships and relationships obliterated between people who otherwise believe in Jesus Christ and name Him as Savior. I’ve had in my own life and watching others, over time as well a concern as to how such conversations can be conducted in keeping with admonitions within Scripture against dissension, quarrelsomeness and to demonstrate love and patience with one another. It can be done, but as I said, at least in my observation, it’s rare.
In past conversations I’ve let drop a few of my observations and thoughts on Reformed theology and I’ve been called by those who either took offense or who wanted to understand why I have those views. For the most part, I’ve declined to do that for reasons that include the above and also a recognition that things of this nature can be highly personal, and involve including life experiences and observations, which is a different realm than just examining things from a strictly religious or philosophical perspective.
I’m declining to do this on other already ongoing threads because I think they have enough participants and back and forth and what I’m going to do here is coming from a different direction. Others are welcome to chime in and agree, disagree (or shake your head in a bewildered fashion) ask questions etc. For my part, I’m going to do my best to keep this from being just another descent into Arminianism vs. Calvinism etc. I doubt I’ll succeed but I’m going to try. I’m going to do my very best however to be as generous and objective as I can be and avoid making any unfair generalizations or harsh statements. Again, I’ll likely fail in this, at least in the eyes of those who disagree with me, but upfront, I’m going to do my best.
Up front, I don’t describe myself as Arminian or Calvinist/Reformed any longer. In the past, I’ve had exposure and been part of organizations or fellowships that could have both emphases. As many of you know, I’ve left organized Christianity. Even while I was in formal ministry I was part of a denomination that declined for the most part to take a stand or engage on many of the finer points of the issues, focusing instead upon Jesus Christ and His functioning as Savior, Sanctifier, Healer and Coming King and then upon Foreign MIssions as an integral part of those functions. I’ve also spent a good part of my life in Reformed Churches. I was raised Anglican and I spent about 10 years working and attending a Reformed Church up until a few years ago when I made the decision to change as noted above. It wasn’t an easy decision and there was hurt involved as well, so I will confess up front that there are emotional ties for me in this conversation that can produce some heat when pressed upon.
So first I want to lay down some definitions and terms so that people will know what I’m thinking and where I am coming from as well.
I think a lot of the conversation that takes place in these areas is doomed to failure because people end up talking past one another, using the same words but with different meanings attached and understood. When this happens rather than addressing those issues frustration will set in and people will up the volume, continually repeating and restating the same arguments or positions and be frustrated when others either don’t understand them (which is easier to bear) or worse, just don’t agree with them, which is very difficult for some people to accept for reasons that can be both personal and also noble given what they believe is at stake; if not a person’s salvation, at least some core teachings and practices within people’s lives.
So when I talk about Reformed Theology this is what I am thinking, and pay attention, because it might differ from what some participating on this board think or understand. It has always been my understanding that Reformed Theology is about more than “Calvinism” or “TULIP” although these are the terms or elements that get used rather quickly. Reformed theology as I observed it and understood it while I was working within and a part of it, was focused upon joint confessions of believers in actual churches and it’s not about who the latest popular teacher is or the latest line of reasoning that has taken hold in some area or another. There have been some recent developments, at least in the US, that have resulted in some movements being labeled as “Neo-Calvinism” or Neo-Reformed.” For the most part, speaking very generally, what these are, are movements that have lifted Reformed Theology and taken it out of the context of such confessions and placed them into different contexts.
Reformed Theology, historically as I understand it, and in terms how I think the Reformed people I know and the traditions I was a part of have a focus upon what is sometimes called Covenental Theology. Most Reformed fellowships reject what is sometimes described as Hyper-Calvinism (more on this later) and have a focus upon God’s Sovereignty and Grace. Reformed Theology views the sacraments of Baptism and Communion, as actual means and expressions of that Grace rather than just acts of commitment or remembrance within the community of believers. Included within most Reformed communities as well is a clear recognition of the roles and callings of Elders and Pastors who have specific charges and responsibilities.
Again, this is very general. Reformed Tradition is much broader than just what I’ve stated here, but at grass roots, most would include these elements, even if some of the approaches and structures vary.
I don’t think very much is gained when we choose to define someone else’s views for them. It’s very common in these types of discussion for misrepresentations to enter into the picture and instead of listening and hearing what another person is saying, we’re quick to refer back to our canned presentations to show that they’re wrong, while we, of course, are right. We should believe that we’re right or there’s no point in believing or espousing something, but I also believe we need to step back and listen first. A practice I’ve often advocated is that you don’t have the right to try to correct someone until you can, to their satisfaction, with charity, describe back to them what they are saying so that they know you’ve heard and you understand, even if you may not agree in whole or part.
Usually Arminians represent Calvinists with a desire to tie them to the extremes of their movement, or “hyper-Calvinism”. Calvinists return the favor by representing Arminians by the extremes of their movement as Pelagianists or Semi-Pelagianists (Pelagianism means denying grace in favor of a works based salvation.) I’m going to try my best to avoid that and deal with the middle of things and avoid the temptation to reduce other positions in that manner.
So this is my start. Before I move on, if any think I’ve completely missed the boat and have no idea what I’m talking about, then go ahead and correct me. I’ll try to follow my own advice and listen. I hope you’ll stop and think for a moment what I’m starting with here and give me that same grace.
Over the past several weeks I’ve spent time researching Nathan’s Voice, an organization local to where I live in Northern Virginia. I wanted to understand the source of some accusations that were being made against a friend of mine. As I did, I realized that there were other things at work that merited attention. I looked beyond the immediate accusations and saw some clear patterns emerge that I think people who interact with it either locally or online need to be aware of aware of in evaluating the credibility of the organization and the accusations it makes. Jim Wright uses blogs as and identifies himself as Nathan’s Voice, Fulcrum Ministries and Crossroad Junction on social media. There are others he uses as well but these are the main ones.
So, the time has come to have a little chat and get some questions answered. Unless I state otherwise all of the information I am providing is accessible publicly online, is the result of interviews I’ve had with representatives of local churches, members of the local churches involved or those who have interacted online with Jim Wright. The opinions expressed are my own. I am doing this independently and on behalf of nobody but myself as a community service and to provide information that may be helpful for those who find themselves interacting with Jim Wright, Nathan’s Voice, Fulcrum Ministries, or Crossroad Junction.
Wait a minute! Are you trying to smear Jim Wright?
No. I am not trying to smear anyone. Jim Wright is an active and public person on the internet. His websites and his activity are in the public eye and seek to sway public opinion. They are as open to scrutiny as any other organization or person that they choose to address. Jim Wright and his organizations make charges publicly on the internet about people and ministries. When someone chooses to do that, then it is entirely appropriate to ask who they are and if they are credible.
Have you tried to talk with him about your concerns and to solve things that way?
Yes. I have contacted Jim Wright several times. I’ve asked to visit his home church and been informed that he considers me hostile and doesn’t want me present. That’s an odd approach I think because Wright has visited at least one other organic fellowship in the Northern Virginia area and used his blog to judge and summarily dismiss them. Apparently he assumes others will be like him.
I’ve asked to meet with him one-on-one and he hasn’t responded. I’ve sent him questions through Facebook, email, and contact forms on his websites and all but one (which I will share below) has gone unanswered. He blocked me on Facebook after I asked many of these questions several times in public forums and it’s clear that he doesn’t want to answer them. That’s his choice of course, but yes, I have tried to communicate with him. If there are clarifications that can be made to this information, Jim Wright had the opportunity to make them by answering my questions and he chose not to. So, I’ve attempted to find the answers elsewhere. If he wants to let me know any reasonable correction (emphasis on the word “reasonable”), I’m happy to make it. If he claims, as he has before in other contexts, that I have no business putting up information and concerns without asking him first, he’s made it clear he has no intent to answer.
So, you must think Jim Wright is a pretty bad guy in order for you to do something like this then?
I don’t know Jim Wright. I only know what I see him do and say online. Now I know some of his history as well that preceded his internet presence and the persona he tries to create and promote. I’ve heard some good things about Jim Wright as I’ve done this work. He seems to have a very strong heart for Prison Ministries in the area and there’s evidence that he personally involves himself in the lives of people in the local jails and provides different forms of assistance to them. So, no, I don’t think Jim Wright is a bad guy in every regard. I certainly have some strong concerns about some of his behaviors online. He’s well trained and articulate which isn’t surprising given that he’s a retired attorney. He uses that ability persuasively at times. Being articulate and well written however, doesn’t particularly impress me when he doesn’t use that ability constructively Many articulate, intelligent people have strong egos and use their abilities to damage other people and promote themselves. In my opinion, Jim Wright is such a person. That doesn’t mean there aren’t things I like about him. As it stands, all I can respond to is what I see online and what I’ve learned from others.
You mentioned that you started looking at things because of something that took place with one of your friends? What is that all about?
Yes. That is what motivated me to search and figure out what was going on with Jim Wright. The situation with my friend is a separate issue from what I am doing here. I am part of a group that is putting together a statement regarding that and Jim Wright’s other online activities. That stands on its own, as far as I’m concerned. I certainly have a strong opinion there and I will express it. Beyond that however, I live in the Northern Virginia area and am a part of the christian community as well as having connections with local organic fellowships. Jim Wright claims to represent some organic networked churches and uses that claimed relationship to justify his actions in getting out information about other people and organizations. I feel it’s important for people to have the benefit of knowing what the background and patterns of behavior are with Jim Wright, so that they can balance that against his own carefully created and presented online persona. If you want to believe Jim Wright and what he has to say in some areas, that is up to you. I’m not going to refer to other people by name in this article, because this is about Mr. Wright and the big picture of who he is and his repeated patterns. My concerns here go beyond the immediate situation with my friend. My concerns here are to look at Jim Wright and his organizations and see if what he claims adds up and if others should consider him credible.
Did you have any interaction or dealings with Jim Wright before this incident?
Yes. I “met” Jim Wright online around October of 2011. In fact, he posted this message to me here on this very blog.
I say (sic) a comment you left on the Organic Church group on FB, and you said you were in the northern Virginia area. Same here. Would love to find out what’s going on regarding other organic church fellowships in the area. We have several in the Prince William County area. You can contact me through my blog.
We initially friended on Facebook and interacted a few times in different capacities. As I saw some of the things Jim Wright had to say about other people and the way he treated them, it became clear to me that he had a very narrow theological view that wasn’t particularly kind or tolerant toward mine or others. That’s all fine by the way. People have the right to express their opinions and associate with whom they want. After Mr. Wright shared a post I had made and used it to attack me and my beliefs, I chose to block him, which means I no longer saw him or his activity which suited me fine. It wasn’t until I learned about his use of his blogs and social media to attack my friend that I unblocked him and went to see what he was doing. It was at that time that the scope of what he was doing in general and how he was doing it struck me. I started to ask him questions (many of which we’ll address below) about him and his organizations, and he quickly blocked me which again is fine and his choice. As he doesn’t want to answer many of these questions, I’ve taken the liberty to get answers as best I can. If they are not complete, then Jim Wright had opportunities to answer them for me, and has chosen not to.
OK. So what are the questions you have?
I’m glad you asked! (Gotta have some sense of humor in the midst of all of this, don’t we?)
Primarily my questions are what the title says. Who is Jim Wright, Nathan’s Voice, Fulcrum Ministries and Crossroad Junction? Beyond that my questions are, what has he done in the past that might help to understand what he’s doing in the present?
I’ll answer that, but first I want to say something that is very important. Jim Wright is in one sense a public person. He is active on the internet and holds himself out as a public figure. He also too is a private person, and although I don’t think that Jim holds entirely to this standard himself, I still want to make very clear that I am not doing this to encourage anyone to inappropriately or illegally harass him. I am not going to give personal information outside of what is appropriate for what I am addressing here. It’s not hard to find more personal information about Jim by searching on the internet. That is true of anyone (including me.) You will no doubt be able to search and find out more based on what I talk about here. I am in no way suggesting or condoning that you do anything other than take this information into consideration when you are dealing with Jim Wright online. When you do interact with him, you may want to ask some of these same questions of him and note if he ignores them or tries to avoid them. I think you shouldn’t really give what he has to say much consideration unless he’s willing to answer these questions.
So I am clear, DO NOT HARASS JIM WRIGHT. I have no desire to harm him personally nor should anyone else seek to engage him outside of asking hard questions in the public forums in which he holds himself out as an expert/leader. If you believe Jim Wright is harassing you online, then use care in engaging him, as he does have a history of escalating disputes and making very strong and very unpleasant charges.
That sounds like a basic way to cover your butt, but OK, so who is Jim Wright?
I’m sincere. I’m not a lawyer nor am I trying to be one. Jim Wright is an attorney, a retired one at least and he often assumes that role and tone as if he’s addressing a court. The internet isn’t a courthouse. It’s a public forum, and if Jim Wright wants to play “lawyer” there that’s his option. I choose not to play that game. I’m just going to speak plainly and simply.
But to the point. Jim Wright reveals a lot of information about himself, so I’ve pretty much stuck with that. I’m providing a capture here rather than linking to his sites, because people can change what they have up. There’s not much here that Jim Wright doesn’t reveal about himself, but of course, he tries to spin things as best he can to make himself look as good as possible.
Enough already! Who is Jim Wright?!?
OK! OK! Here’s what Jim Wright has to say about himself!
This is his “blurb” on his primary blog, Crossroad Junction as copied directly on May 19, 2013.
Jim is a church sower, public but unassuming, thinker, mentor, teacher, older brother in the faith, motivated by redemption, foe of tyrants, friend of the dispossessed, retired attorney, entrepreneur, private pilot, and so-so bass fisherman.
Well, before you start polishing his halo, spend some time looking around his postings on his blogs and in the social media. You’ll quickly find that these terms are all pretty relative and self-aggrandizing.
OK. Let’s take a look at the claims. Would that be OK?
Good idea! Let’s do that!
Is Jim Wright a Church Sower?
Well … Jim Wright says he’s a church sower and I’d have to agree that Jim does have a history of much sowing. Apparently Jim’s definition of a church, (and actually I don’t have a huge problem with this, but it does play on the ambiguity of the term) can include people having coffee together. I’ve asked Jim Wright to visit his home fellowship, which I believe exists, and he said no. So all I can go on is what he says publicly and looking at what evidence I’ve gathered in talking with others. It appears to me that Jim’s home church is comprised of himself, his wife, his parents, and maybe 6 -8 other people. I don’t know if these people are “regulars”. They may well be a succession of people whom Jim has made contact with through his prison ministry. Aside from what Jim self-reports, speaking with others the impression I’ve gotten is that people who meet Jim as he visits with them in prison (or their families) see him as compassionate and friendly. He claims to open his house and he may well do that in other capacities. Some of those who visit his “home church” however have reported to others whom I’ve interviewed that they find a stark contrast when they visit the “church” setting. They find the teaching harsh and in many cases aimed at other people and movements that are painted as “post-modern” and out of line with Jim’s beliefs. The impression I get is that the tenure of most people in this “church,” is relatively short. All comments point to the conclusion that Jim is the central figure and the model he engages in is more like the shepherding movement of the 80s and 90s which focus on spiritual covering and chains of command rather than organic church which is by definition non-hierarchical. It begs the question as to why Jim Wright even tries to identify himself and his home church as organic at all.
Outside of that, Jim claims to be a part of a network of churches in the local community, many of which he claims he’s had a part in starting. Again, I asked him for contacts and his response to me was in an email:
The fellowships that related (sic) to each other here, as best I understand, are open to all who actually seek fellowship. That, unfortunately, does not describe you based on your numerous hostile posts on Facebook and your clearly stated intent to set yourself up as judge over them – even though you yourself have never demonstrated an ability to function in an actual local participatory fellowship. Nonetheless, I have no say over who a particular fellowship accepts into their gatherings. You can take it up with them individually. I do not control them or speak for them, but simply relate to some of them as one who helps and in a number of cases has been involved in starting them.
That’s an interesting response. If you wade through Jim’s blogs you’ll find he’s visited other local organic churches and groups and on at least one occasion used such a visit as an opportunity to trash the people, the church and their spiritual maturity. I guess when Jim has engaged in this activity himself it’s hard for him to imagine that other people wouldn’t be like him.
It’s somewhat vague too isn’t it? By the way, I have been involved in participatory fellowships, although Jim didn’t ask. I’ve visited and been part in at least one other that Jim himself visited and subsequently trashed. I have no desire to set myself up as a judge. I just want to see them and meet with the people and know who they are, how they function and what they do; no dice with Jim, however. It’s an interesting contrast however. Consider this response later when we look at how Jim claims to represent this “network.” He is essentially the sole voice and claims “elders” for whom he speaks for collectively. I guess it depends upon what hat Jim is wearing as to how well connected he is with these people. He either speaks for them or he doesn’t know them well enough to put seekers in contact.
I’ve spoken with one former participant who was a part of Jim’s home church in 2006 when it was more of a bible study apparently while Jim was in an institutional church and who has visited the group as recently as a year ago and he states that he is unaware of any network of churches and suggests that Jim Wright may be using the term loosely as the home church will switch between homes and occasionally meet in other venues. The same people are essentially participating and all that is different is the location at some given time.
Well, it certainly confirms what I’ve said, that Jim Wright is a “public person”, so this is entirely appropriate to do on that basis as confirmed by Jim. “Public but unassuming” is a pretty meaningless phrase outside of that. It’s clear Jim makes many assumptions when he deals with people. Just as he did with me above in his email, Jim assumes that I’m just out to get him, rather than better understand who he is and what he claims, which he offers as a basis upon which to trust and rely upon him and his representations. I haven’t met a person I’ve spoken to about Jim that describes him as humble and quiet. He is continuous in his efforts to draw attention to himself and his endeavors. He is constantly working on his public persona online and there’s very little chance if Jim has an opinion on something and you’re around that you’ll not hear it.
So, it’s certainly a nice Public Relations claim but what does it mean? I guess we’ll leave it at that.
Come on now! How about thinker? Surely you have to admit that he’s a thinker right?
Yes, Jim Wright is a thinker. He appears to think a lot. If you want to read through the voluminous material he has on the web (which I have) you’ll find evidence that he likes to think.
Jim Wright thinks about theology. He attended a Seminary and studied apologetics before he eventually went to Law School where he obtained a JD and focused on litigation. He’s careful to couch his representations there as it appears he didn’t graduate. Nothing wrong with that by the way, just noting it. I have some Master of Science work that I’ve done and haven’t graduated with it yet either.
Jim Wright thinks about other people who think or believe differently than he does. He thinks about why they’re wrong. He thinks about labels he can apply to them. And most of all, if he sees a way to talk to them or about them in a way that makes Jim Wright look good and attracts attention to Jim Wright, then it appears to me that he likes to think about that too. He especially likes to think about people whom he sees as having stood in his way to his desire to assume positions of influence or assume positions of leadership. Jim Wright likes to be noticed, listened to and respected. Nothing again, necessarily wrong with that, but I’ll let you decide if Jim’s desires there are balanced and healthy. But, yes.; Jim Wright can think.
Is Jim Wright a mentor?
Jim Wright says he’s a mentor. Who has he mentored? I haven’t seen any names. Again, it’s a nice word for PR work and resumes. It certainly puts him in the position of being the leader though, doesn’t it?
It would appear so. Jim represents himself as doing a lot of teaching. When you look at it carefully however, the definition appears to include mostly meeting at the jails or at his home where he provides seminars for some of his entrepreneurial endeavors or occasional counseling courses based on Theophostic Counseling. He also teaches with the organization, Emmanuel Christian Institute, an apparently unaccredited program based in the Caribbean Islands. Again, no mocking intended. It simply demonstrates the claims made on the one hand and then the reality of what is at work. Jim Wright’s advanced degree is in Law, not theology. Again though, it certainly reflects the superior position that Jim Wright believes he occupies and deserves relative to others once again. Perhaps he’s compensating for some form of disappointment in not finishing and pursuing a career in church work or theology earlier?
Is Jim Wright an Older Brother in the Faith?
I guess so. Jim Wright claims to be a Christian and holds himself out as a leader, mentor, teacher etc. He appears to have some form of faith. He might even recognize yours, as long as you agree with him, or at least don’t fall into any form of “error” which he frequently labels as “post-modernism” etc. If you read his writings for any period of time like me, you may definitely come to see him as a familiar “Older Brother” as described by Jesus in one particular parable. But once again, we see the assumed position of Jim Wright relative to those who are wise enough to sit at his feet and recognize his superior position. The more you come to know Jim Wright, the more you’ll find that Jim Wright likes to assume the role of the “Older Brother” and probably doesn’t see the irony in that title.
Is Jim Wright motivated by Redemption?
I’ll leave it to you to decide that on your own. Motivations can be pretty difficult things to discern. Sometimes people may not know what is motivating them even when it’s pretty evident to others. Redemption doesn’t seem to be a very high priority the more you read and observe of Jim Wright in my opinion. Redemption ties into things like Grace, Mercy and Service. Jim likes to pick fights and then when people respond to his aggression, he is fond of the term, “You picked the wrong guy” and goes on to present himself as a tireless crusader for whatever cause he’s claiming to represent. When he gets specific about things and goes after people, those names seem to be people from his old churches or his attempt to create a following on the internet by going after people who have a higher profile than he has and are promoting theology or methods he disagrees with. Is this Redemptive? Jim Wright appears to make more enemies than he does friends in any event.
Is Jim Wright a Foe of Tyrants?
I guess it depends on what you define as a tyrant. As best I can see, Jim Wright considers those who stand in the way of his deserved place as the focus and center of attention to be “tyrants.” He certainly speaks in many areas in theory of opposing hypothetical tyrants. When you look closer however, you find that the people he personally targets and sets himself as a foe toward, are people from his personal sphere of influence. He cloaks himself with the title “Foe of Tyrants” but in practice, it looks remarkably as if he’s got another agenda going as well. He talks a very good game, but when he actually plays the game, it’s pretty revealing whom those “tyrants” are. They’re people from his past churches and people he has had online disagreements with in other areas. It’s one thing to speak about things in general. When you get specific however and the only people showing up on your radar screen other than generalities and people in the media are people you personally have had issues with before you come out with the accusations, that isn’t a foe of tyrants in my opinion. That is a muckraker and rumor-monger. You can claim whatever motivation you want, but when the only people you crusade against personally are people already connected to you, then it’s a pretty weak claim. Jim has what I think are some good things to say in general in some areas where he appears to have passion. When the rubber meets the road however and names are mentioned and reputations threatened, there appears to be alternate motives possible.
Is Jim Wright a friend of the dispossessed?
I suppose at times he can be. He’s active with Prison Ministry as noted. He claims to speak for victims in other realms as well, and understandably in those situations it wouldn’t be normal to name such people. It’s pretty easy to claim anonymous people and when you add to that that when Jim Wright claims to speak for anonymous “victims,” “witnesses” and “elders” it’s a pretty obvious and fair question to ask whether these are real “dispossessed” people or rather just manufactured or exaggerated entities that serve the purposes that Jim Wright has independent of his claimed sympathies. It’s a pretty easy cloak to wrap yourself in, when you claim to represent victims of sexual abuse. Of course people do and people should have strong reactions to the abuses that take place there. When you look at Jim Wright however, other than mentioning things from the media which are accessible to everyone and then you look at whom Jim Wright and his organization have actually “named” and gone after, there are mostly (maybe even only) those whom Jim Wright has had some level of personal contact with himself, and has had previous issues and then all of sudden there are huge scandals that come out. A reasonable person really should ask why that is the case. A reputable organization operating in this arena should have named board members and leaders and any who have previous relationships with those accused should be recused so that any information released is not tainted with an apparent or plausible conflict of interest, in my opinion.
Is Jim Wright a retired attorney, entrepreneur, private pilot, and so-so bass fisherman?
Yes. As far as I can see, he is. (See! …. I can give short answers too.)
There’s evidence online besides Jim Wright’s own self-representation that he’s a retired attorney admitted to the bar in the District of Columbia. I have found no evidence that he’s admitted anywhere else but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he isn’t. The public sources for the State Bar for Virginia do not show him as an active member in its public listings and Jim would have had to request his listing to be removed, The Justia listing shows only Washington DC.
OK, well now we’ve looked at the person of Jim Wright a little, what about some of these organizations?
Thanks for reminding me! I will not address all the organizations here, because there are many other organizations tied to Jim Wright that may be involved with other partnerships or endeavors and may not be ministry related. There are old ones as well as current ones. I have no desire to go outside of that here, but I came across many others. That’s evidence to me that Jim is indeed something of an entrepreneur. How about if we start with Fulcrum Ministries?
What does Jim say that Fulcrum Ministries is?
Jim says this about Fulcrum Ministries on his Crossroad Junction personal blog.
My blog is not the web site for Fulcrum Ministries. Maybe some day we’ll get around to doing that.
In the meantime, here’s some basic information:
Fulcrum Ministries is nothing more than a legal framework – including government recognition where needed for tax or counseling confidentiality purposes – for small gatherings of believers who meet in folks’ homes, jail dormitories, homeless shelters, coffee houses and other improbable places for fellowship and to participate together in the joy of knowing Jesus. We don’t however, call ourselves “Fulcrum Ministries” or anything else – that name’s just a placeholder for legal purposes.
That’s pretty odd? So it’s just a name that can be used for legal purposes?
That’s what Jim says.
Is that how Fulcrum Ministries acts?
Not in my opinion. Fulcrum Ministries, as best as I can see is one legal entity that Jim Wright has created, which provides him the means to pretty much present anything he does or says publicly as part of a larger network of people which in turn he uses to try to amplify his own voice and his own importance.
Well, for one thing, Fulcrum Ministries is often used as a created entity in Jim’s other blogs, which “speaks.”
What do you mean by that?
When you read announcements and statements in these blogs the name of the “person” speaking often is “Fulcrum Ministries” and it uses terms such as “we” and “our.”
That seems odd? I thought Jim said it was just a legal placeholder and he and these unnamed other people didn’t call themselves “Fulcrum Ministries?”
That’s what he said. It’s not how he functions with it however.
So when Fulcrum Ministries speaks, who does the talking?
I have seen no evidence that is ever anyone other than Jim Wright.
But who else is he speaking for?
I don’t know. Jim Wright doesn’t say. He makes claims to be speaking for, depending upon the circumstance, the fellowships collectively, the other “elders” in those fellowships, and then in other contexts for victims, witnesses, the “dispossessed” etc. I’ve never seen any evidence however that there actually are other people who put their names to his statements, identify themselves and stand behind him in the public actions he takes.
Are you saying that there aren’t other people?
I’m saying I don’t know. I only see Jim Wright speaking. I hear claims of others. I don’t see them and they aren’t identified in anything but general terms. When I ask to contact them to visit a fellowship, I’m met with a brick wall. I contact the “official web site” of some of these organizations under Fulcrum Ministries and all the points of contact go exclusively to Jim Wright. I ask if there is any other representative of the organization to speak with, and I receive no reply.
This is what Jim Wright apparently defines as being “hostile.” He holds himself as the point of contact for multiple organizations, but the only voice I hear and the only person I see is Jim Wright. That is not normal. A network of organic churches is not a secret society. It is a fair question to ask, “What is Jim Wright hiding?” Are these organizations real or are they just a form of an internet “megaphone” to make someone’s voice louder? Jim likes to write about “cults.” Jim is the only face for all these claimed people. If that doesn’t smell of “cult” then I don’t know what does. Jim has accused other organic leaders of having poor track records in churches planted that haven’t lasted and can’t be tracked. Jim Wright holds himself up as a standard for organic church and he can’t verify, name or provide contacts for the ones he claims currently exist. Again a former member of the house church who attended as recently as a year ago, is not aware of any other fellowships that exist outside of the core group in the one home church that has meetings in other locations with essentially the same people in part or whole.
I get the impression that Jim Wright and his organizations may just be something like a movie stage set for an old Hollywood western. There’s just one set of old shacks and buildings but when a movie is going to be shot, stage hands make facades on the outside to create whatever image the script calls for. Fulcrum Ministries by being an ambiguous organization used as an umbrella for this network of organic churches, can take on any facade that Jim Wright’s script calls for, in my estimation. So when Jim Wright says it’s just a legal placeholder, in one sense he’s saying it can be whatever he wants it to be. It does “speak”. It does claim to “do” things. It provides for interesting “theater” when it “acts”.
There’s no reason however, that I can see to believe that Fulcrum Ministries is anything other than Jim Wright, acting according to Jim Wright’s dictates and needs. I am and I believe anyone else should be, completely skeptical of anything Jim Wright claims to say on behalf of unnamed others. I’m not saying there couldn’t be others. I just strongly suspect they are not the numbers nor is there any real formal collaboration to the degree that Jim Wright presents and leads people to believe and I won’t believe it until I have more than Jim Wright’s claims to the contrary.
Can you give me an example of what you mean?
Yes I can. Jim Wright claims repeatedly that he is an Organic Sower and represents a network of Organic informal fellowships. Jim Wright however, until at least 2009 was a part of local Institutional Churches in the Northern Virginia area. He mentions them repeatedly on his blogs by name and names individuals and pastors with whom he has “issues” or “concerns”. To look at the claims you’d think that each church is led by a coalition of demons set upon destroying the Kingdom of God collectively.
After Jim left both of these churches and began to use his blog sites to blast them as strongly as he could to “warn others” of the dangers that were there, Jim appears to have decided that organic or participatory church was what he wanted to be involved in and so he took the step of coming out of these Institutional Churches and presents himself online now as organic churches.
However, Jim did something following that, that seems rather odd and demonstrates what I mean about allowing Fulcrum Ministries to become whatever his specific needs in a specific time require. Jim actually contacted the local Ministerium of Institutional churches in Manassas Virginia, in which both of his former churches were a part, and sought admission as a representative of “Fulcrum Ministries.”
What? Why would Jim do something like that?
You’d have to ask Jim I guess. It’s my understanding that he attended a meeting or two and then fell away, but the fact remains, that for at least a short time, Jim effectively represented Fulcrum Ministries as an organized church or ministry seeking standing and seating with the other local Institutional Churches in the area.
Why would he want to be a part of a Ministerium that included two Churches he was so vigorously attacking in public?
I don’t know. There’s some fairly evident reasons that might present themselves I think. If you’re aggressively attempting to shame two churches and pastors, then getting yourself into a forum where just your presence can be perceived as a further statement against them, is pretty heady stuff for an angry person who is attempting to take his pound of flesh as it were. Also, more charitably, it may be that he was attempting to explore it as an avenue to get more exposure to his vision for his network of ministries. It certainly makes no sense however that he would attempt to define himself as a local Institutional Church.
That’s the point. When you create an amorphous, ambiguous loose organization, and you’re the only public voice and person representing it, you can present it however you want it to appear. When you’re attacking two other local churches, you can make yourself an Institutional Church. If you’re attacking leading voices and authors in the organic church community, then you can make yourself not only an organic fellowship, but claim that every meeting you’ve had in a prison dorm, halfway house, home or even just meeting in a coffee shop is now part of a network of organic churches. It’s especially easy if you refuse to answer questions about who you are and who you represent. You can maintain the image of speaking for a large contingency of unnamed and unnumbered people. Might they be there? I suppose, but have you ever called a church or ministry or person before and asked to visit because you’re curious and want to see them and then been told not to come? Even if you think someone is “hostile” or “skeptical” can you imagine Jesus telling somebody not to come to meet him and hear him? There’s certainly a lot of questions to ask. I wouldn’t accept the claim of anything terribly large or extensive without more than just Jim Wright’s word.
OK. What are these other organizations that are part of Fulcrum Ministries?
Jim identifies the following as the organizations of his legal framework on his blog as:
Pastoral Counseling: The link to this service goes to a post on Jim’s Crossroad Junction blog, where you find out that the Pastoral Counselor is Jim Wright.
Fostering Indigenous Churches: The link to this service goes to a post on Jim’s Crossroad Junction blog where you find out that the Church Planter, Sower, Foster-Parent is Jim Wright.
Redemption Homes: The link to this service goes to another WordPress Website, with 5 blog articles by Fulcrum Ministries (the framework speaks!) and, you guessed it, Jim Wright.
Nathan’s Voice: This link to this service goes to another blog site, which claims to be about helping victims of abusive churches and exploitive (sic) church leaders. There are no names given as to who comprise this voice in the about section, and the blog articles are all written by either (and this get repetitive) Fulcrum Ministries and Jim Wright.
In other words, Fulcrum Ministries and Jim Wright are the only voices and there’s no reason to believe that Fulcrum Ministries is anything or anyone other than Jim Wright in terms of who speaks, responds and acts on behalf of “Nathan’s Voice.”
Let’s take a closer look at Nathan’s Voice however, because that’s where Jim Wright launches many of his attacks.
Victims advocate groups are unusual entities in many ways. There has certainly been many public instances of scandal and cover-ups and a growing awareness of instances of abuse in Churches and involving Spiritual leaders. Often those who are victimized, have great difficulty speaking out for many reasons including pain, trauma, embarrassment, shame, the loss of spiritual community and fellowship, a tendency on the part of congregations to not want to believe the accusations etc. It’s entirely appropriate for there to be some level of anonymity for victims. It’s even appropriate for there to be at times some level of anonymity for witnesses, for similar reasons, although there’s certainly something to be said for people being accused to have the right to face their accusers and the witnesses, but that often is something that takes time and process to arrive at. There’s no reason that I can see however for those who are the representatives of the organization not to be named. In fact, that’s pretty much essential. The reputations and the credibility of those of the organization who are screening situations is foundational to the credibility of their voices collectively. That’s what is so puzzling about why Jim Wright refuses to name his collaborators whether they be fellow board members, elders, counselors in the community etc. Jim speaks highly of one other such organization which is called The Hope of Survivors. If you look at that site and click on the “Corporate” tab, you’ll find you can easily access the names of those who serve as leaders and volunteers in the organization. The Board of Directors is clearly identified. You find no such element for Nathan’s Voice. I find it hard to believe that any credible public organization claiming to speak for victims of sexual abuse would not provide the names and credentials of its board and leaders but Nathan’s Voice doesn’t and we’re left to dig into the blog articles to see that it is Jim Wright and Fulcrum Ministries alone that are the contacts, the voice and none others except those that Jim Wright asks us to trust are there behind the scenes.
That’s what it looks like to you?
Yes. It’s not hard to see that if you look at the voices represented, there is only Jim Wright and Fulcrum Ministries named. Fulcrum Ministries seems to be what is used when actual accusations are being made toward actual people other than general articles or references to people in the media which are public. That’s pretty straight forward, by having an organization make the accusation, you provide liability control and you also put in place layers that people have to go through in order to find out who is making the charges if there’s a desire to hold whomever is making charges accountable. So if you are the person making such a charge, and your personal concern is cloaking yourself from liability and responsibility for those claims then it might be a plausible strategy to create an organization, put it under another organization, and then speak with those two layers of separation from yourself in order to create a barrier and make it harder and more expensive for someone to find out who you really are.
I’m saying that while it isn’t too terribly hard to see through the organization to know that Jim Wright is the only point of contact and spokesman, that most people who come upon a blog article making such a claim, are going to take it at face value and presume that these other entities are more than a group of unnamed people with Jim Wright doing all the talking. For many people the perception becomes the reality. Articles like this are linked to on other blogs and spread on social media and people who have never heard of Jim Wright, Fulcrum Ministries and Nathan’s Voice assume this is something like a news release, or a reputable organization with named representatives and board members who are carefully screening the information they might put out which if wrong, has the potential to have devastating impact on somebody’s life and reputation. Would you want to be the target of accusations from a possible committee of one?
What makes you think that might be going on?
Nathan’s Voice has been up as a blog site for about two years. Jim Wright claims that Nathan’s Voice has helped hundreds of people with different forms of assistance. He doesn’t say who they are (understandably in many cases) nor does he say where they are or in what context they’ve been helped. Counseling could simply refer to the different forms of counseling that Wright and wife provide in their own activities or they may have other counselors that they refer people to. Wright, as I’ve noted before and I’m willing to correct this if he contacts me, doesn’t appear to be a practicing attorney admitted to the State Bar in Virginia based on the public listings in online directories I’ve examined. He may have other attorney’s whom he’s connected with in Virginia who are sympathetic or supportive to his cause. Again, I see no reason that such relationships wouldn’t be disclosed or such people on the “board” named. We only have Jim Wright to contact and he’s the only one speaking.
In the two years that Nathan’s Voice has been online as a blog, there have been two public accusations of abuse or identifying abusers.
That seems unusual for an organization that’s helped hundreds doesn’t it?
Yes, I think it does.
So who are the two accusations directed toward?
One of Wright’s former churches and an author in the Organic Church community whom Jim Wright has been attempting to confront on theological matters for more than a year.
What? Both of them have ties to Jim Wright personally?
Certainly the former church is a personal connection.
The national author Wright has never met, but people from Wright’s former churches that I’ve spoken with have told me that Wright actually has given out books by that author and supported his writings early on while he was exploring “organic church.” If you read Wright’s blogs you will see that early on, he tried to engage with the author publicly and after a short period of time, the author stopped interacting with him due to the growing volume of public contacts and the escalating tone of challenge and disagreement with the author in several areas mostly having to do with theology and what Jim Wright decried as “post-modernism” at work.
So Jim Wright has strong opinions?
Yes he does. He describes himself as evangelical with a reformed bent.
That means he has strong ties to the fundamentalist movement in general, has participated in the past with pro-life organizations, and has strongly opposed influences in theology such as liberalism and neo-orthodoxy.
Why should I care about that? I don’t even really know that that means.
I just state it so you know that Jim strongly believes that if you don’t accept his particular narrow view of theology that he sees you as a threat to stand against and oppose.
So that’s what happened with this other person who was accused by Nathan’s Voice?
After continued escalation, over a period of about a year, then accusations of sexual impropriety came out.
So you’re saying that there’s only been two accusations made by Nathan’s Voice and both were people Jim Wright had other issues with?
Yes. I’m saying that.
Wouldn’t a reputable victim’s organization recuse someone who had other issues with a potential public announcement that could ruin somebody’s life and reputation?
Yes. I think that would be the case. Such a person would certainly not be utilized in reviewing such a situation and then speaking as the sole voice of the organization. That would create a very clear conflict of interest and the appearance of a personal vendetta that a credible organization would want to avoid, I would think. I can’t and won’t say that I am certain that this is entirely the case here, but there’s no evidence that suggests otherwise and Jim Wright will not provide the names of other contacts who are part of the organization. Absent such contacts being provided, I personally have no reason to believe there is anything at work other than Wright solely or primarily being the one behind the whole operation. Remember, we’re not speaking of victims or witnesses here. We’re talking about people Wright calls co-Founders, Elders and Board Members.
Jim Wright could clear that up of course immediately by giving names and contact information, and he’s been asked, but he won’t do it. When I’ve asked in social media he has blocked me. When I’ve asked by email and form submission he’s ignored me. So perhaps now that I’m asking publicly in the same medium of his activities and representations, he’ll care enough to answer the questions.
It also raises the very serious question that if Jim Wright isn’t being transparent where he can and should be with fellow leaders of the Nathan’s Voice organization, then what is happening with the anonymous victims and witnesses behind the scenes?
So why isn’t Nathan’s Voice using someone else to speak?
I don’t know. Ask Jim Wright. Perhaps there’s nobody else who can do it?
Wow, so to sum up, what do you think all of this information and examination is indicative of?
Fulcrum Ministries is actually a pretty good name I think when you look at it.
A Fulcrum by definition is the point upon which a lever pivots. A lever is something that attempts to lift or move something. It appears to me that Jim Wright himself is the fulcrum upon which his organizations pivot for the purpose of lifting his own profile and reputation often at the expense of those he perceives as having thwarted him in his stated goals and vision. Two local churches have felt the wrath of Jim Wright spurned. A national author in the organic church area, didn’t give him the attention he felt his insights and thoughts demanded and we have three major, loud and aggressive attacks upon churches and church leaders with personal connections to Jim Wright who are accused of a seemingly endless and increasingly severe charges which are given using the names of other organization that have no other public voice than Wright himself. It certainly gives the impression of something much more than an angry man sitting in his home office banging out blog articles to hurt those people who stood in the way of what he wanted.
I can’t tell other people what to do, but my recommendation would be to be very careful. Be prepared for highly judgmental evaluations that will be measured by what Jim Wright believes is going on. Labeling is likely with words like, “post-modern”, gnostic, or existential being thrown around a lot. You can expect a lot of references to his network of churches and organizations to try and establish credibility and convince you that Jim Wright is somebody who is important and should be listened to. Overall, I’d suggest simply ignoring him, or once the escalation is noticed to go ahead and block him. He’s used to it. He’s been banned on many websites and in many social media forums. Often he’ll then take the “conversation” and put it up on his own blog where he can continue the conversation (really a monologue) and pronounce the final disposition of the issue which will be exactly what he stated in the first place. Jim Wright is an apologist, a litigator and a trained debater. There won’t be much discussion, you’ll simply serve as a foil to what he’s there to promote (himself, his beliefs and his organizations). There are many people who simply see him as an internet troll and they avoid him and treat him as such.
What should I do when I see accusations made by Jim Wright against people and churches?
Well, of course, even a stopped clock is right occasionally, but based upon Jim Wright’s personal history and track record any such accusations he comes forward with, should in my opinion, be treated with extreme suspicion and remain that way until there’s actual evidence with other people putting their names and reputations alongside of Jim’s and his organizations. Absent of that, you should just consider it the speaking out for attention of a man who has been hurt and frustrated in achieving his place with the visions of his organizations and you should especially check to see what relationship Jim Wright has had with those accused. To this point, the only people who have merited that attention have connections to him that provide an explanation to possible motives outside of the way he attempts to portray himself as a crusader and friend to the weak.
In fact, it really saddens me to say this, but there are legitimate issues out there and problems out there. If Jim Wright is interested in being that friend to victims and the dispossessed, it might not be a bad idea for him to stop targeting those people and organization where he clearly has a conflict of interest and his motives are fairly questioned. By acting in the manner he does, those who are real victims with real issues may in fact be having their cause diminished by someone who uses their cause to promote his own agenda and damage the reputations of those he’s been frustrated by in accomplishing his goals.
What should I do if Jim Wright targets me, my church, my friends or my church leaders?
Realize that Jim Wright doesn’t have a great deal of credibility online. His past accusations haven’t been picked up by more credible blog sources or Christian Media. In most cases, just ignore him. Engaging with him provides him with a platform to expand his accusations and continue in the image he wants to present to you and the way he wants to present you. If the charges are especially outrageous and serious, and you want to pursue it, you could pursue some form of libel charges. Know however that such actions are typically pretty expensive. Although Jim Wright may not be an admitted attorney in the venue you’re acting in, he can act as his own attorney and I suspect he would actually enjoy being sued in this manner. It gives him the additional platform to speak from as a martyr for his cause, and it allows him the position to use every tool at his disposal as a litigator to tie things up in court, increase your costs while he works for himself and then in the end to probably make some sort of settlement that will not be public but which in the end he can claim victory. Add to that the layers of corporate separation that he’s set up and it could be a long, expensive and emotionally draining endeavor. So that leaves Jim Wright and his organizations with a lot of barriers to keep you from holding them accountable. The costs of pursuing such an action could be very high.
Jim Wright’s blogs are currently all hosted on WordPress as the content server and they do have terms of service that provide recourse outside of the law. In addition, there are ways to file complaints if you believe Wright has violated those terms of service.
Check out the terms of service at: http://en.wordpress.com/tos/
Complaints can be filed at: http://en.support.wordpress.com/disputes/
A good way to confirm the information related to Jim Wright’s Blogs and Organizations is here: http://www.domaintools.com/
What if I have any questions about you and what you’re doing here or I want to ask you questions or correct something here?
I’m accessible on my blog here and I give information about myself. I’m not an organization. I’m not trying to pretend to be anybody or anything I’m not. I’m simply using my blog to give my experiences, the results of my looking at Jim Wright based on my local proximity to him, and my opinion based upon my observation of his online activities. Email me or message me. All comments on my blog are moderated and don’t go up unless I’ve reviewed and approved them. So don’t assume your comments will be posted if they aren’t germane to the issue. Jim Wright has made it clear on his blog that he will not post any responses on his blog countering his accusations unless they pretty much are just a declaration of surrender and agreement to his accusations.
I’m not quite so unrealistic and impressed with myself. If I find I can improve this blog article for accuracy I will gladly update it. My intent in doing this is to make people aware of who Mr Wright is, what his organizations are and what to consider when engaging with him. I have no desire to harm him. I simply wish to contain some of the harm he appears to enjoy doing and the attention he likes to attract to himself. As he does this in the public eye, he’s as open to public examination as the people he seeks to “expose”.
I will revisit this article from time to time and update it as necessary. This article is solely my possession and speaks for no-one else but me. These comments represent my good faith effort to accurately convey my opinions and findings as I’ve examined these issues. I am willing to make corrections as needed.
Aren’t you concerned about what Jim Wright might do to you for asking these hard questions?
Well, if history is any indicator, I likely will become a target for Jim Wright. I accept that. He’s made it clear he doesn’t like me, my beliefs or my questions.
I think there’s something very important here however. Independent of whether any of the accusations that Nathan’s Voice is making are true or not, it is not right for an organization taking it upon themselves to make them, to not be as transparent as possible and held to the highest standard possible itself. Anything that even smacks of vigilante justice and the personal destruction of churches and church leaders in the end is not helpful to the cause of genuine victims and witnesses. There are any number of alternatives to the way Fulcrum Ministries and Nathan’s Voice in particular are operating in this instance that wouldn’t leave the concerns being expressed here open to these basic criticisms. Either of these situations could have been handed over to other organizations where no such issues or apparent conflicts of interest existed. Jim Wright cannot be claiming to speak for victims when his own motives and desires present even the slightest hint of a personal agenda. When charges are released publicly as they have been, there has to be some level of internal control and balance that doesn’t risk making exaggerated or even fabricated claims.
If I have to take a hit for being the only person brave enough to stand up to Jim Wright to bring these issues to light and ask the tough questions then I’m willing to do it. This goes beyond my concern for my friend and asks Who is Jim Wright and these organizations and how can they operate in this manner without these questions being addressed and answered? Without that there’s no basis of credibility and we’re left to simply wait and see who will be next in the cross-hairs. If it’s me, then so be it.
Breaking New Ground by Returning to Old Ground
Frank Viola has been a significant part of my life and growth for quite some time. I feel like every time I read one of his books I get to know him a little better and I also come to know Christ through his eyes in a way that brings me closer to God.
So I was excited when I received a review copy of God’s Favorite Place on Earth. I’ve observed Frank going through some changes over the years. He’s always been someone who has a sharp and keen mind, is able to reference other writings and bring information together in a fresh and insightful manner. However, in the past few years I’ve seen a shift in his focus that has moved from pure teaching and analysis toward a greater focus upon Christ and relating how that focus lives out practically. Where in the past he’s done joint writing with George Barna, a lot of his writing in the recent few years has been with Leonard Sweet and the foot notes and teaching, while still there and excellent, has given way to a much more warm and personal read.
So I was really looking forward to this solo book from Frank and I was not disappointed.
God’s Favorite Place on Earth is about a place and some people. Lazarus’ voice and perspective is used to relate not just the facts but also the relationships, the emotions and the community of Jesus in Bethany. This is the place and the people that Jesus returned to, time and time again when he needed a retreat and reunite with his loved ones and families in the sense of his human experience. These were his special loved ones in addition to his disciples who entered his life in his ministry and preparation for all he was called to be and to do.
As I read through this book I was impressed and touched by how Frank has moved from didactic teaching to taking truth and putting it into a narrative format, which in places almost reads like poetry. There is dialogue. There is introspection. All of ties together and brings the reader to a place that evokes understanding, emotion and it makes Jesus more personal through the personal impact he had on those who loved him and knew him well before he entered into the time of his public ministry. It’s an entirely new dimension than anything I have seen from Frank before and it speaks to me of a reflection of a deeper walk with Christ in the season of life Frank appears to be going through now. It opens his mind but even more, it opens his heart.
I highly recommend this book, not surprisingly as I’ve highly recommended every book of Frank’s that I have read. This book in particular is well suited as a book study and discussion prompter and it reads well on its own or would serve well for a group to read and discuss together.
5 Stars and I continue to look forward to what Frank has to say in the days ahead.
(review originally posted on Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/review/R37QQNKWOV2L87/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm