So apparently Shaunti Feldhahn, Emerson Eggerichs, and Kevin Leman were all talking with Mark Gungor about what to do about me.
This is an odd story, and a little hard to follow, but bear with me.
Do you remember the kerfuffle in early April with Mark Gungor? He had written a long Facebook post about why, if you’re in a sexless marriage, it’s grounds for separation, and I wrote a comment that our survey of 20,000 had found that sexlessness is a symptom of another problem, and usually not the issue itself. It’s better to identify the underlying issue and deal with THAT.
He took offense, started banning any of my supporters, and came on Twitter to chastise me. It was very bizarre. I talked about it briefly in a podcast, and a bit in this post on why I’m not trying to cancel people.
Anyway, on Friday, Dee at the Wartburg Watch published an audio recording of a conversation between a sexual assault survivor and Mark Gungor.
Four and a half years ago, a young woman named Lexi was sexually assaulted by someone at her church where Mark Gungor is the pastor. A friend of hers was also assaulted. When they went to Mark, the first thing out of his mouth was, “What were you girls thinking?”
When Lexi saw me calling out Mark on Twitter, she decided to come forward with her story. She hadn’t said anything publicly before, but after seeing someone call him out, she decided to as well. And that Saturday she phoned him, and recorded the conversation (that’s legal to do in Wisconsin, even if the other person doesn’t know).
I’ve listened to it; it’s quite telling. Dee does a great job of breaking it down.
And Sarah McDugal has written an AMAZING post with a transcript, too–CHECK IT OUT HERE!
Here are some of her questions after listening:
Mark says that it’s only (considered) rape if the police press charges.
He also says (at the 5:00 mark) “if it was a major assault he’d be in jail.”This is concerning since few rapes are ever prosecuted. He appears to be woefully uneducated in this area…
There appears to be a lack of pastoral care for Lexi.
Lexi says that after she left his church after he treated her so badly and she stopped believing in God. His response? “I don’t hate you.” He shows no care for her at all. No follow-up questions to see if she’s okay. Again, he appears to be poorly trained, or is he exhibiting a poor emotional quotient. Maybe both?
He says those who “think I’ve destroyed their lives” don’t matter.
Mark says that everyone gets accused of something, so hurting people doesn’t really matter. “I’m in front of hundreds of thousands of people. You can’t make them all happy.” It seems he means that he doesn’t have to address criticism!
He appears to imply that if he destroys the lives of 500 people, it doesn’t matter, because every professional has destroyed at least some lives,
My question. “Is he even a professional? What sort of license does he have? ”
It really is astounding how he talked to her.
But one of the more relevant parts of the conversation for this blog is what he said about me.
Even though Lexi called him to talk about how he handled her case years ago, he kept turning the conversation back around to me and what my Facebook followers were doing on social media.
He said that you were all crazy and offensive and he was deleting hundreds of comments because you were all offensive. I have dozens of screenshots people sent me of their comments before they were deleted; they were polite and referenced Bible verses and simply asked Mark to calm down and deal with this issue appropriately.
But he also said that Emerson Eggerichs, Shaunti Feldhahn, and Kevin Leman all talked with him about what to do about me.
Rebecca and I asked on a podcast a few weeks ago why none of these authors has apologized or responded to The Great Sex Rescue, except Shaunti Feldhahn, who issued a statement against it (I released one in response; hers is linked within mine so you can see them both).
Now we learn that the authors have indeed been talking together, and were wondering what to do about me. Dee sums it up with some background information here:
Sheila Gregoire appears to have been a target when it comes to Mark Gungor
I know some of that is hard to follow, so here’s a little more context:
- When Mark says that he is being criticized for talking about Sheila in sexual terms, he’s referring to this tweet.
- Mark says Shaunti Feldhahn has written a statement about Sheila (although Mark calls her Shaunti FeldMAN). Sheila wrote one in response. She links to Shaunti’s in hers, so you can read them both here.
- Mark constantly claims that people were “attacking him” and “calling him evil.” For the record, I’ve seen the screenshots and the Twitter conversations, and Sheila never attacked anyone personally, nor did I see her followers doing that. The only people I saw calling people evil and calling names were Mark and his followers.
- Shaunti Feldhahn (For Women Only), Kevin Leman (Sheet Music), and Emerson Eggerichs (Love & Respect) have all written best-selling marriage books that Sheila Gregoire shows in her book The Great Sex Rescue contain very harmful messages that hurt women’s marital and sexual satisfaction.
So Mark Gungor is on social media calling me “disgusting”, saying “sadly, she’s real”, laughing about me in sexual terms, and leaving misogynistic memes all over his social media–and these authors would rather conspire behind the scenes with him address the concerns that we found with their work after surveying 20,000 women.
For reference, here are just a few of the memes on his social media right now:
For clarification, we did not survey 20,000 people to attack these authors’ books.
What we did was fourfold:
- Measure people’s marital and sexual satisfaction
- Measure how much people agreed with certain key evangelical teachings about sex and marriage
- Compare those measures and see which evangelical beliefs cause marital and sexual satisfaction to plummet
- Look at our best-sellers and identify where those beliefs are found
We happened to find problematic teachings in their books, and showed it, using their own words, in The Great Sex Rescue.
The Great Sex Rescue
Changing the conversation about sex & marriage in the evangelical church.
What if you’re NOT the problem with your sex life?
What if the things that you’ve been taught have messed things up–and what if there’s a way to escape these messages?
Welcome to the Great Sex Rescue.
And you know what? There were problematic teachings in some of my older books and on this blog, so I’ve apologized, taken stuff down, edited stuff, and tried to make it right.
It isn’t that hard.
What I didn’t do was conspire behind the scenes with people who say in their “comedy” videos that without sex, men would have nothing to do with women. I didn’t conspire with someone who calls women untrainable.
The fact that they would rather do that than address the very real concerns in our book is very, very disturbing and depressing to me.
The fact that they contacted Mark while this was playing out–and while the rest of the world saw how appalling his behaviour was–and they thought it was good to ally with him, is very disturbing and depressing.
I’m just really thrown today, and I’ve been processing this all weekend and been quite down about the state of the evangelical church, and just quite hurt in general. Why do people care more about their platforms than about the sheep?
I guess it all really can be summed up in what Mark Gungor said at the end–he doesn’t care about the 500 lives he ruined, if he helped so many.
But we serve a Savior who left the 99 to go after the 1.
To me, this is the most jarring bit–how Mark talked about this phone call in a sermon the next day. Lexi, the woman who was the other half of this phone call, took this clip from Celebration Church’s Facebook Page:
I find this the most disturbing of all–the cavalier way he treats communion.
Anyway, I’m not going to say much more about that. We’ll address it in the podcast this week. But somehow I’ve become part of a news item in Christian circles, and I thought I should address it today.
If there’s any particular angle you think we should take in the podcast, let me know. We’re recording it this afternoon!
Sheila Wray Gregoire
Founder of Bare Marriage
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