Now that you’ve had a chance to read both sides, it might be helpful to take another look at NewSpring’s big announcement yesterday.
In February an employee of the church met with this individual
I didn’t start blogging about NewSpring until March, and this meeting was April 1. If they start their post with such an easily refutable error, how much confidence can you have in what else they write?
The “employee of the church” was Brad Cooper, who had asked me to meet with him. Brad is a senior leader in the church; he’s a little more than an employee. Why hide his name? Is it shameful to have met me?
“This individual” is me. J-A-M-E-S-D-U-N-C-A-N. It’s not that difficult.
in an attempt to resolve any misunderstandings and listen to his concerns.
That’s news to me. We met for coffee for almost two hours to chew the fat. Afterwards, Cooper said he enjoyed the meeting and wanted to do it again.
Since that meeting, the frequency and intensity of the critical blogs have increased.
Is someone keeping statistics? I thought they didn’t read this.
Why would this be a surprise? Do they assume that meeting a person means that the meetee will no longer have any reason to disagree with their ideas?
In the summer of 2009, one NewSpring employee and two volunteers,
It was three volunteers (Elgin, Milstead, Dickson). Who aren’t they counting?
acting on their own accord and unbeknownst to the Church
Except that it was widely known within the church. Two full-time leaders subscribed to it.
began a wholly inappropriate campaign directed at the author of the blog site.
I agree, but do Duffey and Moorehead? They seem to have had a very high tolerance for the inappropriate.
None of their actions were known to,
Except for Moorehead and their communications director.
or condoned by,
Except by Duffey and Moorehead.
the Church or its leadership in any way.
Wilson knew about it in enough of a way to prompt him (or someone) to call their attorney.
When the Church’s leadership was contacted by the author of the blog site regarding the activities of these three individuals,
I have four signed confessions. Who are they not counting?
A NewSpring executive pastor and his wife adopted a child that, coincidentally,
There are a lot of coincidences in this story.
the author of the blog site and his wife were also seeking to adopt.
A bit more than seeking. We’d been selected months earlier and drove to the hospital with a car seat to pick the baby up to bring him home.
Adoption is a legal process and it is a matter of public record that the Church was not a party to this adoption
Of course it’s a legal process. That’s what adoption is. How does that help their argument?
They have a public record of their non-involvement. Can we see it? I thought that, when done properly, there are no public records of adoptions. They’re sealed and are very definitely private records.
Do churches regularly adopt children? How are churches parties to adoptions?
nor did the Church attempt to influence its outcome in any way.
Who knows? Maxwell seemed pretty confident that the outcome had been influenced. Milstead did a little victory dance to celebrate some sort of influence.
On October 31st, the author of the blog site emailed the Church broadly outlining complaints of harassment and interference with his adoption efforts,
Oops. Someone didn’t check this out. On October 31, I emailed Wilson, pointing out that the leadership couldn’t just dismiss Maxwell as a loose canon. I didn’t mention the adoption at all in this email; at this point I didn’t even know that Wilson was involved in the adoption.
I did email Julie Dixon on October 26 to ask if she’d meet with me to help me understand why Milstead seemed to have implicated her in the parent switch. Three days later she replied to me and told me that she was withdrawing a verbal agreement she’d made by phone earlier in the day (at which point she hadn’t read my email) to meet with me the next week.
Curiously, the subject line of the email had changed from “We need to talk” to “Re: note from Julie Dixon.” Why would Dixon change the subject line to remind herself that this was her note? NewSpring seems to have an email forwarding protocol where staffers change the subject line of an email to tell the recipient whose message they’re forwarding. For example, my message to Cooper on June 29 was titled, “Request for a meeting.” When I got the response from Wilson a week later, it was titled, “Re: Fwd: Request for a meeting – from James Duncan.” Cooper or his assistant apparently altered the subject line to tell Wilson that the message was coming from me.
I’m speculating, but see if this makes sense: On the 29th Dixon forwards Wilson my email from the 26th about Milstead’s statement because she knows Wilson is a player. Wilson’s assistant filters his emails and alters the subject line to “Re: note from Julie Dixon” and sends it on to Wilson. Wilson responds to Dixon, who has told him that we’re going to be meeting the next week, and suggests that she cancel it.
On the 31st, Wilson has two messages from me in his in box. One directly from me, and the other forwarded to him from Dixon. He seems to have conflated the two complaints into one. Remember, I did not talk to Wilson about adoption on October 31. In fact, I have never mentioned the word adoption in my messages to Wilson, just in case he really didn’t know what had happened that day in July.
For the church not being a party to the adoption or influencing it in any way, it is interesting that my email to Dixon was interpreted as if it were directed to the church.
Back to the message:
Those grievances also included his belief that the church knowingly and willingly allowed this harassment and even encouraged it.
Except that Duffey had encouraged it, and Moorehead did allow it. At least, he didn’t stop it.
a demand for payment of one and a half million dollars ($1,500,000.00) if he was allowed to share the pulpit with Pastor Perry during the Church’s weekend services or through various other “public options” in order to denounce the Church, its leadership, and its “culture of hatred.”
Here’s what I actually wrote:
- Perry Noble acknowledges (in a sermon, at a press conference, or on a blog post that links to a coordinated statement on my blog) that a significant culture of hate existed within his church, and that Maxwell, Moorehead and the other volunteers acted consistently with the expectations of that culture, which he rejects and apologizes for.
- Noble and I together outline the general contours of the harassment campaign, including the targeting of my family, and the racist, homosexual and generally vile content of Maxwell’s writings.
- Noble and I announce the emotional distress that Maxwell and Milstead intended to inflict on my wife and me after the failed adoption.
- Noble and I announce that the church has generously compensated my family for our trouble, though not the amount of compensation.
If can find “denounce” or “share the pulpit” in this list, please let me know.
In my conversation with the attorney, I told him that I assumed that coordinated blog posts was the easiest and most likely way that this might be done, so when you read the “together” in the last three options, that’s the assumption that I’m working with.
You might be curious why I didn’t want the amount of the compensation revealed. The whole idea of this option was reconciliation and peace. We wanted the church to be happy that they were compensating us, and we didn’t want to have to keep defending ourselves or the church for the settlement, be it large or small.
The Church, of course, rejected both offers.
They rejected it, but not “of course.” They flew their attorney in from Texas to listen to my offers. They took more than two weeks to decide on how they’d respond to the offers, and they came back to me two more times to clarify the shape of the offers. For an “of course” decision, they wasted a lot of money on their attorney’s travel and hours.
On the follow-up phone call the day after our meeting, the attorney asked me for a script for what Noble would say in his announcement. The whole concept behind the proposal was that Noble would own the statement himself and would be saying it because he actually believed it, so I told him that it wouldn’t work unless Noble wrote the script himself. I gave him some ideas for what he could say, but I left the rest up to Noble.
On close examination, this statement falls apart. Nobody checked dates or emails, making telling and avoidable errors. If rejecting the offers was so “of course,” they had more than two weeks to prepare this statement. In the life of the church, it’s obviously an important one; they made its dissemination their top priority yesterday afternoon.
Who wrote this? Who checked it? Did the attorney look over it? Someone goofed.
To me, this looks like something that was put together at the last minute. Why wait so long to say no, unless you had been thinking about saying yes?
NewSpring Church will not be subjected to hollow and exaggerated threats
They voluntarily subjected themselves to the “threats” when they asked their attorney to meet with me. If you don’t want to be subjected to threats, don’t meet with me. Continue to ignore me.
I’m waiting for them to explain what is hollow and exaggerated. Did their liability insurance company think the same thing?
The Church is offering ministerial counseling to its former employee and two volunteers
Again, who aren’t they counting? I don’t know.
Pastor Perry and NewSpring continue to pray for all involved in this unfortunate situation.