Jeff Breakfast Knows What Happened to My Blog

Comedian and CEO of Pathymnal Jeff Breakfast reveals the reasons for my recent demise.

Whatever it was, we know Warren did it, and that’s final. Okay—It’s not so much what he DID DO as what he DIDN’T DO. But hey, you didn’t hear it from me. Fine, you did—He DIDN’T SHUT HIS MOUTH is what. How dare he blow the whistle we gave him! Where I come from, If a “truthteller” keeps calling out fraud and injustice like some jackass, he’s bound to get a taste of fraud and injustice all right—homegrown style. Stings like a really large amount of bees, don’t it? All of this is of course invisible and uninteresting to the public and as such, neither he nor anybody else will think to “sing” about our dubious dismissal in public.

That seems clear.

Being from the Seattle area, the Rev. Breakfast has had things to say about Mark Driscoll before. And he has something to say about him here:

Say, speaking of which, how would you like to hear a spanking new hymn composed by Mark Driscoll? These sweet strains of praise from a former record company executive will fill your soul with the feeling that his new full-priced hymnal just might bridge the gap between you and God. We’ll just go ahead and start playing it three seconds ago and oops you are already listening to it so might as well not stop now. From his sharpie to your ears, don’t you just feel like it would be great if you tried to love it? After ten seconds you can click away it if you don’t have the faith of a mustard seed that your life or private parts could use an authoritarian man ordering them around.

So go read the rest of Rev. Breakfast’s explanation, it will bewilder and amuse.

 

Anxious Bench Asks Patheos: What’s Going On?

Today, Anxious Bench, a group blog at Patheos, featured two posts which questioned the termination of my blog. I will take them in the order posted today.

So, what is going on at Patheos?

Written by Kristin Du Mez, she wonders who was behind the move to end my blog at Patheos.

With so little information, it wasn’t hard for Throckmorton—and many of the rest of us—to jump to some conclusions. Throckmorton, of course, is known for writing on some of the biggest scandals in the Christian subculture. “A Christian whistleblower,” he’s blogged about Mark DriscollMars Hill ChurchK.P. Yohannan, and Gospel for Asia. Connecting the dots, Throckmorton explains: “Patheos was at the center of the Mars Hill Church and Gospel for Asia stories and now they host Mark Driscoll and K. P. Yohannan.” (Throckmorton has moved his blog to www.wthrockmorton.com, though Patheos has not responded to his request to migrate comments on his posts to his new site).

She then quotes Dan Wilkinson who provided an overview of BN Media’s connections. Go over and read the rest. I am not sure how long she will be there.

Can Patheos Continue to “Host the Conversation on Faith”?

I’m going to say, probably not.

It wasn’t always that way according to Chris Gehrz who wrote about his attraction to Patheos:

Perhaps most of all, I was impressed that Patheos recruited Warren Throckmorton in 2013. A psychology professor at a conservative Christian college who has publicly rethought his views on sexual identity therapy, Warren is even better known for his investigations of popular evangelical figures like David Barton and Mark Driscoll. That Patheos’ Evangelical channel would host someone as unflinchingly honest and potentially controversial as Warren spoke volumes to me as I considered the Anxious Bench offer. This was a “big tent” evangelicalism, open to self-criticism and dissent and not afraid to challenge readers.

So I was troubled to learn that Patheos abruptly endedWarren’s blog last month, for reasons that remain somewhat mysterious. Warren first reported that he was simply told that his blog no longer met the “strategic objectives” of Patheos…

Once you start getting rid of material because someone is offended or bothered by it, then it isn’t long before other bloggers bother someone else. Apparently, I bothered an investor, an owner, an advertiser, a potential writer or someone who wanted content erased. I still don’t know. Until it the “objectives” are made clear, the bloggers on the platform can’t feel secure that the conversation on faith will continue.

 

 

On Being Booted Off Patheos: Patheos Bloggers Speak Out

Patheos blogger Fred Clark (aka Slacktivist Fred) says I may have been “Throcked.” He offers this term to describe being fired to appease far-right donors and to warn others not to anger those donors.

Whatever the reason or reasons, some Patheos bloggers have bravely taken to their Patheos blogs to criticize the move to dismiss me from the platform.  This post serves as a summary of those posts.

Slacktivist

If it’s good enough for Andre Braugher, it’s good enough for me

Some excerpts:

Warren Throckmorton’s fine blog is no longer here on Patheos. He got booted off, with no coherent explanation. That was rude — rudely disrespectful toward someone whose long presence here has enormously enriched every conception of Patheos as a community or a conversation.

And it was a radical departure of the entire premise and ethos of Patheos as a platform for writers and bloggers from every imaginable religious perspective. It’s a violation of explicit and implicit promises made to everyone whose blog is hosted at this site. Not cool.

Two big points. One, Patheos didn’t treat me right. Two, what was good about Patheos is now in question.

In a previous post, Clark wondered why Patheos simply didn’t offer to move the blog to the Progressive Channel:

Patheos’ evangelical channel has changed its shape and tone quite a bit over the years since it first started with the strange duo of me and Scot McKnight. I fully understood when they booted me over to the “progressive Christian” channel — an awkward, we-need-to-call-this-somethingcategory that has since become a widely used term. But I can’t imagine a defensible notion of the “strategic objectives” for that channel that wouldn’t have room for Warren Throckmorton’s terrific blog.

Maybe the ever-shifting, perpetually negotiated boundaries of “evangelical” have reached a point where Doc Throck no longer fits into the now-Driscoll-friendly shape of that channel here at Patheos. OK, fine, then move him over to another channel. That was the whole idea of Patheos in the first place — there’s a channel for everyperspective, right? Not doing that just … smells bad.

Also too: It’s never a good sign when people start talking about “strategic objectives.”

Mercy Not Sacrifice: The Blog of Morgan Guyton

Early out of the gate was Morgan Guyton with this question:

Why Did Patheos Evangelical Push Out A Whistleblower Blog?

Some excerpts:

I’ve just been informed that the Patheos Evangelical channel has closed down the blog of evangelical whistleblower Warren Throckmorton, who was most renowned for his exposes on the plagiarism and abusive leadership of Mark Driscoll at the former Mars Hill Bible Church. Recently, Patheos Evangelical started hosting a blog for Mark Driscoll. It’s very hard not to see these events as interrelated.

They may be related. Driscoll is coming out with a new book and it could help him to get rid of all those Patheos links to his past difficulties with publishing and citations. However, I am not convinced. The material remains active on the web and my articles on The Daily Beast are more visible than the blog posts.

Guyton concludes:

There is nothing Christian about maneuvering in the shadows. Patheos Evangelical owes an explanation to all the bloggers in the Patheos community because these kinds of actions impact all of our credibility.

Preventing Grace with Anne Kennedy

One evangelical blogger mentioned the event without much comment. Anne Kennedy wrote:

Was curious and sad to see that Warren Throckmorton is no longer blogging at Patheos. You can read what he says here. He has moved all his content to a new cyber home if you want to bookmark his page.

UPDATE:

Anne added a post on May 30 with a more specific lament:

I do not pretend to be able to understand why Dr. Throckmorton does not meet “strategic purposes.” I didn’t know we had any. I was under the impression that we were all wandering around the internet every day, talking about faith, theology, politics, movies, books, food, culture, news, and whatever else happened by. Dr. Throckmorton is brilliant on the breaking news part. I have often been, I am sorry to say, jealous of his ability to dig out the news. Would that jealousy had compelled me to work harder. It is a great loss that he is no longer here. I don’t know how to make sense of it.

Other mentions

One occasional Anxious Bench writer had a lot to say although it was on his own blog. John Fea did three posts on the incident (here, here, and here).

I do know that many bloggers are discussing the issues involved (e.g., here) and are quite concerned about their futures at Patheos. They should be. I had no warning and was under the impression that my work was valued.

If you have written about this and don’t see your post here, please let me know.

Unfundamentalists

Former Patheos blogger Dan Wilkinson wrote a nice piece examining who owns Patheos. After examining those individuals, Wilkinson ends by writing:

Though Patheos continues to remain silent on the issue, it’s not hard to imagine why Dr. Throckmorton’s evangelical watchdog blog failed to meet the “expectations” of Patheos’ conservative Christian owners. Perhaps the only thing that’s surprising is that they let his blog last as long as it did.

 

 

Dear Patheos: What Expectations Did You Have?

In January 2017, evangelical bloggers at Patheos received an email from Patheos Evangelical Channel manager Barton Gingerich about changes coming to the site. BN Media had just purchased Patheos and planned to make changes to the writer’s agreement.

One change was the level of participation expected from bloggers. Tier 1 bloggers would be expected to write three times a week; tier 2 bloggers only had to post twice. Tier 1 bloggers would be paid slightly more.  In my email, Gingerich added this personal note to me:

Warren, due to your incredible frequency and important posts, you are a Tier 1 blogger.

In January 2017, my posts were “important.” By mid-2018, they didn’t fit the “strategic objectives” of the organization and my blog was completely removed from the site with only a day’s warning. In my view, my style or content had not changed during that time period. Since Patheos has not informed me, I don’t know what they think changed.

I feel this is important for me to say since Patheos Director of Content Phil Fox Rose sent an email to some bloggers yesterday implying that I knew their expectations “many months ago.” This email was sent to me by several Patheos bloggers:

As some of you know, Patheos decided to end its partnership with Warren Throckmorton. This was done after long and thoughtful consideration. The decision was not made based on a triggering event or post, and Mr. Throckmorton was advised of our expectations many months ago. This is not reflective of some change in policy. It was a specific case. This decision should not give any blogger reason to think their status is in question. We’re sorry the lack of details allows for speculation, but our commitment remains as always to be the place where conversation about faith is happening in the most robust and dynamic way. Nothing will change that. If you would like to discuss this further, please reach out to Ben, and I’m happy to talk too.

What were the expectations and how did I fail to meet them? Since I was not aware of any expectation relating to my blog (beyond the same agreement all other bloggers sign), I don’t know what Mr. Rose is talking about.

I suspect that current bloggers would like to know what the “expectations” are.

This isn’t a good way to treat people. I don’t need every detail about why they now don’t like my “important posts,” but I would like a rational explanation of the key factors that went into their business decision.

The Blog at Patheos is “410 Gone”

I hope to have more to say about it soon but for now, I can report that I am blogging here now at wthrockmorton.com.  Patheos leadership informed me yesterday that my blog no longer fit their “strategic objectives.” Since I don’t know what those are, I can’t say how I didn’t fit them.

In any case, thanks to friend J.D. Smith, the blog was quickly migrated with the content to this ad free site. The downside is that I have been unable as yet to find out from Patheos how to get my comments moved along with the posts.

What a strange turn of events. Patheos was at the center of the Mars Hill Church and Gospel for Asia stories and now they host Mark Driscoll and K.P. Yohannan. All of the those Patheos links about Mars Hill and GFA are now erased. The content is here and archived elsewhere but admittedly, it will be harder to find.

 

Patheos Links of Interest: Kirk Franklin, Anxious Bench, Godless in Dixie, Stacy Dash, Kyle Roberts

Reading an Anxious Bench post by Thomas Kidd, it occurred to me that Patheos is a very diverse site. With that in mind, I decided to go exploring. Here I am going to post some links I found interesting. I am not recommending everything said by these authors but am posting them because I think they might be of interest to readers.
Should Evangelicals Embrace the “Benedict Option”? Well, should they/we?
We Love Close Calls… Until They Happen to Us – Nice devotional post on waiting through hard times by Kirk Franklin. Wait, what? Kirk Franklin blogs at Patheos?! Nice.
I Was Wrong – Stacy Dash apologized for her defense of Bill Cosby.
Stop Saying that Teaching Children Creationism is Child Abuse – A good one from the Atheist channel’s Neil Carter.
“Can We Go Home, Now?” My Mom, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Our Longing for Home Kyle Roberts on the Progressive channel writes a truly touching reflection on his mom’s wish to go home.
I hope to go exploring more often…

Happy 5th Anniversary Patheos and 5 Blog Highlights

Patheos is celebrating five years in business and to help out with the fun, I’ve been asked to post some highlights of my brief time here along with a video.  Since I have only been on board since October 31, 2013, I have come late to the party but have picked out five posts and an honorable mention category to honorably mention.
I thought I would celebrate by remembering my first post, the most viewed post, the most “I can’t believe I’m reporting this” post, a post I hated to write, and the last post.
First post: Rick Green: 5,000 Likes On Facebook Could Trigger A Senate Run For David Barton (UPDATED) – I did several posts on David Barton’s flirtation with a primary challenge to Texas Senator John Cornyn. Despite Cornyn being quite conservative, the Texas tea party thought him soft on Obamacare, immigration and the national debt. Much to the dismay of comedians and columnists everywhere, Barton eventually decided not to run.
Most viewed postA Former Mars Hill Pastor Speaks Out and Why Others Are Afraid: The Mars Hill Church Non-Disclosure Agreement – The various stories coming out of Mars Hill Church have been quite popular with readers. I have met some wounded brothers and sisters over the past several months. Former Mars Hill members and staff have begun to speak out and push the church leadership for reconciliation and healing of various offenses ranging back to at least 2007 for many and before that for others. More on this topic is available here.
The most “I can’t believe I’m reporting this” postDavid Barton And Kenneth Copeland: PTSD Can Be Cured By Bible Verses And Rebuking Satan – The title says most of what is important about this one. On a Kenneth Copeland broadcast, Copeland said psychology and drugs were of no help to soldiers with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. Rebuking the devil was offered as a cure. Barton agreed and added that just warriors shouldn’t have regrets which lead to PTSD. The Gospel Coalition’s Joe Carter called the advice “gospel destroying” and “demonic.”
A post I hated to writeParliament Spokeswoman: Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill Has Passed (UPDATED) – Introduced initially in 2009, I fought Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill from the beginning. The saga of the bill which originally proposed the death penalty for same-sex affection of any kind became a global story with the world keeping watch on the nation of Uganda. Eventually, Uganda’s strong man president Yoweri Museveni decided the bill helped him politically in Uganda and in the face of a torrent of international pressure to scrap the matter, he agreed to support and sign the bill.
Last postMars Hill’s Board of Advisors and Accountability Hints at Secret Meetings – Besides this one, the last post was about Mars Hill Church’s Board of Advisors and Accountability. The BOAA has defended pastor Mark Driscoll and the other two executive elders despite multiple charge which have been filed. The latest post includes comments from the BOAA board chair.
An honorable mention goes to the Mark Driscoll plagiarism scandal – The month after I started at Patheos, I wrote my first post examining the accusations of plagiarism against Mark Driscoll. The first post evaluated the claims made by Janet Mefferd and the eventually I found many other instances of plagiarism in Driscoll’s books (see this handy chart for all of the citation errors I have found to date).
[youtube]http://youtu.be/l0WRZg7sbk0[/youtube]
I have enjoyed blogging at Patheos and appreciate the hard working folks on the staff. Looking forward to the next five years!
 

Blog News: I'm Moving To Patheos

Not all of the details are final but I should be fully moved to Patheos by sometime next week. The new address is here: https://www.wthrockmorton.com/
Some details remain. All of the comments are not yet showing up there; this will be accomplished soon.  Some of the ancient embedded videos may not show up since they have been removed from their sources.
The comment system there is the Disqus system so to continue commenting you will need a free account with that service. You will get that information when you first begin to comment. Go ahead and try a comment there and see how it goes.
All of the links will still work and redirect the reader to the new location. All of the content will be there.
I want to say thanks to the dedicated folks at Patheos and elsewhere who have been working with me to make this happen.
I am looking forward to joining their group of diverse writers. Patheos offers a wealth of interesting content; I hope you will check out some of the other writers there. And by all means, keep pointing your browser my way