Deny, Attack, Reverse the Victim and the Offender
Steven Wedgeworth has posted an article claiming he has been doxed and deepfaked by a malicious group of people. I would be one of those malicious people, because I shared the Genevan Commons Screenshots website on my blog. And I did that because I have been harassed by this group for over 2 ½ years now. Waiting for someone in the group to speak out. Waiting after confronting people in the group. Waiting for the people I’ve told about it to do something. Waiting while my reputation was continuously slandered, my looks picked apart, while they go after anyone who hosts me or says something positive about my work, while they go after my own session, and plots increased to “stop my agenda.” I drove to speaking engagements in fear, knowing these men have joked around about showing up and have called ahead to warn churches to guard their families from my danger. Waiting. No more.
Wedgeworth claims that he first had grief for the women maligned when the GC activity was exposed. And he reflected on whether he had been complicit, wanted to examine his heart. But that didn’t last long, because a friend told him he was deepfaked, quoting, “[A] deepfake is something like an extension of a doctored photograph to include audio and especially video, which is only really possible using advanced machine-learning algorithms and fairly powerful computers.
He claims that pictures and quotes were doctored to make it look like he and Mark Jones were participating in ways and saying things they were not to manipulate people viewing the website. He continuously refers to the site as a discernment site. Discernment sites have negative reputations, so who is manipulating the reader here? And with this huge accusation, the alarm is set: The website is a total fake! Then the tone of his article switched gears into DARVO mode. Now he is the victim.
After saying his “deepfake” wasn’t in the ordinary kind, but uses the same methodology, Wedgeworth emphasizes the private nature of the 1,000 + members who were able to see me and multiple others be trashed on a regular basis. But he wasn’t really paying attention, he says, because he was a member of so many groups. I have empathized with this response, as it is valid for a number of people on the membership list. I’ve been there and done that. Many readers can empathize with being in that situation. He says he left the group when he recognized an “unhealthy ethos and tone was dominating the group.” Wow, what a downplay and minimizing of what was going on in Genevan Commons. I guess there’s less responsibility on him to rebuke and pursue apologies to the people maligned by this group if it’s merely an unhealthy ethos.
But is that all it was? And is this just something Wedgeworth noticed from the outside looking in all the sudden after not paying attention to this group, or was he a part of it? I’ve seen Wedgeworth’s participation in Genevan Commons. And it wasn’t appropriate. He wasn’t ignoring it either. He was in it. He was partaking. Back in the fall, someone from Genevan Commons sent me hundreds—LET THAT SINK IN—hundreds of screenshots of reviling behavior from this group, as this person felt I had a right to know. Imagine that. From morning to night the screenshots were flooding in with their verbal abuse. Do you know what the physiological effect of something like that is? And during this time, both Wedgeworth and Jones were participating pretty regularly, especially as they were all about setting up bad reviews for Rachel Miller’s book, Beyond Authority and Submission.
But no worries, DARVO to the rescue. Any screenshots of them are a result of malicious deepfake. First, he goes after the organization of the evidence: “But this evidence is not organized in the way that it would have been in the actual Facebook group.” Well that is true. And very revealing of Wedgeworth. He’s missing it. Someone like me, or obviously the person who set up the Genevan Commons Screenshot website, does not view the posts as if we are a callous GC member. Whereas someone like me reads the comments and goes Whoa, this makes me sick, he wants to be like, “But wait a sec, that’s not how we started, that’s not what we want to emphasize.” He wants to decide how we view the posts. The Screenshot website views GC from the perspective of those who are SLANDERED. That is a very important point. So of course the slander and bad behavior is what is going to be emphasized. Because the slander is what hurts us. The site creator is not going to emphasize his post about Cornelius Van Til or natural theology or whatever, but how they hurt and abused people with their group.
See where he says this: “But in nearly every case, the problematic comment appears in the middle of a lengthy thread.” He is minimizing the problematic comment and wants us to look at the OTHER things. It wasn’t so bad. But again, it’s like saying, “Oh don’t look at that knife there, look instead at these gentle slaps and complex theological arguments we made elsewhere. Don’t look there, look HERE.” He is dictating how we should view the site from his perspective, the male perspective. He is shutting down the female perspective. No wonder they do not like my writing!
Nevermind that plenty of awful threads were started with an awful post that set the whole thing up. Nevermind
Then he moves to the problem he calls the data dump, saying, “In addition to the misleading framing of the evidence, there is no sincere attempt at interpretation.” Just because it’s not his interpretation doesn’t mean there is no interpretation. There is interpretation in intentionally highlighting the horrible comments. It interprets them with the definitions given, emphasizing their weight. Things weigh heavy because they are heavy. There isn’t a lot of commentary there, as the reader is able to see for themselves.
Then he moves on to what is left out. Again, here he is minimizing the weight of the slander.
What is a few hundred sexist and racist comments up against an unknown number of harmless comments? What is your problem, women? Why are you so sensitive?
Now he moves onto the collages, as if it’s some kind of secret that the featured introductions into each thread highlights some of the bad behavior in a collage. The reader is guided to click on the full thread to see the comments in context. Undoctored. These threads are often very long, so the print to PDF cuts off part of a block if it extends beyond the page. It’s overwhelming to look at. But Wedgeworth says, “Many of the comments there, most of which do not involve me, are actually floating around in arranged shapes.” Just because you use the word floating doesn’t make it bad. In fact, that could be interpreted as intentionally and explicitly making it clear that it is a collage. That’s what a collage is.
But Wedgeworth wants to make this some sort of deepfake, and he gives one example, saying “Mark Jones was simply asking a question about the original post, yet he is positioned directly across from someone else who is making a demeaning joke.” Interesting he would say that. Let’s look at the full thread. Here you will see that before Mark Jones joins in, there were comments like, “I wish her husband loved her enough to tell her to shut up,” “will she share some good sammich recipes,” Wedgeworth is telling us that the majority of the world is STILL patriarchal,” a red pill video is posted, and after over 50 other comments mocking me and slamming a book that has just been contracted much less written much less read by anyone, someone finally pushes back saying to these guys, “Judge a book by it’s cover much?,” and after 19 sub-replies to that comment of people arguing why it’s ok to judge my book already Mark Jones comments, “I don’t see a cover.” Ok, continue judging on people. Laughy faces on Jones’ comment (and I have to also wonder if the laughy faces are because of an allusion to the defacement of my last book cover posted in GC to “Why Can’t We Be Naked?”). I shouldn’t need to spell this out. The thread is terrible. No one should participate in it. At all. Even in private groups. This private arena where behavior is separate and less accountable is the world’s way of thinking, not the church’s.
He gives an example of bad cropping next. Wedgeworth says, “One example of cropping concerns a ministerial student named Zack Groff. He is shown to be saying ‘What happened to her face?’ Any ordinary reader would assume that this is a comment where Groff is disparaging a woman’s physical appearance, a truly despicable thing.” No, Groff wouldn’t do that. It took someone on Twitter a few seconds to find him laughing at a comment saying horse face isn’t enough for one woman, a whore is what she is (in a thread started by Mark Jones):
The screenshot website doesn’t even show who laughed at what, like this one does. But it is enlightening.
If you go back and look at the meme that Shane made in which ministerial student Zack Groff is commenting, it was a character intending to represent me and my work. They are mocking an image that they are using as an object to represent me. It’s all obvious and clear. And undoctored.
Now to the doozy— airbrushing. Wedgeworth wrote that some of the screenshots are blatantly airbrushed, claiming at least one of his is. “I am pictured saying ‘literally no expectations.’ There’s a blank above me, and there’s a blank below me, and my comment is off center. This is not how Facebook threads normally look.” That is correct. Facebook threads don’t look that way, collages do. The spaces actually show the reader that this is a collage, and again, they are to click on the obvious link to read the entire thread in its context. The space demonstrates time lapse. Again, it is on a collage. And no one ever said this comment was in a thread about me, so I don’t understand the “gotcha” moment Wedgeworth thinks he has in saying that if you look at the full thread—which again is super transparent—“it is plain that I was not talking about Byrd.” Ok. Who is saying that is suggested? The collage doesn’t give that impression either. It is a thread tearing apart Valerie Hobbs for doing her actual job as a linguist. Apparently she gave a lecture on how Christians use the word feminism as a weapon and they go to town, posting memes of Hillary Clinton and such; one pastor says, “If my sermons aren’t getting feminist ticked off, then I’m not really preaching the text” (really, this is an aim in your preaching?); and they go on an on lamenting and making fun of Hobbs for 20 posts before Wedgeworth jumps in with his comment, then another thirty-three comments of this junk before he jumps in again. It’s not ok. And the collage samples the rude and dismissive comments about other people’s work, prior to reading it, in the full thread. Rejecting Hobbs on superficial and arrogant grounds. These guys are all buddies and they feel perfectly comfortable and look like they are rather quite enjoying it all.
There is no deepfaking here. None. Wedgeworth did a little slight of hand. Collages are doctored. No shocker, that’s the point of a collage. Threads show everything in context. Pretty simple. But he then casts doubt on the whole revelation of their behavior: “It would not surprise me to discover that there are more such cases of manipulation and deepfaking in the various screenshots.”
Then in one sweep, Wedgeworth dismisses the whole site: “What I have seen is enough to convince me that readers cannot form an honest and just conclusion about the various commentators, nor the group as a whole.” And this of course undermines the paltry non-apology he gave at the start. He says the site has committed two tortuous acts: intrusion of seclusion and false light. Their private space was intruded upon. Rather than follow Eph. 5:11, “Don’t participate in the fruitless works of darkness, but instead expose them,” like the person who was a total stranger to me last fall did, they partook. Wedgeworth partook quite a bit. From the sampling on the website, Wedgeworth is archived in a good number of threads. Looking through them, he has egg all over his face. Jones too. The light isn’t false, it’s just shining on what they thought no one (other than the potential 1,000+ members) could see.
From there Wedgeworth shows us how pious he is, “My own principles instruct me to avoid litigation in matters having to do with the faith, but it should be noted that the underlying principles of 1 Cor. 6:1–11 have already been violated by the leaker. Anyone currently publishing the Genevan Commons screenshots, and those with any intent to release similar sorts of leaks on others, should consider their own liability here. I highly doubt that everyone shares my position on lawsuits,” intimating that this is worthy of litigation.
But others might not share my view. Others might file lawsuits. Yes, he is right. I’m already being threatened with that. Call out your abusers, get sued. You’re not doing it right.
Then we all get a lesson from Wedgeworth at the end. Despite the deepfaking, he concedes that there are “a number of commenters [not him of course, those are deepfaked] who engaged in unbecoming and sinful rhetorical behavior.” More minimizing even in his hat tip. Nonetheless, those people should repent. Don’t worry though, they are small in number compared to the thousand-member audience they behaved in front of. And the audience isn’t culpable. He then claims that no one is actually seeking justice, repentance, forgiveness, or reconciliation here, just malicious activity. The screenshots themselves are an act of cyberbullying. But he does regret the “levity which [he] participated in discussions which should have been more serious.” Wow. That’s your apology? Even Judah took ownership of his seal, cord, and staff. A man is revealed by the way he responds when the receipts are handed to him. These Christian leaders should be ashamed. They should be modeling repentance to us. Instead, they put the shame on the victims. Well, I’m not going to stay a victim.
And onto the lesson of the “perils of online discernment” and “how the internet manipulates us.”
And look where it ends. Another warning about those horrible discernment blogs.
I spent my evening writing this. I’m tired of writing about this. I’m tired of making a case that is blatantly obvious. So tired.
And clearly there are multiple people with screenshots. I have mine, the screenshot website uses others, people on Twitter are showing more…I’m sure if there’s any more doubt about doctoring we can compare the hundreds of screenshots of verbal abuse from our own small samplings and compare.
Look, this could all be so much better with just a little bit of humility and compassion. Why do I have to say all this? Why am I the one defending my reputation? When will there be a conversation about qualifications for those in spiritual authority over Christ’s sheep?
50 thoughts on “Deepfaking DARVO”
Words fail me … The abuse was wicked and the evasion more so.
LikeLiked by 2 people
Scot was sent a screenshot from this Geneva Commons group about some statements saying he was the worst because he supports women in ministry and the new perspective. I guess there is enough hate in the group to spread around to anyone who doesn’t fit into their theological belief system. At some point each member will have a church of one!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Let me get this straight: because someone does not advocate for a practice that was unknown for all but the last 30-40 years of Christian history, they are therefore doomed to become “a church of one”, you say? Fascinating perspective on church politics you have there, Kristin. I guess I should just quit being an Anglican clergyman and pack it up, stop preaching, stop teaching, stop ministering and mentoring young people because I’m being so divisive as to uphold theological and ecclesial orthodoxy.
Having been so ultra-conservative that I actually joined a Continuing Anglican parish in the ACC at one point, I’d like to speak my peace. No, you won’t be doomed to become “a church of one”. You’ll always have your members. What you won’t have is any real impact on society in making new disciples. Women and even men are walking away from church in droves, due often to the disgusting behavior freely exhibited by complementarian Christians. I really don’t blame them. I myself was abused from childhood. I watched my complementarian father abuse my complementarian mother. Our complementarian church didn’t care. If it weren’t for my Mom I probably wouldn’t be a Christian today, based on the poor witness complementarianism gave me about Jesus.
What Aimee is doing, and the McKnights, and all the others, is admirable from my perspective. They are asking why church has to be so toxic to those most vulnerable. This isn’t even about women’s ordination. This is about binding wounds of those gravely harmed, like myself.
Incidentally, I have personally discarded the “great tradition” and become more egalitarian, for two reasons. First I had mistakenly thought that Anglo-Catholics were more into Pope John Paul II’s explanations for a men-only priesthood. Oops. Wrong. Second, when I realized the condoning of wife-beating is also part of the “great tradition”, I ran for the hills. I’m still recovering mentally from having read the actual medieval and early modern period ecclessial court cases for domestic abuse. (I would of course take it better if I didn’t have a nasty pituitary tumor that makes me feel like a grizzly bear is chasing me. Oh well.)
I’m in the ACNA now, in Scot and Kristen’s diocese. However, I still have good ties to my old ACC parish. They know I’m egalitarian now, and yet I am always welcome there as a full member. You see, the priest there is more interested in tending to my wounds than in “being right”. Which is what YOU should be doing as a clergyman. Why aren’t you? Please consider reading Aimee’s book and ask how you can help heal wounds rather than drive the wounded to agnosticism and atheism. Otherwise, yes, maybe you should consider quitting being a clergyman. Because what’s the point of what you’re doing, if you don’t love even the very wounded, broken sheep? You don’t have to change your views on what is orthodox to do that, do you?
Until you learn to love such sheep, you will be neglecting a huge part of your calling to make disciples.
You hit the nail on the head, Aimee. The GC seems to be more about teenage locker room talk than about theology. These would be the same guys selling sacrificial animals in the temple and the same guys that Jesus would be cracking the whip at. I pray for a severe pricking of their hearts. I pray they do not rest until their rest is found in Jesus. I pray for their regeneration because they certainly do not portray that they are. Please, keep doing what you are. I pray for the comfort of the Holy Spirit upon you.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I would like to recommend that people buy and read Mrs. Byrd’s books. Her books are about Jesus Christ and our life in (and as) His Church. One does not need to agree with every single point in order to recognize an extraordinary and edifying vision of the profound beauty and dignity of every human being in relation to our God.
LikeLiked by 3 people
At least Scott Graybill tried to tell them that their behaviour was appalling. I am so sorry that you are experiencing this, Aimee. What is going through my head is “Why don’t you men just repent? Flee to Jesus, who died on the cross to pay for your sins. It’s so easy to cast yourself on His mercy.” But they are hunkering down, sure they’re right, and that you, little woman, must be put in your place. They forget that there are no little women, and that God has mercifully saved you, chosen you to be His child, and clothed you in righteousness. They forget that all of the promises of Scripture belong to women as well as men. They ought to be fearful of what the Lord thinks about the things they have written and said. He sees. He knows. And He will bring justice.
So glad you are naming the DARVO tactic here. It’s pervasive in reformed circles and evangelicalism and it isn’t just the men doing it.
Praying for you. I’m only a few chapters into your book but it’s already clear why these men are so are angry. They don’t want to know God better and love their neighbors. They want power and control with a chorus of dudes snickering behind them.
LikeLiked by 2 people
All that needs to be said to these men is Ezekiel 34.
Your reputation is safe and protected in Christ, Aimee. 💚Know that you are appreciated, loved, and prayed for.
LikeLiked by 2 people
Proverbs 25:26 “Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.”
Steven’s response is disgraceful. The fact that he’s claiming it’s a deepfake (it’s not – it’s not even close) shows he either completely misunderstands the screenshots website, or is maliciously misrepresenting it. Either way, he is propagating confusion to justify his sin.
The GC screenshots site isn’t representing information in a dishonest way (nor is Aimee). It doesn’t contain deepfakes. If you want an analogy for what it is, it’s like a book review where the reviewer is highlighting the most pertinent sections (while linking to the originals).
Aimee, I’m sorry you’re having to go through this. For my part, your books have been invaluable in helping me to think about ungodly ways in that I think about and act towards women. You’re shining light. I wish I was in a better position to defend you, but I can and will pray for you, and do my best to support the women God has put around me.
LikeLiked by 2 people
Dear Aimee, thank you for your response. I am so sorry that you had to endure these tremendously hurtful things. Maybe just as hurtful is the out of hand dismissiveness of so many that I have seen. It is really eye opening, and discouraging. Be encouraged in the Lord, sister. Your ministry has been and is deeply appreciated, and much needed. May the Lord guard your heart and mind through all of this, and keep using your gifts to fight the good fight in Christ for His glory and the good of others.
LikeLiked by 2 people
The Wedgeworth article was pathetic. So many diversionary tactics! But no one is fooled. When you step back, the issues are not complicated. Why are so many pastors spending so much time online? Don’t they have better things to do than use church time and church equipment to verbally sexually assault women? These guys obviously love being in this secret group talking about sex. Do their wives know about this secret life? It makes one wonder how much they talk about sex in other secret places. Everyone involved should be fired and defrocked.
Well now I understand the kind of “good works” that Mark Jones and Wedgewroth teach are necessary for our salvation.
Aimee, thank you for taking your valuable time to respond to respond in such a detailed and logical way. It’s important that people have a clear accounting of the matter because unfortunately these people will continue with the crazy making.
LikeLiked by 2 people
I loved your work on Mortification of Spin and wanted to take the opportunity to first thank you for your voice was an important element on that podcast. This is wicked abusive slander and personal attack is gross and says a lot of the current state of the “reformed” community.
LikeLiked by 2 people
As it happens IDid not read Mr Wedgeworth’s article from the perspective of the slanderer or the slandered. I tried to assess his arguments on their own merit.
The original postings were helpfully made available, and I read them before I made comments on Twitter or on this blog. For that reason I find his arguments puzzling and perplexing. In my view:
1/If there are over 1000 participants in an event, that event is not private ; it does not matter if the event takes place online. There is no reasonable expectation of privacy.
2/ Mr Wedgeworth’s use of the term “deep faking” in the article is, to put it gently, idiosyncratic. He refers to an academic paper which argues that deep faking is analogous to some bad practices in the scholarly community. But that article is using “deepfaking” in a sense most people would not recognise – and which is also highly contestable. Furthermore, Mr Wedgeworth then goes on to build his case using “deepfaking” in a different, third sense. He considers the poor framing of quotations on a webpage to be “deepfaking”.
So Mr Wedgeworth’s article uses three senses of the word “deepfaking”; and two of those senses are, to say the least, are far from the norm. Such equivocation muddies the waters; specifically it obscures the absurdity of Mr Wedgeworth’s central argument. He is asserting that a collage of offensive comments is a deepfake!
3/ It seems that many of the cruder insults were “framed” by lengthy critiques. That makes the situation significantly worse for GC, not better! This sort of rhetoric exists to intimidate those who might disagree with the GC’s logic. The overall strategy seems to be to bully a wider community into conformity. Who would want to publish one of your books, or have Rachel Miller as a speaker, if it meant being subjected to this sort of abuse?
4/ Many are noticing the incel-lite/“red pill” philosophy apparent in many places on GC. Mr Jones and Mr Wedgeworth need – urgently – to point out where they challenged it.
5/ I am worried that conservative Protestantism (and I am a conservative Protestant) can attract ultranationalist
Uber-Protestants, more interested in a group identity than faith. In my experience in Ulster, such individuals can be quite Machiavellian. Great care needs to be taken when dealing with them. In my own life, over the years I have encountered church members of good standing who have had no hesitation using deceit and cruelty to achieve what they have declared is right.
Sometimes they just enjoyed hurting people.
I will pray for you; get a strong support network. Speak to Zondervan’s legal team – that will give them a moment8s pause. Reach outside the US for support. For you may well have trodden on a brood of vipers. If so, crushes and bruises must follow.
LikeLiked by 3 people
Mr. Veale, could you expand on your point #5, if it is convenient for you? I’m not seeing the analogy between Ulster Protestantism and the Genevan Commons situation. I’m familiar with Ulster Protestantism: my mother is from the Londonderry area.
I’ve encountered a lot of people over the years who are well versed in Calvinism, but who have none of the fruits of the Spirit. Often I can detect no love of the Lord; and they certainly despise people outside their “in group”. Now, don’t get me wrong: we all know doctrinaire or even grumpy Calvinists who clearly love the Lord, and who love those the Lord loves. That’s not the sort of person I’m talking about: these guys have no heart for anyone much. They live as they like and treat others as they want.
Yet this type of person is extremely proud of their “Reformed“ credentials – they take it very seriously. This had puzzled me. What on Earth could a strict Reformed theology have to offer these guys? They obviously had no real heart for the faith.
Recently, I noticed what they all have in common: they hate Roman Catholicism; or, to be more accurate, they hate Irish identity. Uber-Protestantism is part of their political identity – it has nothing to do with living faith or a love of the Lord. Calvinism is genuinely a deep part of who they are. The creed sets them apart as the most Protestant of Protestants. (Reformed theology is also quite attractive because dispensationalism and fundamentalism lack the history, and lack cultural and intellectual credibility.)
It seems to me that a conservative in America’s culture wars could find a Reformed identity appealing for similar reasons. They would be a conservative among conservatives; the true heir to the Pilgrim Fathers, keeping the Founder’s vision alive. They would not follow the theology because they believed it was the best way to serve our saviour; rather, Reformed theology would serve their felt need to be part of an Uber-conservative subculture.
Does that make sense?
LikeLiked by 1 person
Yes, your explanation makes a great deal of sense. Thank you so much! I think this is a good psychological comparison.
This takes me back to our visits to Northern Ireland in the 1980s. My mother’s cousins who lived on the old home farm had never even been to Belfast, about 80 miles away, and they were in their 50s.
They were astounded when a pack of Americans showed up on their doorstep one day, but they laid on a nice tea and showed us their sheep.
Tea and sheep – that’s probably the highpoint of Northern Irish culture!
If you’ve any connection to “Norn Iron”, you’re effectively a local. We remain fiercely loyal to anyone with the slightest family connection,
My mom’s aunt, a deeply Orange lady, was a British subject until she died, probably over the age of 100 – she would not reveal her birth year. “Don’t tell your Aunt Martha!” my mother said when I joined the Catholic Church. “I always knew you would do something weird.”
You may want to look at that site he linked to a bit more closely. I would say calling it a “scholarly community” would be exceedingly generous. In particular a perusal of their “encyclopedia” where they give “translations from the wokish” will be very revealing.
Personally I can understand his response. It’s horrible seeing your sinful behavior taken out of the context in which it feels justifiable. It makes you want to dig a hole…
Ms. Byrd – I’m afraid I don’t know you personally but I am a minister of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and I am horrified by what has been said about you by other professing Christians and, indeed, by “leaders” of Christ’s church. Having experienced a tiny fraction of the kind of thing that you have experienced, I know something of the agony of what you have been experiencing. I am so, so sorry. I have signed a letter of support for you and I will do what other things I can. I remember talking once with Tim Keller about the accusations which have been made against him – ministers in his own denomination have called him a “heretic” on social media but have never approached either his presbytery or his session with their complaints. “My brothers and sisters, this should not be!” (James 3: 10, NIV). I would be honored to communicate privately with you about these matters if you are ever inclined to do so. My email address is email@example.com. In the meantime, I commit to praying AND TO THANKING THE LORD for you!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Reblogged this on The View From the Sidelines and commented:
There is nothing I can add. But I want to add my support to Aimee Byrd.
First I’m so so sorry that you find yourself in the position of being abused and I pray that God protects you from trauma associated with abuse of any form.
Mr. Wedgeworth’s argument is lacking on several fronts.
1. He minimizes his participation by saying he unfollowed the group but yet there he is actively participating in discussions. It’s like saying “yes, my hand was in the cookie jar but look at all those many other people who had their dirty hands in the jar much more than me.” He was not a peripheral actor but actively engaged.
2. He misapplies the concept of deepfake by trying to make it into an academic argument. In academics (I’ve been one for 30 years) we speak of academic honesty/dishonesty which typically involves plagiarism, cheating, faking data, deception, fabrication, or sabotage. He seems to make the argument that the data provided was deceptive or fabricated. This is a weak argument as the points below illustrate.
3. Many of screenshots on the GCscreenshot site include links to the full thread so the context is readily apparent.
4. A majority of the most egregious comments in the discussion threads stand by themselves whether they are within the context of a larger discussion or not. Many single statements are clearly abhorrent, vulgar, coarse, inflammatory, and abusive. There is no need to see the full thread to judge most of the comments.
5. His use of “discernment blog” is derogatory and is meant to deny the validity of the posts and writings of you and others. Aimee, your education, experience, and writing alone give you credence. It’s the same story Julie Roys gets…”it’s just a blog over there that she writes” dismissing her extensive journalistic training and experience. Keep writing Aimee. Using his logic, Mr. Wedgeworth’s writing on Medium itself could also be classified as a discernment blog so we should dismiss it.
6. He gives a not so thinly veiled argument that laws were broken and that there may be a threat of legal action. Perhaps he’s referring to doxxing from a private group or to slander. Doxxing probably not because the screenshots came from someone within the group and laws about this are vague. No false statements have been made so slander would be barking up the wrong tree from a legal standpoint. Such threats are meant to quiet people. Unfortunately Aimee, it might be time to get legal counsel as some of these people stand to loose positions, power, etc and they may come out swinging. All the more reason for church councils to get involved quickly.
Praying for you and that you are able to move on from the vile attacks and counterattacks and find peace. Keep up the good work!
LikeLiked by 2 people
I completely agree Issac. After the bizarre accusation of deepfaking, Aimee could fairly claim that she has been slandered. Even on a very generous reading, Mr Wedgeworth’s case falls apart. (I’m fact, I think he is using “deepfaking in a sense which is different from normal use AND the from the way the word is used in the article he cites!)
LikeLiked by 1 person
I have not read your book on manhood and womanhood yet Aimee but from snippets I have read and heard I will possibly disagree with you on some points but any critique I would do is on the points in your book and not how you look, your hairstyle, or on what doctrines I think you should have covered in the book. The Alliance Board should have handled this a lot better. I guess they feel it is better to lose the OPC crowd than the charismatic evangelical FIC crowd. I find it funny that these Elders picking on your fashion and fingernail polish are worried about losing their jobs or elder roles when they cost you your gig at Mortification of Spin. I was also amazed at the emphases that this board you posted screenshots of was a secret board, as if a bunch of elders watching porn together in secret would be okay! This shows who the real antinomians are.
The two different responses to the screenshots are extraordinary. One the one hand, Michael Spangler in his Open Letter on Genevan Commons said, “Yes, we said all those things, and we were perfectly justified in doing so.” On the other hand, Wedgeworth says, “I actually didn’t say any of those things, I was deep-faked and framed.” What do we have? Two completely different ways of saying, “we didn’t do anything wrong.” One would hope for some remorse. From someone.
LikeLiked by 2 people
I was truly astonished by Spangler’s reply. It did not rise to the heights of a Jimmy Bakker apology.
I would encourage all to read my reply for themselves. I do wish Wedgeworth had been more charitable to his brothers in the Commons, but I’m grateful he also stood up against the libel.
That is a STUNNINGLY baseless accusation. Let’s parse out the logic of your comment for those playing along at home, shall we?
Most men look at porn regularly.
God gives the wicked over to the depravity of their hearts.
These men are accused of saying wicked things.
Therefore these men are depraved and look at porn regularly.
You’re skipping a good bit in the middle there.
My voice is a small one among these theological giants who are rallying around you Sister, but I will add to the chorus of support.
Abuse is abuse, inside the church or out. Using “theology” as an excuse to abuse is heresy.
It’s tempting to tear down the character of the abusers, but knowing my own brokenness, I will instead pray for their recognition and repentance, and for our God’s peace to wrap around you and give you comfort through all of this. You’re doing good work. I’ve been able to recommend your books to a dear friend who’s a strong Christian seeking God’s will for her life, in hopes that she will find her calling and move mountains in His name.
Your encouragement is changing lives.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Dear Aimee Byrd,
I don’t know you, nor you me, though I have read your writings with much appreciation. I am a minister in the RCUS (to name drop, a lifelong friend of Sam Powell). I just want to commend you for your courageous stand. I truly admire it, and I recognize in it the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ upholding and helping you. Having endured all of what you are enduring and so much more, He is able to and will keep you standing in His grace and will strengthen you with his incomparably great power. But I lament that you must endure this. I am ashamed that officers and members from our mutually fraternal churches are involved in this sort of behavior. It is a shameful thing that you are in this position merely because they disagree with you and feel justified in mocking you because you deign to express yourself in writing. I believe their writing and actions are misogynistic, and scandalous. I know a number of the men that are listed as members on the Geneva Commons group and have endured some scoffing from some of them myself. Not the extent you have. I recognize and know the spirit in which these guys operate. I mourn the shame of it on the name of the Lord Jesus, and on the reputation of reformed/presbyterian churches and people.
I will pray for you and your husband as you both endure this shameful situation. I will do what I am able to do as a fraternal minister to urge officers of the OPC to press this case, to clean up the house, so to speak. I thank you for you for taking the time to respond to Wedgeworth, for exposing this corruption coming against you, that you’ve endured for years. I thank you for using your gifts in the service of Christ despite the opposition you’ve encountered while doing it. The example of conduct and the spirit in which you have handled yourself in the midst of this opposition is something I aspire to by the grace of God.
LikeLiked by 2 people
Real apologies, repentance, healing, & church discipline— may God grant it all.
No doubt you have already read Anna Anderson’s response to Windy Wilson’s post about you. I found it to be a very good reminder of how we all should be seeing and treating one another regardless of what opinion is held or how much one has been attacked. Maybe for your own sake and health you could step away from it all for a time, somewhere beautiful and secluded and let God be your defender through people like Anna.
I am reposting Anna’s response to Windy for convenience sake.
Jun 25 · 4 min read
It would be helpful to hear your definition of “feminist,” so that I can better understand how you see that Aimee Byrd fills that criteria. It is simply uncharitable to call someone a name that they cannot own or reject because you withhold the image that is in your mind. If you use the dictionary definition of feminism as “organized activity on behalf of women’s concerns and interests,” I might suggest that we are all called to be feminists in the best sense of loving the women who are our neighbors, looking out for their interests, esteeming them as better than ourselves.
I also am curious about the term “patriarchal structure of the Bible.” There are various unifying themes of the Bible, but I find it intriguing that you see patriarchy as one of them. I am assuming you are working with the standard definition of patriarchy as a “society in which men retain the power and from which women are largely excluded.” I had failed to notice that as either a structure or an unfolding theme, an essential aspect of the “plain reading of Scripture.” I feel as if I read Scripture plainly, and yet I find that the themes are covenant-historical that magnify the glory of our Lord, where Christ is revealed as the federal head of His people. My plain reading of Luke 24:27 leads me to see Christ as what structures the Bible, not patriarchy.
Furthermore, it is unfortunate that you believe that using a metaphor or illustration taken from a 19th-century feminist makes you one. Obviously that thinking cannot be sustained, as if saying “crickey” makes me a crocodile hunter. Just because we glean a useful term or phrase from someone does not give us the identity or vocation of its author.
It is equally unfortunate that you use loaded speech when you write that Bryd will “throw a tantrum,” as if she is immature or a child. That displays both an informal fallacy and a lack of charity, the ungracious tone so recently on display in published screenshots. You add to that the formal fallacy of the undistributed middle in the following sentences:
Mrs. Byrd is a tantrum-throwing person.
Contemporary feminists are tantrum-throwing people.
Therefore Mrs. Byrd is a contemporary feminist.
It doesn’t work. Consider this in parallel:
Jackals are canines.
Foxes are canines.
Jackals are foxes.
In the next paragraph, you introduce another loaded word, theatrics. Your Byrd has gone from being a tantrum-throwing child to a melodramatic stage actress. Your support for this is based on private, internal church correspondence outlining months of her session working through a complicated process in her local church context. You show not an ounce of sympathy for either the session, Byrd, or the elder in question, but rather pass judgment with a small fragment of the evidence.
While you condemn Bryd, you justify and minimize the deeds of your Facebook group, calling them a “flippant and saucy bunch.” I never heard Christ or Paul use those words or similar ones for those who malign the object of Christ’s love. It seems to me a much more serious offense — “what you have done to the least of these, you have done to me.”
You seem to think that your Facebook group has thoroughly critiqued her, and yet that evidence is sparse for those who wish to investigate. In fact, there seems to be little substance to the arguments there at all. Calling her a feminist, mocking her appearance, and exaggerating her positions are not sound critique. Demeaning her with memes is not critique. Where she has been critiqued fairly from those that have dealt with her civilly, she has responded with thoughtful posts. Remember that what you call critique in the “public square” is never merely the public square for God’s household, for we dwell in his presence and strive for his glory.
You resort again to loaded rhetoric with the word “coddle.” Your Byrd has become a pampered child again. You then call her to be more like yourself and develop a thick skin. Is thick skin what God calls us to have? Or does he call us to love and forgive those who harm us. Is thick skin the same as humble reliance on the Holy Spirit to give us all we need to love him and our brothers and sisters in Christ well? Bryd has said more recently how she endures the treatment that she receives from her enemies, those that are attacking her, like you are in this article. She doesn’t seek thick skin, but rather she goes to the Song of Songs, the Mountain of the Lord, who is there for her (and for you and me) among the lilies. He bids us come away with him to the spice-laden mountains where we can drink of his love. From those that drink deeply there, refreshing streams come forth to refresh, not defile, those around them.
You move on in your judgments to indicate that Bryd is self-pitying, nursing grudges, emotionally indulged, emboldened, and vindictive. You follow that with your account of her offenses to your group, which unfortunately brings your group’s face to the mirror, not hers. I would ask you for the sake of Christ’s church, for the sake of his one bride, that you seek to love and esteem Bryd, your neighbor.
Finally, you have missed the glory of the theological anthropology that is the pinnacle of her book. There she reveals the difference between man and woman as a matter of glory, both in origin and telos. What he made male and female in Genesis 1, he consummates in Christ’s own relationship with his one bride Zion, his city, his people. The first Adam mirrors Christ, the everlasting Groom, who defeats his and our enemies and leads us onward and upward. Eve mirrors the goal of our faith, the city of the All-living. We reach Revelation only to be thrown back to the Song of Songs, where we find the Lover has taken his beloved to himself for the clinging of all ages. With eyes on our common Lord and our common city, I pray that we can stop lest we consume one another
LikeLiked by 2 people
Aimee: When you say, “Deny, Attack, Reverse the Victim and the Offender” — you need to know this is a key definitino of narcissism.
Also, one of the men in this group did the same thing to me in another FB page (a federation page). He deleted the posts — but know you weren’t the only one that one particular person attacked because she was a woman. He was demeaning — trying to make me feel “less.”
Hang in there.
My only problem with this article is where you say, “He is dictating how we should view the site from his perspective, the male perspective. He is shutting down the female perspective.” This isn’t accurate. He is dictating how we should view the site from his perspective. But his perspective is not the MALE perspective, and everyone else’s is not the female perspective. His perspective is not shared by my husband or any other decent, repentant Christian man I know. His perspective is the “unrepentant sinner perspective” and I know that you would agree that that perspective does not lie entirely within either gender.
Aimee, I have been challenged by your book “Why Can’t We Be Friends” and have enjoyed listening to you and Trueman and Pruitt on MoS. I was saddened to hear your departure…this makes me like the ACE even less than I do. I intend to give the podcast on Roys Report a listen. I’m so sorry about this. Also not a big fan of CBMW and its ultra-complementarianism and heterodox views of God (ESS/EFS)
Isn’t it ironic?? The first screenshot comments on your book cover are funny! Also these men’s major criticism about your book (that actually It Is difficult for the opposite sex who are not married to be “just” friends) is perfectly illustrated in their responses – the men look at the cover picture of your book in a different way than you obviously did.
Yeah, there was definitely a lot of things said in that group that shouldn’t have been, but I look at these screenshots of Pastor Wedgeworth’s comments and I have a really difficult time seeing what’s wrong with them. That comment in the first screenshot of this post seems like a funny and legitimate way of satirizing the position attacking his own.
These comments from Wedgeworth, et.al. are so wrong / sinful on so many counts. They need to step back from whatever “ministry” they are involved in. They have been called out on unchristian behavior and then make excuses or threaten legal action instead of brokenness and repentance. When Mark Driscoll was exposed from his ugly tirades as he hid behind a screen name, he was ultimately forced to resign (along with some other reasons). These guys are unChristian and at this point not fit for any office of ministry – qualifications from 1 Timothy 3 & Titus 1 (temperate, prudent, respectable, not “pugnacious” (eager or quick to argue, quarrel, or fight), gentle, peaceable).
Rachel Green Miller’s discussion in this piece is extremely informative. She quotes Mr. Wedgeworth, Mr. Jones, and Mr. Spangler, among others, expressing their beliefs about humanity. These comments are not snarky or trashy, like some of what we have seen. They are simply *totally different* from what many others, including in their own denominations, believe to be true.
Grateful to see all those quotes put together. I gladly stand by my words, with those other godly men, with the historic Christian tradition, and against feminism in all its forms.
I think it’s ideal to have the points of disagreement clearly laid out. Without that, there’s simply no point in discussing anything.
I would encourage all to read my reply for themselves. I am grateful Wedgeworth also stood up against the libel.