February 17, 2021

We’re approaching close to two months since my mom requested my Dad’s phones back from rzim so we could examine them. She has requested them repeatedly, and we still don’t have them.

But in August, as we first found out about the allegations, we looked at his phones to check the contact between dad and two of the people involved – Anurag and Vicki. Not having any clue what Dad would accused of months later, we didn’t spend time searching through every part of his phone. Now I wish we had.

These pictures are some of the texts between Dad and Anurag. In Anurag’s messages, he speaks about the behavior of Steve Baughman, the man who has driven a lot of this. Anurag refers to Baughman as “SFO Attorney” and “Banjo man” and calls him crazy. The context of additional comments is that Baughman is baselessly attacking my Dad’s character and that my Dad is a good man. But Anurag would later team up with Baughman and say the opposite.

The other individual, Vicki, clearly did not have the discomfort with Dad that has been alleged in stories with her portion. Since she has tried to keep her identify vague I must respect that, so I can’t post messages as they give identifiable info. But she asks if he has been getting her repeated messages the last year, including her birthday text from him 9 months prior. She asks him to reply more often, says “You’re the ONLY intelligent person I know.” He talks about the ministry and family. She offers to give my mom and dad massages, and asks him for prayer.

These are clearly not the words of people who consider my dad to be a predator or a man with a double life. Rzim had these messages. Interesting they didn’t make it the report. It mentions details like he didn’t want to use rzim’s private wifi, so as to shape the narrative, but somehow mentioning that at least two of his accusers behaved in ways that contradict their stories didn’t make the cut.

And speaking of that wifi narrative, well I worked at RZIM until last summer Under one IT Director we were all specifically asked to *only* connect our phones to the public wifi and NOT the private network, as phones were considered a security risk on the network.

February 11, 2021

Since RZIM just released their report, I’d like to say a few things. Considering what I heard about the investigators’ aggressive behavior towards favorable interviews toward my dad, their rather one-sided interview list, and the fact that RZIM released a verdict of guilt in December without anyone at the ministry actually seeing the evidence, I just don’t exactly have faith in the process or complete accuracy of the information.

Sometime in December, this became less about the fearless pursuit of truth and accountability, and it became more about the fearful appeasement of the mob and channeling our own hurt through severe judgment. If these things about Dad are true, there was a way to handle this honestly and respectfully without being hurtful and voyeuristic.

I am deeply disappointed in the way this has been handled by RZIM. I don’t know or care who decided what. I just care what the decisions were because cooperation was only ever a one way street. The last 6 months, Mom has refrained from speaking out publicly as a wife at RZIM’s request for fear it hurt their public stance, she handed over dad’s devices (it was not RZIM who did that) for examination, and taken other sacrificial steps at their request too. She wasn’t interviewed by the investigators. It would seem getting as much of a full picture of a man would benefit an investigation of areas of weakness, but I guess was outside the scope of the investigation.

She’s been silenced and sidelined both personally and professionally, with no consideration or help given in return.

My mom was not given the courtesy of seeing the material and “evidence” first when it was finally presented officially a couple of days ago. Instead, a board of 18 people, senior leadership, and even someone no longer on staff at RZIM got to ask questions and pour over every detail of allegations that didn’t even involve them. Yet my mom, who has more of a right to know every single detail than anyone, was not allowed in. After many persistent requests, she was eventually emailed the report report. Something considerably different than hearing it directly from the investigator and being able to ask them direct questions.

She has given her life to this organization. And this is how she was treated in the worst crisis and pain of her life. It’s not ok, and that is why I’m speaking up.

Dad was a human being, a brother, a son, an uncle, a father, a grandfather and a husband. All of which take precedence over “Founder of RZIM.” However it is how his alleged mistakes affected RZIM and only one category of “victim” that seems to have been the focus. But for any family reeling? “We love you and will hug you as we shut the door behind you.”

He was not RZIM’s and the Christian culture’s commodity to buy when popular and sell out when no longer helpful to them. They were happy to run him into the ground no matter how tired he was or how much pain he was in. Now they’re happy to bury him. As I type this, they’re erasing him from social media. Unfortunately for Dad, he’s not as worthy of grace as the woman at the well or the woman accused of adultery. And unfortunately for him, he’s not as lucky as the woman who with the alabaster jar, who though still engaged with sin was welcomed by Jesus to worship Him – which is what Dad did through his messages. But we’re a better society now. We’re only worthy of a hearing if we’re not struggling.

Through this process they have done this on their terms in a one-sided and self preserving investigation. They have dictated the future of his name and called into question our own futures, while we have been told to keep quiet and just take it. Forgive me if I can’t do either anymore.

Regardless of whether today’s report is right or not, the handling of this has been very hurtful to a family that also had legitimate rights in this process. If these things are true, Dad’s choices absolutely went against his Christian beliefs. And that is deeply painful. But so have RZIM’s choices. And they have added more pain that actually could have been avoided.

In closing, I’ll quote from an ariticle posted by RZIM last summer, by Abdu Murray. “In cancel culture, we are defined by our latest mistake. Social recovery is rare. But being canceled needn’t define those victims. Jesus, after all, counted “canceled” people—tax collectors, zealots, prostitutes— among his disciples. Where others would respond to our shame with indignation, Jesus responds with love, forgiveness, and grace. Many are searching for a recovered or even redeemed identity. The culture will not give it to them. But Jesus can. In our temporal and cultural snobbery, we would do well to learn from the Eastern itinerant preacher from Nazareth.”

Wish they believed that. I do.

February 5, 2021

The last few weeks have been a brutal twist in an already painful season. I have not been given much of a voice in this process, but I am currently trying to find the best platform through which to share some things that I feel must be said. In the meantime I will say this:

First, RZIM does not speak for me. They have formed their own opinion. But it does not dictate mine. I do not agree with them for legitimate reasons. I will not, however, debate those differences publicly.

Second, in either case (innocent or guilty), I think the way this has been discussed by Christian media and leaders is an absolute disgrace.

Regarding some specific individuals who were once my colleagues, how “brave” you are to aggressively take on a man who can’t even defend himself, as well as attack his grieving family who is far more blindsided and hurt by this situation than you can ever be. And how “righteous” you are to think that we must continually pile on our punishment AFTER he has already faced the ultimate judge. God chose to spare Dad from all this by calling him home when he did. But how “virtuous” of you to insist that you hand out the relentless punishment and humiliation that God saw no place for in dad’s lifetime.

Even if these allegations are true, there is no doubt that God actively blessed my dad and did so right up until he passed. His impact was only getting greater. So what these individuals are saying- along with any person or organization that wants to cancel my dad – is that God was wrong to do so, so we must now correct God’s blessing/mistake by erasing my dad and his voice. To that I say, “That’s a bold strategy, Cotton, let’s see if it pays off for him.”

What this whole incident has shown is that Pharisees still run rampant in Christian culture when someone allegedly falls. Its just that now they use laptops instead of stones. They are cruel, and their disgusting rush to plant their self righteous flag in my dad’s shattered legacy betrays the truth about them – “for the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”

Finally and most importantly, nothing could change how much I love my dad and miss him. I am still proud to be his son.