"The Prodigal Pastor," Alan Prendergast, August 22
I can just about bet there are many more women who have had "sleepovers" with this pastor who are not talking. I'm sure some are still trying to protect him and therefore enable him. I don't care what these women's motives are; at the end of the day, that pastor knows better, as he is in a position of power and authority. There are boundaries in these types of relationships. Teachers shouldn't have sleepovers with students. Counselors shouldn't have sleepovers with clients. Pastors shouldn't have sleepovers with parishioners. Period. It's a violation by a person of trust.
Parishioners may not know that, but pastors sure as hell should.
Not defending his actions whatsoever, but sometimes people forget that pastors are human, too.
Posted at westword.com
Can you say intercession? Sure you can. Dear Jesus: Sorry for all the flaky leadership! Bless Westword for exposing this crap!
As I read the Gil Jones story with conflicting emotions, I was relieved to know that Denver-area Christians have been officially warned in print. However, those emotions turned to horror when I read the specific details of the destruction one man inflicted. This is painful and tragic. I attended Pathways years ago, confronted similar issues with Gil, voiced my concern in a letter to the Elder Board, and yet nothing happened. After this level of attention and reading the upsetting comments in the online article, reliving drama and pointing fingers isn't what former members and local Christians need to do now. This shouldn't become about shaming a "bad pastor." As Christians, we must place our faith in God and move forward. I am optimistic that one day the redemption of a broken man, the healing protection of the flock, and the reputation of the church in Denver will all be restored.
There's a name for people like Gil Jones, who freely engage in this kind of romantic behavior with those they are charged with serving: We quite correctly call them "sexual predators." They prey on the vulnerabilities of those in their charge. The black T-shirts, hoodies and faded jeans may be a clever dodge of the usual accoutrements of professionalism, but anyone paid as handsomely as Mr. Jones for many years now can't be excused for ignorance of the ethical boundaries of his sensitive craft. Those in professions that hold forth to treat the body and minister to the soul are taught that their very office creates a vast power and status difference between themselves and their charges. They hold in trust the privileged communication and access with those who usually come to them in a vulnerable state, seeking their help and guidance.
The article documents well how those who cross this line do great harm to others and to their institutions in the process. The female "seekers" who come to Jones's church hoping for a new start and inspired spiritual care deserve to trust in the integrity and purest motives of the minister.
Yes, there's grace for our failures, but part of that package is a change in heart and will, in terms of leaving behind the wrong behavior. Jones needs to stay 100 miles away from a leadership role in any church until he has taken off a year or more to deal with his own messy midlife crisis and regained the spiritual footing — and standing — to do more than just wallow in his own filth in front of these hungry, spiritual seekers. In more enlightened circles, this "edgy style" could even be judged as laziness and negligence in preparing one's own heart for this most difficult and vital task: that of rendering God's message as well as presenting a humble, forgiven and restored personal model to those seeking something better for their lives.
I just wanted to thank you for writing this article. Thank you for having the courage to put into words what, unfortunately, many of us in Denver already knew. I am a former Pathways member. I don't know what the aftermath will be; I doubt he will stop. But thank you for giving a voice to so many that couldn't.
Alan Prendergast's well-written and sobering story on Gil Jones's predatory schemes in the Denver Front Range is shockingly revealing, and will hopefully prevent the victimization of additional unsuspecting women. The title "Pastor" is synonymous with the profession and title of "Shepherd" in Christian thought. In the New Testament, Jesus alluded to himself as a shepherd who would protect and even lay down his life for his sheep (people). A pastor's duty is to care, nurture and protect people, as a shepherd would protect his sheep.
What Mr. Prendergast has methodically exposed is a predator using the position of pastor to prey on women to meet his selfish emotional and sexual desires. As a member of Pathways Church, I protested to church staff that Gil's preaching was moving away from the tenets of the Christian faith. The response I received was, "But look how many people are attending! God must be a part of this!" I left Pathways dismayed, with my final words to the Pathways staff being, "If he does not change, this church will crash." Less than six months later, it did.
Westword's cover story revealed to me a more sinister and darker undertaking in Christian leadership than I could have imagined. I am shocked and saddened by the revelations of Gil Jones presented, and as I told him fact-to-face after his leaving Pathways, I still pray and hope: "Do not start a church, and get some help."
As a former member at Pathways church, I want to thank you for your article on Gil Jones. While it is awful to have to hear and read those things, I think bringing it to light will be helpful in many ways. The cycle must be stopped, and Gil must get help in managing these issues. Plus, people need to know what happened at Pathways; so many people left the church angry at the leadership for asking Gil to leave without knowing the full story.
Editor's note: For dozens of additional comments on Alan Prendergast's "The Prodigal Pastor," read the story online at westword.com.
"Rise Up," Off Limits, August 22
The key statement in the article is "We don't own it — it belongs to the people." That's why they want to change it, for sure. The way it is right now, anyone can make money on the flag branding, because the people own it. I'm sure they believe they are creating a new branding that the people will gravitate to because it's Colorado.
Well, they are wrong. We like the flag and we aren't buying your green-chile Dorito chip dipped in sour cream. Keep the flag! The people own it and want it!
I think Colorado has the coolest flag of all flags. No need to change a thing about our symbolism.
The new ones don't do our colorful state any justice. It looks like something they came up with when they first invented printed graphics...boring! Keep the old one!
All of them suck the big wazoo.
Either put a damn pot leaf on the logo or stick with the flag! "Colorado....we put you in a better altitude!"
Such a beautiful state. Such a lack of creativity to reflect that. Awful.
The new thing is redundant, and it looks more like a chemical-hazard warning than a mountain.
They look like placards warning you of the presence of carbon monoxide.
What a complete boondoggle. There is zero need to change anything.
The flag is the best...way ahead of its time. Just like Colorado.
So fucking stupid. Who cares if a bunch of assholes are using it for their lame, unsuccessful businesses? The CO flag is an icon. It's a symbol for everything that is awesome in this world ,and the best part about it is that outsiders know it, too. Go to out-of-state music festivals, and CO flags are flying everywhere. The current logo is classic. I'll be bummed if they change it.
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My husband and I are both Colorado natives. We dislike all of the proposed state symbols. Is this going to be another time government does not listen to the voice of the people they serve? We understand the reasoning and concept of "why" a state symbol is needed, but we certainly do not understand how these godawful symbols were the top three. We already have the DIA conspiracy. The last thing we need is another conspiracy based on the Illuminati triangle.
We want the symbol to be the same colors of our state flag and something that represents or is close to our Colorado state flag.
And don't even get me started on the awful slogans! Listen to the voice of the people of this great state, please.