In September 2015 Pastor Douglas Wilson of Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho, charged the Presiding Ministers of the CREC to issue a written report regarding his handling of two child molestation cases visited upon the Kirk. He specifically asked them for their counsel:
Moreover, they [Kirk elders] have requested that the presiding ministers satisfy themselves as to the health and soundness of their pastoral care in such circumstances, and to provide them with their counsel and advice where they see any deficiencies. (Inquiry into the Pastoral Ministry of Christ Church (Moscow, Idaho), October 3, 2015)
In August 2017 the CREC Review Committee delivered the Presiding Ministers’ Report on the Sitler and Wight Sex Abuse Cases, or PMR. Page 18 states:
But when it comes to matters such as the Sitler and Wight cases, especially when victims are involved, an entirely different voice needs to be heard — one clad not in battle regalia, but in a humble linen tunic. Not only is this glorifying to God and the right thing to do, it is a kindness to victims, as well as to internet onlookers, who may already be confused by the allegations, and who will likely become even more confused by pastoral responses made with sword and mace. Had biblical humility and prudence been placed more to the fore — and that is what our suggestions are trying to express — we believe it would have placed Pastor Wilson and the entire controversy on a higher road.
In that regard, let us point out a few specifics we believe are inconsistent with the high road. . . .
- Using unnecessarily provocative language, including derogatory or calloused language about women. Referring to certain women as “small breasted biddies” or “lumberjack dykes” is not likely to serve an edifying purpose in this context. We note that this language has caused a good deal of anguish among pastors and elders of CREC churches who would otherwise be supportive of Pastor Wilson’s ministry. Pastors should be careful not to give women reasons to avoid seeking help from the church. Instead, we should make it clear that the church is a place where all people are treated with honor and respect, and where victims can find grace.
In this particular case, Pastor Wilson’s rhetoric has, unfortunately, been found offensive and inappropriate even by many in his own denomination (including other pastors and elders). Pastor Wilson’s blog posts regarding these cases have proved to be quite divisive even amongst those who consider him a friend and ally. A more prudent and temperate use of language would be helpful. . . . (PMR page 18, emphasis original)
The Presiding Ministers of the CREC flagged two phrases coined by Douglas Wilson as offensive — “small-breasted biddies” & “lumberjack dykes.” And they advised him to be considerate of others when he writes.
Last month the Presiding Minister of the CREC replied to the Presiding Ministers, whom he appointed to give him counsel:
So if someone with a long enough face to be a dowager from Human Resources tells me that I am no longer permitted, as a cis-white-male, to make any observations or comparisons, metaphorical or otherwise, about any aspect of the female anatomy, guess what I am going to do? Guess what my next blog post is going to be about?
Go on, guess. (Blog & Mablog, A Tether Ball in a Tornado, September 18, 2017)
Pig Mouth Is The Brand
Previously we considered one reason why Doug Wilson refused to submit to the Presiding Ministers’ suggestions in the PMR: He needs to “shock and insult” to keep his audience. If he surrenders the vulgarity, then “the whole game collapses.” Therefore, “small-breasted biddies,” “lumberjack dykes,” and all the other insults stay in his repertoire. In this respect, the pig mouth is the brand. The Presiding Minister of the CREC created a market to openly abuse others and the Presiding Ministers of the CREC gave him no reason to leave it. He diligently cultivated his brand under the dutiful eyes of the CREC — why should he change now?
Every Word Calculated
Douglas Wilson calculates the cost-benefit factor of his insults before he hits “publish”:
“Do I draw any distinction — have I noticed any difference between me in person and me on the blog?” [Laughter] I don’t know, have you? [Laughter] The answer is very much, “Yes.”. . . Um, when I’m writing, um, if I’m writing a blog post, I’m writing for thousands of people in all different walks of life, all different situations. Some of them are going to love me; some of them are going to hate me; some of them are going to be indifferent. Now some of them know me in person and some of them are not so hot about that either. . . So some people say, “Well, if you — if you could be more like you are in person on your blog, I think people would like you more.” Yeah, I think about ten times less people would like me. . . . the percentage of people liking me would be more, but the people reading me would be less, so it’s a basic tradeoff. . . How can we communicate the gospel as winsomely as possible to the largest number of people. And, um, I get a lot of feedback from people who are encouraged by the blog, a lot of feedback. I get people who are ticked off by the blog. So you have to say, “Okay, I’m speaking to a thousand people and 58 of them are upset and 600 of them are greatly encouraged.” That’s the thing I am thinking about how to calibrate all the time. . . . (Shubin Report, Christ Church HOH Meeting, October 27, 2015, page 218)
Please note how Doug Wilson uses “winsomely” as a euphemism for giving offense, or abuse. It’s a generic reference to “small-breasted biddies,” “lumberjack dykes,” etc. He “calibrates” this winsomeness (abuse).
Law of Diminishing Returns
The economic law of diminishing returns applies to this particular con game. Douglas Wilson needs to “shock and insult” readers, to keep the con going. He produces shock with each vulgar term. However, regular use of specific boorish words decreases their shock value. For example, the more he says “boobs,” the less it shocks his readers. His return diminishes because they’re used to it. So he has to add new terms to his portfolio. You can chart the pattern: Every two years or so he escalates — or “calibrates.” Here is a brief timeline that documents his first use of various terms on Blog & Mablog:
“. . . the Tomb Raider series wants us to see the incredible buns and boobs, connected by a fragile Barbie waist, in motion. . .” (Blog & Mablog, Gritty Realism, February 22, 2008)
“It is behaving like an ecclesiastical dyke.” (Blog & Mablog, Pikestaff Texts, July 8, 2008)
2010: “getting laid”
“following her will greatly increase their chances of getting laid” (Blog & Mablog, How Bad Theology is Incentivized, July 28, 2010)
2010: “you could nickname these breasts”2
“Or, if you like, in another strategy of seeing things rightly, you could nickname these breasts of other woman as the ‘principalities and powers.’” (Blog & Mablog, Dealing with Nuisance Lust, September 5, 2010)
“Nobody should want the kind of Talmudic process that could conceivably result in banning pink vibrators but okaying all the others.” (Blog & Mablog, Dinner for Two at Angelo’s, January 13, 2012)
“way to miss the redemptive moment, bitch” (Blog & Mablog, The Politics of Outrage, July 21, 2012)
“make her tits bigger” (Blog & Mablog, Put an Egg in Their Shoe, February 24, 2014)
“I thought the eff-word law was referring to fudgepacker.” (Blog & Mablog, Circumlocutions and Faggotré, February 27, 2014, emphasis original)
Every two years Doug Wilson spikes his lexicon with new vulgarities, in order to maintain the requisite shock value for the con. (2015 to the present have been off years, presumably because of the CREC Review Committee; to be sure, he has written a few blog posts to defend his vocabulary during this time.) You can see how he systematically “calibrates” the introduction of each term into his style guide for further use. Each new word is always more explicit than its predecessors. And note the common denominator: Sex and degradation of women. Remember, he stated the rule that controls his behavior:
“The whole point is to shock and insult those who don’t know that they are being played. Take that away and the whole game collapses.” (Blog & Mablog, On Learning to Hate Their Dog, September 2, 2013)
He Does Not Care
We’ve already noted that he does not care whom he offends, including fellow pastors & elders in the CREC, women, and victims. In this quote, he tells us why he does not care:
Yes, someone might say. But still. Why you have to use phrases like “lumberjack dykes”? It is provocative. Yes, it most certainly is. But the people pretending to be outraged are liars. I put certain things out there as bait, because I know they will take it, and when they take it I have yet another glorious opportunity to not care about their faux-outrage. (Blog & Mablog, Win or Winnow or Both? March 21, 2017, emphasis original)
He does not care because, according to him, the people whom he offends are “liars.” And note how he relishes giving offense — he describes it as a “glorious opportunity.” This is more of that defiance for defiance’ sake. He has no emotional capacity to empathize with those he insults or those who take offense at his insults.
Nothing Doug Wilson says offends me and I could care less how deep he swims in the sewer to augment his vocabulary. The point isn’t Mr. Wilson’s pig mouth. The point is that Mr. Wilson must wax worse and worse to maintain his brand — and of course he wields tremendous influence. Just imagine what the church would be like if all Christians emulated Doug Wilson’s example. Imagine that all believers did “not care” about each other as much as much as he doesn’t care.
One thing, however, we don’t have to imagine: The Presiding Ministers of the CREC sure don’t care.
1 Doug Wilson regularly features women’s breasts in his written corpus. However, he doesn’t use the word “boobs” until 2008, at least on Mablog.
2 This is a radical escalation because he instructs men to name the breasts of women. He is overtly corrupting his readers.
3 Use of the street term “tits” marks an escalation from his regular use of “boobs.”
4 Douglas Wilson has always used vicious insults to describe homosexuals, most likely due to self-loathing of his closeted orientation. However, this particular insult was a first.