Monday, June 23, 2008

More Thoughts on Tom Tewell

Well, another of Tewell's defenders from his Fifth Avenue days has entered the blog comment thread. Like everyone else from that church who has commented, "nychurchgoer" prefers to shelter behind the cloak of anonymity. Nothing wrong with that, of course; but it does make one wonder why none of the Tewell loyalists ever want to give their name.

Here is nychurchgoer's comment, written with the usual FAPC vagueness and lack of attention to English grammar:

Please. Do not post comments that allege things. Unless you find a quotation attributed to Tom. As you point out, he came to the Greenwich church September 2007. Does it seem credible to you that he would appear so close to NYC, where many people did show up who knew him, if what you quote would apply?

No, nychurchgoer, it does not seem credible to me that Tewell would appear on our doorstep here in Greenwich. It seems utterly incredible to me. It did back in September, and it still does now. Would you like to know why?

Your scribe was thinking over the weeked about the reasons that the latest news about Tewell bothers him so much, and in the best scribal tradition he has decided to do an intellectual analysis of his intestinal discomfort. This is what he wrote in the waning hours of yesterday evening:

Your scribe is still seething under the collar at the fact that the First Presbyterian Church of Greenwich had the temerity, bare-faced audacity, poor judgment, and execrable taste, not to mention downright stupidity, to invite self-admitted adulterer Tom Tewell to speak at the inauguration of its new $20 million building, and then to preach from the church pulpit the following Sunday. It was bad enough that former Senior Pastor Richard Stearns carried on as a serial adulterer with married women of our church at the local hot-sheets motel before his dismissal; did we really need to have more salt rubbed in that particular wound?

Apparently so. The message these days seems to be, do whatever you want to do, and it shall be covered up for you. Sin your paltry soul away, and the Presbyterian Church will find you a cushy high-paying job to reward you for your misdeeds. In official Presbyterian language, the Seventh Commantment now reads, "Thou shalt not commit personal indiscretions." Whee! Anything goes! Ain't America wonderful? Is this a great country, or what?!

It is clear to your scribe, at least, that Tewell is not in the least repentant about his adultery. When he was here in Greenwich he spent five minutes of his facile sermon telling an elaborate joke about "the A-word", as though to trivialize the sin of adultery itself. In the mouth of another preacher, this "joke" would have been merely tasteless. Coming from Tewell, it was downright blasphemous. Clearly the man has no sense of shame.

This is why your scribe is so disheartened that the "good old boy" network of the Presbyterian Church continues to support Tewell. He has admitted his adultery, but he shows no shame or remorse. When he came to Greenwich, he treated it all as a big joke. Methinks that had Jesus Christ Himself been present in the First Presbyterian Church of Greenwich on that day, He would have simply walked out at that point.

In the Christian tradition, forgiveness is granted to those who truly repent and promise contrition and amendment of life. Tewell is clearly as uncontrite as it is possible for a person to be. Let's all have a big laugh about the A-word, shall we, and tell Tom Tewell what a great and gifted preacher he is. Just don't look to see JC back in the pews anytime soon.

And that, dear reader, is why your scribe is so appalled that Tewell has been given one of the highest-paying jobs in the Presbyterian Church.

Perhaps we should put up large billboards on the roadways into Town: "You are now entering Greenwich, Connecticut. Adulterers welcome."


Blogger JLT said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

June 24, 2008 11:54 PM  
Blogger Malicious Intent said...

Ouch! So how much of your hair have you not pulled out yet as you go mad as a hatter over this guy?

As I said, I am not a big organized religion kind of gal. However, if you join one, you are agreeing that you will live up to the rules and standards of said organization. If those "rules" are not something you can live up to, you have no business branding yourself under said label, back out and go elsewhere. (Like into rush hour traffic.)

It is beyond insulting to those other folks living under that "brand" who work hard every day in their life to follow the rules. But to get paid for it, and break the rules? Even yet get promoted for breaking the rules with more money? Argh!

Sounds like that church needs to have themselves an old fashioned tar and feathering party!!! (I hear this was rather effective in the 1800's.) You can have a lemonade stand, cotton candy, maybe pony rides for the kids. Something needs to be done.

June 25, 2008 7:23 AM  
Blogger Bill Clark said...

Hi, George!

I wouldn't say I'm depressed - merely disheartened. Hypocrisy in high places doesn't get me down, it just gets my goat.

Thanks for the link. From what I gather, Bill Vanderbloemen is getting divorced and remarried. To me, that's a different issue from the Tewell situation. People sometimes grow apart, which is why John Milton wrote his controversial defense of divorce over 300 years ago. While it's not usually comfortable for a local church when clergy get divorced, it's not a canonical no-no, and may actually enable the clergyperson to become a better counsellor to others in marital difficulties.

On the other hand, what I read about Mr. Vanderbloemen's allegedly egotistical personality did not exactly thrill me....

June 25, 2008 10:08 AM  
Blogger Bill Clark said...

Ouch! So how much of your hair have you not pulled out yet as you go mad as a hatter over this guy?

Hi, M. I.! Am happy to report I still have a full head of hair. As I said to George (see above), hypocrisy in high places doesn't get me down, it just gets my goat. Which means I need to express myself on the matter.

I love your idea of bringing back the tar and feathers! Complete with all the amenities of a country fair, no less! Our ancestors understood that public humiliation and ridicule were great deterrents to anti-social behavior.

Unfortunately, that kind of thing is no longer "PC". What used to be black and white is now a dirty shade of gray, and even putting someone in the stocks today would probably be considered "cruel and unusual punishment." And if someone were actually to be tarred and feathered, no doubt he would bring a lawsuit for assault and battery, pain and suffering, and damage to reputation - and win!

June 25, 2008 10:16 AM  
Blogger JLT said...

The divorce and remarriage were less than a year apart, and Tewell is mentioned in the article. The implication is......

June 25, 2008 1:10 PM  
Blogger Bill Clark said...

Yeah, I noticed all that, but prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt. If your marriage is failing and you meet someone else, it's certainly possible to do things the honorable way and file for divorce before hopping in the sack with the new person. Legally, once a separation agreement exists, both parties are free to live their own lives, even though the divorce decree itself may take a while longer.

If I were in such a situation, that's how I would handle it, especially if I were a minister. OK, technically I would still be "married" following the separation agreement, but if law and custom allow both parties to move on at that point, I can't see any point in the church trying to split technical hairs on the subject.

In any case, there have been no official allegations of sexual impropriety in this case, let alone admissions of such, as in the Tewell case. So I see them as rather different from each other.

June 25, 2008 1:28 PM  
Blogger Malicious Intent said...

It got quiet over here.

June 27, 2008 9:16 PM  
Blogger Bill Clark said...

Hi, M.I.! Busy week, busy time of year. Not much newsy stuff going on, though. Guess maybe I'll have to make something up! :-)

June 28, 2008 12:41 PM  
Blogger Malicious Intent said...

Oh forshizel! Make something up Dog! (Rapper talk, poorly done at that incase you were wondering if I had totally cracked my pot yet.)

June 30, 2008 1:18 PM  
Blogger Bill Clark said...

M.I., I'm on a writing kick right now. Smokin' through about 6,000 words a day. I have to stop every so often and spray the keyboard with cool water so it doesn't flame up on me.

July 01, 2008 12:37 PM  
Blogger Leigh Russell said...

6,000 words a day? Go Bill! What are you writing? I'll tell you about mine if you tell me about yours...

July 08, 2008 1:14 PM  
Blogger Bill Clark said...

Hi, Leigh!

Lately it's been more like 10,000 words a day. Except for my brain and my fingers, the rest of me is atrophying.

I woke up ten days ago with a book inside me demanding to be written. Am expecting to finish within two weeks total, begining to end. Four more days to go! Then I can start to repair the damage to my system, assuming I'm not already dead.

It's a romance of sorts, based in the US and the UK (no surprise to you, I'm sure!). New genre for me. Don't have a clue what I'm doing, naturally. What was it Milton said about "Clueless in Gaza"? Yup. That's me, all right!

July 08, 2008 1:31 PM  

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