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Friday, May 30, 2014


Yesterday sure was interesting.
If you’ve read my blog before, particularly in the last few weeks, you know about my dinner with Dave Ramsey and his wife, and the reasons behind it. You can scroll down and see it if you somehow missed it.
Well yesterday was the high point for this blog as far as hits goes. Almost 1200 people read, and in some cases re-read, my post. This happened because of an internet article from Matthew Paul Turner, exposing allegations against Dave and his alleged employment policies.
I used the words “alleged” and “allegations” because only one person was actually named when quoted. Well, two, if you count me, but Turner never contacted me and worded the article as if I was a former Ramsey employee. (Which I am not)  I called him out on it via Twitter, because comments were disabled on the site where the story ran. He re-worded the article to make it clear that I was never a Ramsey employee. However, he never did ask me for my side of the story or why I thought I had an axe to grind with Dave Ramsey. My gut feeling is that my side of it would have softened the tone of the article -which was a classic hit piece- and left the reader at least pondering the possibility that maybe the problem isn’t all Dave. When one is out to ruin a guy, one can’t have any softener in the mix.
But that’s life and that’s “journalism” in the era of the National Enquirer and the internet, and so what? In a world of information overload, this will be old news by next week.  Ultimately, nobody cares about Dave Ramsey except people who care about Dave Ramsey, either pro or con. Dave probably didn’t lose a single listener from his core, and I doubt there were many folks who read the article and said “You know...I was going to sign up for FPU and get my finances in order, but now I won’t.”
Matthew Paul Turner has a new book coming out, another one where he attacks fundamental evangelicalism as evil, unscriptural, and “Americanized.” I’m sure this article will go a long way toward ginning up attention for it, and I’m guessing that was at least a portion of the reason behind it. He digs controversy and it serves his purposes. I tried listening to him on his short-lived radio show in Nashville and I just couldn’t stomach it.
You know how some teenagers will disagree with their parents just to get attention and be disagreeable and contrarian? Yeah that’s him. He’d say things about the Bible and Christianity and take the opposing view and then wait for the phone to ring. Then you’d get the smug attitude in his voice that revealed that you disagreed simply because you have an archaic, draconian view of scripture, and if you were as enlightened as he, you’d agree with him. I listened and called...I know whereof I speak. I was so infuriated I had to stop listening.
Whatever... the world is populated by those folks these days. I could just write him off as another neo-evangelical who wants to be loved, where Jesus said we’d be hated. But yesterday something happened on social media that made me sick and I thought about writing about it last night but decided to sleep on it first.
First of all, I asked MPT to correct his errors where I was concerned and he did...then he stopped following me on Twitter. Really? Because I was the one guy who took Dave up on his invitation, met with him, and heard him out, and came away with a different view? I don’t follow MPT’s party line so I’m off his friends list? It’s not that I care, because I don’t. But seriously...I refused to be lumped into his story as if I was party to the others’ input and he took offense to that? Sorry Matt...that was the truth. My situation was entirely different from what you were writing about and I simply asked you to make that clear. But it got worse...
On Facebook, I became "friends" with someone a few months ago. I won’t give her name, because that’s how angry social media wars begin, and this isn’t meant for that. But her newsfeed picked up Matthew Turners FB page, and I saw where he posted the article on his wall.  In the comments were the expected anger and vitriol. I’m not going to enter that fray. I’m not here to be a Ramsey defender and I don’t believe Dave expects me to, simply because he showed me kindness. I never worked for him. I can’t, with integrity, defend his methods as a boss because I don’t have an hour’s experience there. But when one of the commenters made the leap from Dave’s allegedly difficult tactics as a boss, to him being a domestic abuser...I spoke up.
It’s one thing to “expose” a man’s flaws, and it’s quite another thing to outright try to ruin him...especially with unfounded, evil fantasy. Especially by using something as despicable as alleging abuse. I spoke up, and instantly I was the bad guy. That woman “unfriended” me (which I always find hysterically passive-aggressive)
To which I respond...
What the heck is wrong with you people?
I don’t care if Dave Ramsey walks the halls of his building with a bull-whip and a cattle prod. Tying him to something criminal and horrible like domestic violence with ABSOLUTELY NO BASIS IN FACT is as evil as it gets. In a way, you made his point for him...he has a very tough stance against gossip and that one comment was all the proof anyone would need to understand why.
(*I was informed this morning [5-31] that the comment was removed)
I let myself obsess about the man because I was angry. I was angry because I was stinkin’ HOMELESS for almost SIX YEARS. I would hear the most heartless things spit at me by the “beloved of God” where I lived at the time, and they always seemed to attach Dave to it. “Dave says...” or “Like Dave says...” In the fog and depression and disillusionment  of the life I led then, I got angry at him for it. He was an easy target and I needed comic relief.
Ultimately, even that isn’t an what is the excuse of the guy who made the jump on Facebook? What is Turner’s? Because Dave is better at radio than he is? Because he’s rich? Because he doesn’t adhere to the liberal theology that Turner preaches?
Disliking a man and criticizing a man, even dogging his steps for the things he does wrong (that you have real PROOF of ) is one thing. But creating a monster from conjecture, in order to destroy him, simply because you don’t like him, is another...and it’s wrong.
It’s more wrong than anything Ramsey was accused of in the article and it’s evil, pure and simple.
Social media has, at times, bestowed doctoral degrees on morons. It has also given an opportunity to some people with some real talent, who wouldn’t have had the chance otherwise. (I think I fall into both categories) But it has also caused a few deaths from the exponential transmission of evil gossip. It’s sad that we get incensed when it happens to some teenaged girl or boy, but if it’s a rich guy we don’t care for, limits are off and that blood in the water means all is fair.
That’s a travesty.

My former pastor back home used to have a saying that he used all the time. It was this: “It’s never right to do wrong in seeking to do right.”  Apply that here. If your goal was to correct Dave Ramsey for his alleged “unChristlikeness,” being even more unChristlike is not the way to accomplish it.

Oh, and since you've all stopped by to dig some about you help out a single dad and buy a book or two. Make this whole thing worth your time.


Unknown said...

Respect bro. You've earned mine with that post right there.

Anonymous said...

You are a man of great character. Well said.