“You can’t handle the Truth!” Another peak behind the Curtain. My “meeting” with Chuck Smith.
I’m obviously disappointed that I didn’t hear from Chuck Smith or his attorney, Janet Carter, yesterday regarding the Bob Grenier situation (though I emailed and left a message asking what the verdict was).
Basically, the deal was for me to be quiet for two weeks while Chuck Smith read the pile of testimonies and chewed on the in-person testimonies and information/argument and requests from our meeting.
Of course, I’m human. Of course, I’m not a happy camper. However, I’m not some irrational completely emotion-driven psycho that some would want to caricature me. Like any of you out there, and Chuck Smith included, I’m a mix of normal human being with all the flaws and emotions that come with that condition. I’m also not an idiot (though my wife would disagree sometimes…and rightfully so )
The fact I didn’t hear anything yesterday tells me a few possibilities: 1. This isn’t that important to Chuck Smith and he’ll get to it when he gets around to it and the two week thing was important to me and not so much to him. 2. The lawyers got to him and told him to put up the Stone Wall, and the meeting was more of a fact-finding info-collecting meeting for Chuck and the attorneys to see what I had (but they don’t know all I’ve got ). 3. Raul Ries, David Rosales and Roger Wing went to bat for Bob Grenier and Chuck’s going to punt (which is essentially supporting Bob). 4. Chuck’s pride got in the way, as he probably doesn’t like a young PK punk giving him deadlines and telling him what to do. 5. Dementia is setting in and he sincerely doesn’t even remember we had a meeting
It could be a combo of all the above and I guess it’s possible it’s something else…including, he reviewed everything, even the “smoking gun” evidence regarding the physical child abuse and he also heard Paul’s molestation allegations (through me and confirmed by Dave Rolph) and read the pile of testimonies from a portion of the many hurt by Bob Grenier at Calvary Chapel Visalia over the years…and decided he can’t or won’t do anything.
Heck, maybe he tried. That seemed to be implied in the meeting, but with lack of dialogue, I’m left to speculate.
Here’s what I do know. We had a meeting, we discussed many things, I was asked to be quiet for two weeks (“submit to Chuck’s authority”..but I thought he doesn’t have any? It does get confusing at times) and let Chuck Smith sort it out…and that at the end of two weeks, he’d get back to me.
Here’s what else I know. Yesterday was two weeks and “it” didn’t happen.
My experiences to date with dealing with Bob Grenier and the Calvary Chapel situation tells me that transparency is absolutely necessary in dealing with these matters. Every single time I have played by the Calvary Chapel “rules” of keeping quiet and playing their game, nothing good comes out of it (unless you’re the abusive pastor and Calvary Chapel). That’s my experience several times over now (and I’ve tried that route with zero success with Bob and his Elders privately, with Bob’s Board privately, with Gary Ruff, Raul Ries and David Rosales privately…nada). Others may have had different experiences with Calvary Chapel.
Here’s what happened at the meeting as straightforward as I can relay it (in terms of removing the natural tendency to frustration and anger when being Stone Walled. I didn’t remove personality, but tried to not be “angry”):
We arrived at the Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa campus on MacArthur Blvd. a little before 1:00 p.m. PST. I initially walked into the offices on the Church / School campus and was redirected to the Logos Building up the road where the meeting was to be held.
We went to the Logos Building (multi-story professional looking office type building, I was told it used to be the Raytheon Building, I could be wrong). Impressive digs. Not a small office building by any stretch. I think it has 6 or 7 floors, very un-churchy, but kind of cool and functional…like Calvary Chapel a bit (but also very business-y, kind of like CC as well).
After a couple of laps around the main floor (met a couple of people, a young staff/pastor named Baron was one…nice young innocent dough-eyed looking fellow, very typical demeanor and spirit of mainstream evangelical pastors I’ve met a hundred times before. Pleasant, polite, good-hearted, etc. (or he fooled me ). Here’s a picture of Baron, you be the judge…I think he’s a nice guy: https://plus.google.com/106078920656751293583/posts
So, we rapped with Baron a little, we peeked into the Pastor’s Conference Room, I believe it was called…and we waited for Chuck and Dave Rolph to show up for the meeting. I was a little geeked up, more excited than nervous. Just wanted to get it on. My bro was pretty chill, my wife was…looking very pretty (I didn’t notice much else, she has that effect on me I lose my train of thought every time ).
Not long after 1:00 p.m. here comes Chuck Smith, Dave Rolph and someone I didn’t recognize. Chuck was warmly greeted by several staff, the famous big Chuck Smile (trademark logo here) was on display…sincerely, he has an engaging smile and comes across very warm and loving. He is well-loved at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, I can tell you that. The people there embrace him like he’s their grandfather, not a boss. There is definitely sincere love and respect for the man at CCCM and he was extremely kind to the people, including my wife and my brother’s girlfriend and daughter.
Dave Rolph was taller and thinner than I expected (from pictures I’ve seen). He looked fit and like he can still ju-jitsu a dude into a rear-naked choke. Dave, goatee, dark curly haired wig (get you looking like Daniel Fusco) and you’ll be ready to take on Acts29.
Then walks in Chuck’s attorney, Janet Carter. Long dark hair, not tall, not short, medium build. I smelled the attorney on her right away (sorry Sheck, you guys have a smell ). [UPDATE: A friend confronted me about the sophomoric description of Janet Carter. I was being a jerk. Guilty. It's been edited].
After the warm greetings between Chuck and his staff, and after some brief introductions, we assembled in the Pastor’s Conference Room…typical Board Room setting, average size, conference table, chairs, ceiling, floor, door, typical stuff.
In the meeting are Dave Rolph, Calvary Chapel Pacific Hills (sitting across from me to my left a little), then moving left to right from my vantage point is Chuck Smith (no other introduction needed) and to Chuck’s right is his attorney, Janet Carter (edited). To my immediate right is my bro Geoff…all 6’1″ and 250 lbs. of him. He still looks like he can suit up and play for a top-tier college football team or in the NFL.
I’ll be frank, I dove (not duv, doooove) right in. I confirmed Janet was an attorney and hit Chuck and Dave pretty hard. There was very little chit-chat, we got right down to business…and make no mistake, that’s what it was…more of an intense business negotiation than something Spiritual. I may have been less business-mode, had Chuck not shown up with an attorney, but it is what it is.
Right from the get-g0, “Chuck, I’m here because I want you to yank Bob Grenier’s dove…Dis-Affiliate him…and I want you to institute reforms within Calvary Chapel to protect children recommended by Kelly Clark.” (Kelly Clark is one of the, if not “the” leading Child Abuse Advocates in the Nation).
Chuck Smith, “I can’t do that” (on the yanking Bob’s dove and Dis-Affiliation). Though, Chuck straightaway agreed verbally to institute recommended reforms by Kelly Clark at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa and to “recommend” the reforms to the other 1,200 “independent” Calvary Chapels.
I’ve heard Chuck likes kids, I don’t think he likes people abusing or molesting children, he was very kind to my bro’s girlfriend and my bro’s daughter, etc. It’s not like Chuck is thrilled with Dino Cardelli, Iglesias (the guy who molested the four young men who Tim Kosnoff is representing in a lawsuit against Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel) and Bob Grenier. I get that. Chuck’s not pro-Child Abuse and Molestation….but, IMO, Chuck is very pro “Not my responsibility and not my problem.”
The meeting quickly turns to “what do you mean you can’t yank Bob’s dove?”
We then argue about Affiliation. Chuck takes the position that he “can’t” yank doves or Dis-Affiliate anyone and that he doesn’t even know there is “Affiliation” or an “Affiliation Agreement.” I tell him I have a copy of one. He says he’d like to see it, that he has no knowledge of one, etc.
I ask Dave Rolph the same thing. Dave says he has no idea what I’m talking about, this “Affiliation” thing.
I tell them they’re both lying through their teeth, but I get it, we’re going to play the Lawyer Game. Okey dokey. “We no speaka english”…”We have no idea what you’re talking about”, etc etc. There’s a word for that, it comes out of the hind-quarters of a bull.
I tell them I know of several situations where Calvary Chapel pastors have been “Dis-Affiliated” for prostitution solicitation (Jimmy Kempner), for going Calvinist (several examples) and there’s even an instance from the East Coast where a Calvary Chapel Pastor (reportedly) was Dove-Yanked for teaching Topically instead of Verse by Verse. Me, “What do you mean you ‘can’t’ yank Bob’s dove?”
Chuck and Dave continued to vigorously defend their position. The attorney, I think, was the first to interject CCOF. Ah, now I get it. The light is going on…basically, CCOF is “a separate Corporation” and independent and Chuck Smith and Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa have “no idea” what CCOF does and how they do it etc etc etc. Okey dokey. Hindquarters, bull.
Rolph played along with this in the meeting, but he’s since moderated via email communication and has copped to now knowing there is something whether they call it “Affiliation” or “Fellowship” and that there is a CCOF that exercises some kind of oversight, etc. Of course, I had emailed Chuck’s attorney and Dave Rolph the copy I have of the CCOF “Fellowship” Agreement/Application with screen shots and information from CCOF’s website that spelled out everything I asserted in the meeting.
Chuck’s attorney moderated Chuck’s position as well, post-meeting. In the meeting, it was a hard-line, “No idea what you’re talking about”…and that’s the truth, God be my Judge…and there was no room for ambiguity, I drove the point home as hard as I could and they still didn’t cop to one bit of it on that issue.
During the course of the “Affiliation” argument, I brought up the fact that Calvary Chapel owns the licensing rights to the Dove Logo and name Calvary Chapel. This was denied flatly. I then argued from the Absurd to make a point. I asked Chuck and his attorney if I could open up a Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa II right across the street and use the same Dove Logo and if they’d have a problem with that. They said, “No.” Basically, they said the only thing that could or would stop me was the State of California if it infringed on DBA / corporate name entity stuff, that basically, Calvary Chapel doesn’t have any licensing or enforcement of licensing. Okey dokey. Insert bull here.
It was now crystal clear that this was a Hill Chuck would die on. He doesn’t want to hand over Agency and/or Implied Agency to Kosnoff and lose the lawsuit he’s in. He’ll lie or spin (and justify it, I believe he sincerely thinks he’s righteous in doing so to protect “the Lord’s Work” at CCCM) to not lay down in that suit and potentially others. Chuck is very intelligent and his lawyers are very intelligent. Chuck should’ve listened to Jeff Dorman many years ago when he was warned about going half-way with this pseudo-Denomination Light “Affiliation” and now “Fellowship” thingy, but again, it is what it is. Chuck did take the warning, though, to change it from “Affiliation” to “Fellowship” as “Affiliation” has a legal connotation that screams Agency…so at least he did that some years back (though many Calvary Chapel Pastors still claim they are “Affiliated”, etc).
So, now Chuck has to bob and weave like a boxer to avoid Agency. Got it. Me, “So, what ‘can’ you do about Bob?”
My recollection, the answers were vague. There was implication that Chuck would do something behind the scenes to influence the situation.
My position was that Bob Grenier called Chuck “his Pastor”…from the pulpit, on his website, in his book. Chuck said clearly that he “wasn’t” Bob’s pastor. I said, “Well, that would be news to Bob.” I told Chuck, whether he liked it or not, he was Bob Grenier’s “pastor” and had a Scriptural obligation to deal with him per 1 Timothy 5:19-22.
They did offer a carrot. There was a claim from Chuck’s attorney that she could get my Mom into a “mediation” meeting with me, my bros and the grandkids. This was huge. I hope they don’t withdraw that, that would be very wrong and sinful, IMO.
Chuck did agree to review the large pile of testimonies against Bob. Chuck did listen to me and my bro Geoff (who did a great job, btw…Geoff is very gifted and communicated very well, he was a good moderating voice to my more aggressive and hammering style). At one point my brother Geoff asked Chuck, “Chuck, do you believe me?” Chuck said he did. That was a pretty powerful moment.
There was one particular testimony that was presented that even Dave Rolph agreed was “smoking gun” evidence that Bob was lying about the child abuse. Chuck Smith reviewed that testimony while we sat there in his presence.
A source has come forward and clearly stated on the record that Bob Grenier went to the Calvary Chapel Visalia Board in 1988 (date is my assumption from my recollection of the time period of this particular instance of intense abuse I personally witnessed) and that Bob Grenier told the Board he had “hit Geoff in the face” and that it was only once, basically an isolated incident and that Geoff “deserved discipline”, etc.
Unfortunately, the Board took Bob’s word for the matter and gave him a lot of grace. Also, unfortunately, Bob was lying through his lying liar lips and had “hit, struck” me and Geoff in the face many times prior to that and many times after that date…in this particular instance Bob had “struck” Geoff in the face many times, but closed his fist and hurt the kid really bad, not just bad. In Bob’s delusional world, if you open-hand hit a child in the face and head as hard as you can, it isn’t “hitting” and isn’t “striking”…it’s acceptable legal punishment. Me and my brothers disagree, the open-handed strikes with the palm of the hand and the ridge of the hand and the base of the hand hurt very very much, especially when the grown male adult is in a frenzied rage and jacked up on adrenaline and really laying into you. But, in Bob World, no biggie. “I only hit Geoff once.” Okey dokey. Bring in that bull again. That particular instance of abuse against Geoff was brutal. Geoff was knocked to the floor and hurt badly…and then Geoff was blamed for the whole thing by Bob for “tempting him to anger” and for Bob “losing his temper.”
Geoff was then sent out of our family, separated from his mother and brothers, because of Bob’s lack of self-control and abusiveness. Geoff suffers the punishment, Bob goes on being Pastor Bob and living the high-life (sometimes lit-rally…as Bob enunciates it). In Bob World, life goes on as it should…all is well. In the World for the rest of us, devastation, extreme pain, chaos, insurmountable guilt, fear, confusion, desperation. But, we’re just disgruntled disobedient children who are interfering with the “work of the Lord.” Okey dokey.
Truth is we were “hit” or “struck” or open-hand punched, smacked as hard as you can, etc. too many times to count over the many years. Geoff and I tried to put a number on it, we couldn’t. It was a way of life. We were often forced to hold our hands down to our sides and Bob would tell is he wasn’t going to hit us any more…then WHAM! It was terribly hurtful physically and extremely psychologically terrifying…but not to Bob. Nope, not abuse, not “hitting”, just normal stuff…though the State of California (Romans 13:1) disagrees strongly. But, Bob says it’s not abuse, the Board at Calvary Chapel takes his word for it and life went on…with more abuse to me, Geoff and Paul (and Robert got some too, though he denies it…but others have come forward with damning testimony that Robert / Bobby told them about abuse in the home).
[UPDATE: To be clear to those who aren't familiar with our story, Bob Grenier, in addition to striking us in the face too many times to count, also hit us with objects including custom-made large and thick wooden paddles, swinging full force in rages, leaving bruises and often drawing blood on the backs of legs, lower back and buttocks. I remember many times clothing sticking to the wounds. Bob Grenier also put Geoff in a small coat closet with the door closed (essentially locking him in under threat of a beating if he got out). He also kicked us, grabbed violently, pushed us into walls, pinched our necks aggressively (like Spock from Star Trek), beat Geoff from head-to-toe with the branch of a mulberry tree in a violent rage, and many other violent manifestations that are too numerous to count. It was a way of life. All clear-cut State Defined Felony Child Abuse...not "over-spanking" or responsible "corporal punishment" as some in Bob's camp would frame it. The only reason Bob Grenier did not go to jail for this is because we were too scared to come forward as we were told we would be separated and put into Foster Homes and because the Calvary Chapel Visalia Board didn't report the abuse Bob confessed to.]
There really is no way around Bob’s confession to the Board of Calvary Chapel Visalia. There really is no way I can see that Bob and Calvary Chapel can spin his admission as something other than clear State-defined Child Abuse. So, fine, don’t take my word for it, don’t take Geoff’s word for it, don’t take Paul’s word for it, don’t take my Aunt’s word for it, don’t take neighbor’s words for it, etc. Take Bob’s word for it. He says he did it…once and once only. Never abused before, never abused after. Got it.
After establishing Bob is lying about the abuse and after Chuck telling Geoff he “believes” him/us…and after I shared some very emotional specifics about losing the relationship with my Mom (and my kids losing that sacred relationship also, which really hurts) all because I confronted Bob’s abusiveness privately and told him to stop being abusive to my Mom and my brothers and to repent (basically I stood up to the bully as a young adult)…we all get punished, not Bob…the meeting “mood” turned more peaceful and constructive vs. combative.
No doubt in my mind that Chuck Smith and Dave Rolph feel bad for us. No doubt they “believe” us. I don’t think either man is heartless or pure evil, etc. However, they are men and Chuck has a lot to lose if he handles this situation in the wrong way (“wrong” context being from a legal / business perspective, not necessarily a Spiritual perspective).
Rolph did stand up like a champ in defending us against Bob. He said clearly he believes us and that he hasn’t heard anything good about Bob and that he’s reviewed a lot of testimony that is very very bad and that he spoke to Paul and that Paul alleges Bob Grenier also molested him, in addition to physically abusing him.
I asked Chuck, Chuck’s attorney and Dave Rolph if they considered Child Molestation to be a serious allegation…and each responded that they did take that allegation very seriously.
They asked if I believed it. I told them I wasn’t molested, but that I was physically abused many many times and that I personally witnessed a lot of abuse by Bob toward my brother Geoff and even my Mom to some degree (though it was in the form of him dragging her to the back bedroom, closing and locking the door and the noises, screams and crying that ensued…many times over). Geoff reports witnessing my Mom being “smacked around” and Paul reports he witnessed Bob on top of her choking her with both hands.
I told them that I know this, Bob is lying about the physical abuse and that Bob is lying about some financial things and lying about taking too many pills, etc…all stuff that Paul has alleged in past years, that Bob has denied. Paul has since been corroborated many times over on the financial issues, the manipulation of Board Members and staff, etc and on the pill abuse issue. That is very concerning.
I love my brother Paul and I support him 100%. If someone put a gun to my head and asked me to make a decision between whether Paul was lying or Bob Grenier was lying…I’d go with Bob Grenier is lying, based on his track record and my personal experience with him. The allegation is extremely serious. Bob is with kids as a Pastor and is trusted. Bob is a Police Chaplain and a Sheriff’s Chaplain, but no one seems to care. I guess Bob has to do something very bad again for something to happen. It’s not enough that he’s gotten away with being a self-confessed Drug Dealer and Drug Smuggler and served no time, and had a homosexual encounter with another boy in Boarding School, and commits felony child abuse many times over, commits spousal abuse, steals from the church, bends and breaks the financial rules, takes too many pills and gets “stoned on pills” according to another Calvary Chapel Pastor who witnessed him stoned on Mission’s Trips, ruins a bunch of people’s lives over the many years at CCV…but now, we get to take Bob’s word for it that he didn’t molest his homosexual blood-son Paul Grenier….and Bob continues to collect his well-over $100,000 per year salary and benefits and gets to call everyone else liars and evildoers all while selling Jesus from a Calvary Chapel “Fellowshiped” pulpit…with zero justice and zero accountability. It’s unjust and very wrong. I don’t think this is what God has in mind and I don’t think it’s what Paul the Apostle had in mind when he wrote the Pauline Epistles and addressed Qualifications of a Pastor/Elder and Church Discipline, etc.
It was clear in the meeting that there was very little trust on both sides of the table. Chuck called me a “loose cannon” and said he didn’t trust me, I told him I don’t trust attorneys and preachers (except Sheck, Kelly Clark and a couple other friends ).
Chuck accused me of being in sin for publishing “lies” on the blog, and “tearing down a work of the Lord” etc. and he and his attorney called it a “refuse collector” that basically was a magnet for every disgruntled Calvary Chapel person and critic out there.
I told Chuck I didn’t know the stuff on the blog to be “lies” but rather corroborated allegations by multiple sources…and that getting the other side of the story was nearly impossible as CC won’t answer questions or return emails, calls, etc. I reminded Chuck that when he finally answered me specifically about the Adultery allegations made by many (several sources) against him, that I finally had the opportunity to ask Chuck point-blank when we first talked and he vehemently denied it. I reminded him that I printed that denial and said it was a settled issue for me.
I also told him that Dave Rolph had confirmed I have good sources and that there’s “a lot of truth to the information” regarding other items on the site. Rolph actually copped to that in the meeting…which was admirable.
I had called Chuck a “Liar” on the blog about the Ayub situation and others. Chuck disagreed. He said he did everything he could in that situation and that Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa takes those issues very seriously and does all it can. I took that article down as I told Chuck I would after the meeting. I will need to rework it to report it differently now that I have new information. At least I will present Chuck’s position as a counter.
So, we both told the other we were in sin. We both started hurling Scripture at each other. I was “printing lies” and “tearing down God’s work” and basically gossiping and slandering and being angry, etc. I asserted that Chuck was lying, covering stuff up and not doing his duty as “pastor” and leader of all these Calvary Chapel pastors, etc.
Chuck seemed to assert that I was in “willful” sin and that he wasn’t…my interpretation from comments.
I asserted that “isn’t it sin to know the right thing to do, have the power to do something about it and then not do it?”
Chuck immediately quoted the verse James 4:17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
He’s a very sharp man, still. He was not the smiley Papa Chuck in the intensity of the negotiations, he was a strong and intelligent adversary (and at the end of the meeting when the tone softened he was more grandfatherly and pastorly).
After Chuck cited the verse, I told him he should do the right thing regardless of me and the blog, etc.
At one point in the meeting I pushed back with Chuck’s attorney that “hey, I’m a sinner! If you are waiting for me to model perfection for you to do the right thing it ain’t gonna happen.” I asked Dave if he was a sinner, I asked Chuck if he was a sinner and the Attorney if she was a sinner. We’re all sinners trying to hash out a difficult and complicated situation. I presented myself as imperfect and a sinner and didn’t believe that I had to be Jesus Christ Himself before they’d do the right thing, thought that’s the Standard that seemed to be in place.
At the end of the meeting (after the emotional part and the softening) Chuck told me he loved me and I told him I loved him. He was seated and I was standing and gave him a bit of a hug. Chuck is not the devil incarnate, he’s not 100% right or 100% wrong. He’s not 100% Saint and 0% Sinner or 0% Saint and 100% Sinner. Like me and the rest of us, he’s 100% Saint and 100% Sinner. He’s a man with good qualities and challenges. He’s good and bad all mixed together, like me, like you.
The situation is not 100% Black or 100% White…it’s shades of Gray. Chuck sincerely doesn’t think he should have to do anything. He doesn’t want responsibility on one hand, but on the other hand, I and many others have pointed out that he is “Pastor” to these CC guys, and he likes the part of being “Pastor Chuck” when it’s fun and nice…he doesn’t like it when it comes to 1 Timothy 5:19-22.
Chuck sincerely believes he shouldn’t be held responsible in any way for Iglesias molesting those four boys (now young men). I told him that our Civil Governing Authority (Romans 13:1) seems to disagree…but we’ll find out.
Since the meeting, I’ve emailed Chuck’s attorney and Dave Rolph my copy of the “Fellowship” Agreement/Application to become a Calvary Chapel Pastor CC_Fellowship_App. I also emailed screen shots and text from the CCOF Website (“Becoming a Calvary Chapel”) http://www.ccofministry.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=62&Itemid=75 that articulates the “Fellowship” Process and Application etc. and the licensing name rights etc. and the hoops a prospective “Calvary Chapel” Pastor must jump through to use the Dove, etc.
I also presented them with the Scriptural Argument that Chuck Smith, as Bob Grenier’s Pastor, should heed 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 (qualifications of a pastor/elder) and that he should follow Scripture here: 1 Timothy 5:19-22 and “rebuke” Bob “publicly”…in the form of he and/or Roger Wing of CCOF “Dis-Fellowshiping” Bob Grenier if he remains lying and unrepentant.
If CCOF is purely “independent” and is the one who does the Dove-Yanking, fine. I asked Chuck to use his influence to get Roger to take another look at this matter (I’ve reached out to Roger Wing and CCOF before on the advice of a current “Fellowshiped” CC Pastor friend) and to yank Bob’s Dove now that Chuck “believes” us, as Dave Rolph does.
Something’s got to give. I’m not suffering these many injustices by Bob Grenier, nor should the many many others. People are still, right this moment, at risk. Bob keeps doing the same stuff over and over and over.
Enough is enough.
[UPDATE: Dave Rolph's take differs a little from mine. Make sure to read the other articles above with emails he sent that describe his take to get another perspective on the meeting].