Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Maybe this would have helped.... (or not)

Another Lark News classic:


MENLO PARK, Calif. — When Brent Libby started attending Green Valley Baptist church, he was surprised at the icy reception he received.
The reason: the pastor knew all about Libby. He'd read about him on WolfWarning.com, a website which chronicles bad behavior by local church-goers. Libby's file included a photograph and comments written by his former pastor that said, "Argues with me over minor doctrinal points after every service. Thinks he knows Greek. Not interested in maturing, just debate. Wolf rating: 3."
"This site is our advance warning system," says pastor Jeff Wheeler of Green Valley Baptist. "It's long overdue."
WolfWarning was started in 2006 by a pastor in Corvallis, Ore., who was tired of seeing troublesome Christians bounce from one church to another, causing the same types of problems. The website now has local chapters in 112 cities.

"When pastors hear about this, they latch on real quick," says the founder.
WolfWarning is restricted to members and is full of dossier-like "files" on people who've been identified by a pastor as a wolf. The pastor gives that person a "wolf rating" to indicate how troublesome he or she was. A rating of 1 or 2 means a minor annoyance; 9 and 10 mean a bona fide church-splitter.
Premium members get an alert each time a new wolf is posted.
"It can be addictive," says one pastor who slips out during Sunday morning worship if he sees someone in the audience he suspects of being on WolfWarning.
A perusal of WolfWarning files finds comments that range from "Distracting, flamboyant worship style," to "Always complains, never volunteers," to the more serious "Tries to seduce lonely single mothers." A typical post from January reads, "She prophesies in a harrowing wail, usually at end of worship time. Accuses pastor of quenching spirit if stopped. Wolf rating: 5."

A pastor in Austin recently changed his sermon because he recognized someone from WolfWarning in the pew on Sunday morning. The "wolf" reportedly would join a small group and take over discussions to preach his own version of the prosperity message. The pastor remarked during his sermon that anyone who spoke more than 3 minutes total in their small group meeting was "probably full of pride." He encouraged people to set an egg timer to keep people from going over time.
"That guy never came back to our church," he says. "WolfWarning helped me protect my flock."
Pastors who belong to the growing WolfWarning community adhere to a code of ethics that includes "no ax-grinding," and "no posting until you have honestly tried to shepherd this person for 6 months, or until they leave."

But some don't like the idea of casting aspersions. A pastor in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., refused to join WolfWarning because he thought "it was no way to treat sheep." But within 8 months all the troublemakers in town ended up at his church. He joined WolfWarning and was "golblasted" at how many wolves he recognized.
"I thought we were struggling because I was unspiritual or lazy," he says. "Now I realize I'd created a wolf magnet."
He quickly became the most active member of his local WolfWarning chapter.
"It gave me a new confidence in ministry," he says.

When "wolf" Brent Libby visited Jeff Wheeler of Green Valley Baptist to niggle over a theological point, Wheeler cut to the chase and told Libby he'd been warned about his argumentative spirit. Libby was stunned and angry, but has since reformed. He now debates his ideas in national online chat rooms so not to poison local relationships. He also lobbied to have his file removed from WolfWarning.
"I'm practicing positive behavior," he says. "They've already lowered my wolf rating to 1."


Maureen said...

Obviously this could never be true of people in Exeter....ahem.

Jeano said...


AussieMaz said...

Hahahaha! "I'd created a wolf magnet"

Are you sure there's not really a site like this? It could be useful.

Anonymous said...

That makes me feel overwhelmingly sad!

Jeano said...

Dear Anonymous,
It should make all of us feel sad.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, It's so sad that this website even exists, The things they state in here as "wolf" behavior are mostly normal things, how can Pastors of churches actually think this way!!! It's so mean and hurtful, if an un-believer read this I could bet they would never ever attend church! If I didn't know that there are churches with pastors that would never read this horrible, judgmental, self righteous rhetoric, I would no longer attend church either!!! This makes me heartbroken jean, I never thought I would hear you say you think the people you used to call "friends" are now wolves!! I'm sad for where your heart is!!!

Jeano said...

Dear Anonymous,
Obviously you don't recognize sarcasm when you see it. "Lark News" is a website that pokes fun at Christians while doing it with humor and a certain amount of truth.
No, there is NOT a website called "wolf warning" (although it might not be a bad idea).
Let me remind you that I did NOT say these things, I simply posted what I felt was a humorous, "tongue and cheek" article. Thankfully my pastor and pastor's wife friends "get it". I'm sorry you don't. So, don't judge me for saying these things when I did not say them.
As for where my heart is... you have no idea, and you are judging me here as well. You have me at a disadvantage since you have posted anonymously. I don't know who you are. You at least know who I am but you do not know ME. You can't possibly know what I'm experiencing or where I have been.
Don't be sad for me.
As I said before, we should all be sad that these things do happen, whether fictiously or not.

crickl's nest said...

Anonymous, this is a very silly website. It is the preposterous nature of the articles that reminds us of real life and makes it so funny.

Satire....but gives people in ministry a laugh for sure.

Jeano....some things are so close to reality that you almost wish it were true.....and yes, sadly.

V said...

I'm so bummed there isn't really a website like this. A pastor is to protect the sheep he shepherds...that's a little hard when he can't always identify the wolves prowling around in sheep's clothing...not to mention when the "gentle lambs" are out to devour the pastor himself. Actually, what makes me sad about this is that people in the church find it hard to believe that there really are people like this...THAT is what's sad!
Thanks for sharing, Jean. Loved it!

Tanya said...

That was funny!!! Almost wish it were true.

And the only sad thing is that we do wish it were true.

Jean, I haven't visited your blog for a while. I've been missing some good stuff. In the immortal words of our governator, "I'll be back." :)

SJ said...

Ah. . .another great story about living in the fishbowl. . .too bad that the 'wolves' aren't willing to get wet every once in a while and try to walk in our shoes. Indeed, many of the things others called to light are sad, but I find it a little scary that someone would read this article and actually think it's true (no matter how much we wish it were sometimes). Thanks for the chuckle! My DH will LOVE this!

Tarasview said...

I'm so glad to "find" your blog! That article made me chuckle too... sorry that someone so clearly misunderstood such an obviously sarcastic post :) Don't feel too bad honey, it happens to the best of us! I get lambasted on my blog for the weirdest things!!

Shashi said...

We've all been given access to the "Wolf Warning" files, they get downloaded by the Holy Spirit and it's important to the rest of the body that we listen and act upon it. I'm so grateful for that!! If we didn't have him... we would need this program!!

mmichele said...

I always wonder why anonymous people are so free with their opinions and so protective of their name.

AussieMaz said...

Still funny the second time.

Jennifer said...

Ha! Just a funny look at life as a pastor sometimes. Thought it was interesting. Also thought provoking - I mean, should we all be thinking about how we "go about" being a church going Christian? This satire is based in some reality - the reality that no one is perfect and there ARE people out there with their own agendas and needs who seek out churches like wolves. It should inspire us all to take a good look at our own heart and motives as church members. While making us laugh too! Thanks for the link Jean.

Alida said...

It there were a site like this it would help if it were international!!

And clearly anonymous missed the sarcasm... that it sad to me.

Krista said...

that IS pretty funny!!

dbrown said...

Jean-Thanks for posting this. I appreciated the article. You could even have a wolf rating for particular churches who "eat their Pastors/staff".
Those with experience in the ministry know exactly what I mean.

April Dawn said...

That is hilarious!!! I'm going to share with my husband when gets home...looks like I have a new website to amuse myself with. :D

Jeano said...

I'm glad you all are enjoying "Lark News". It's just so good for a laugh!!

Amy said...

Matthew 10:16...sounds like this satire echoes the Bible...hmmmm

Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.- Jesus

Shrewdness looks like a command to me!

Jeano said...

Yes, Amy! And also... "strike down the shepherd and the sheep will scatter."