Anomalies From the Rooftop

Theology from Anomalies. One story a day from the world of Christianity that is just a little off-beat. Sometimes, in shouting the good news from the rooftop, Christians do some strange things.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Preacher's Wife Asks Him to Admit Infidelity--At Gunpoint

At the Sunday evening service at the Pentecostal Church of God in Newport, Arkansas, Tammy Estes pulled a gun on her husband, preacher Larry Estes, and demanded that he admit his infidelity. Members of the church who remained (most left the building when the incident began), have been quick in their assurances that there was no hostage situation. According to church member Brenda Wilson, who was in the church during the two-hour standoff, "They're precious people. She's a precious woman, and I guess we all have our breaking point. She reached hers last night."

Her "breaking point" was apparently reached by a series of text messages that Larry had sent to a member of the church youth group. Thus, telling good guys and bad guys apart in this story is well nigh impossible.

But though her gun in church move certainly can't be condoned, there is a certain calculating brilliance to the tactic employed by Tammy. Rather than simply confront him at home, she confronted him at church, telling him to admit to infidelity in front of the whole congregation. She doesn't appear to have wanted to hurt him physically, just to make him confess publicly. Thus he would be publicly admitting to his whole congregation that he had grievously sinned, and would almost certainly have lost his position in the church and community. There would be no way to cover things up or to smooth them over. Frankly, if anything, the gun at this point weakened her hand, because anything he did admit to he could later excuse as coercion. Still, the general tactic is brilliant--extract a public confession.

Of course, there is a pretty easy counter-tactic for preachers to follow--don't cheat on your spouse with members of the youth group.


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