After reading Rae Lewis Thornton’s blog about Pastor Jenkins and his affair, I took to the computer to express myself. What started off as an expression, turned into what you’ll read below. I can appreciate her wanting to be supportive and offer MG a voice. I don’t agree when it takes a turn for the ‘this is my girl and I got her back’ journalism.
I realize that some people who read this will not like what I have to say. Though I respect Rae Lewis Thornton for who she is in the community, I have multiple issues with the way her article was presented. Nonetheless, this is my perspective, point by point, as I read it first, then again for response.
1) In relation to Scandal and the race to watch it and RLT’s response of “hope that one day Olivia’s will get her man, but when it comes to a real-affair, we tar and feather the other woman.”– Well, she said it herself, Scandal is television and not real life and despite how excellent the script writing makes us feel, the reality is most people I know are against such behaviors. We know the difference.
2) After Pastor Jenkins apologized with his wife by his side and told the congregation the woman’s position at the church he also stated that his legal team was in place, that they were well aware, and that his attorney is a monster. That was left out of the article.
3) RLT says “Extortion, I don’t think so, was my second reaction. I know her personally and in fact had learned about their affair a year earlier. She had taken ‘Auntie Rae’ in her confidence as she tried to heal from this eight year affair…” — Firstly, just because you know someone personally does not mean you know them wholly. There are plenty of people who knew rapist, murderers, blue-collar, white collar criminals, and adulterers personally before they went to jail or were ousted, or on the run. The first thing people who knew people personally say is, “I know them personally.” What RLT is admitting, is that she knew an adulterer personally. The “fact”, as RLT puts it, that she herself knew about the affair a year prior and then cloaks it with “Auntie Rae” and “in confidence” only now to appear privileged in the knowledge is disheartening. What I didn’t hear was what words of wisdom Auntie Rae gave MG about the affair since it’s so important for the world to know now, that it went on. By the way, thanks RLT for letting us know the length of time too, because we so needed another layer to add to this madness.
4) RLT said, “She told me about trips at the church’s expense…” Well now that’s what we call embezzlement. So I’m sure that extortion is not out of the realm of possibility here. Thanks for admitting that RLT. I’m sure his lawyers will have a field day with it. Because of course, she accepted. In addition, I’m sure a gag order will be sent to you soon on behalf of her attorney.
5) “She admitted she was attracted to his charisma” –Well aren’t we all? It doesn’t mean that we have to agree to sleep with him for eight years. “He promised to leave his wife which was the reason behind hiring her in such a high profile position. They were a team!” –No, he and his wife were a team. She was an employee and he, her employer. That was business.
6) RLT says, “I can’t even begin to tell it all, nor is it my story to tell,” —yet, here we are, in your article reading the story you’re telling, the one that’s no longer in confidence.
7) RLT says, “Girl, when did you realize that he was never going to leave his wife for you?” MG says, “When his wife became pregnant with their third child.”— WOW! First the question, didn’t you already ask this a year ago RLT? Or was it just juicy to hear and listen to? MG, as an intelligent woman, after all the life lessons and stories, books, and situations you’ve seen or encountered, you thought you were the woman to make him leave his wife? You thought that after years of having the first lady by his side, he’d introduce you as the new first lady? Did you really believe that he wasn’t taking care of home? Did you care anything about this man’s young children? I joined the church in Sept 2007. In October of 2008, his eldest daughter was 5 at the time, and his youngest daughter was 3 and his wife was expecting their third baby, a boy. So if I do the math and subtract when this affair began in 2004, the oldest was 1 and youngest wasn’t thought of or maybe on the way. Hmmm… So it took two more babies to figure out that he wasn’t leaving or was three children the limit?
8) RLT says, “While I though highly of her brilliance for Fellowship, I was a little disturbed when Pastor Jenkins fired for sure two people on staff to hire Mundi. It didn’t make sense at the time, Patrick, our CFO was the bomb… Reynonda, was Rev. Jenkins’ executive assistant at the time…I watched the pain in their eyes and never knew what to say.” — This is speculation and not fact RLT, you just said so yourself. You do not know with absolute certainty that Pastor Jenkins said to Patrick or Reynonda that they were being fired to make room for Mundi. I’m almost certain that those words were not on the pink slip or reasoning behind the expulsion from the position. The problem with this statement is that you said, “fired for sure two people” which insinuates that you only know that two people were indeed let go but there could’ve been more possibly, but you’re unsure and you want to believe it was to make room for Mundi. You also said that “it didn’t make sense at the time” which further shows the lack of fact, again, this is speculation and opinion. Secondly, do we know that Patrick and Reynonda wanted their names in this article, or to even be associated with this? How do we know that they’ve not moved on from being let go? Does the world really need to know that Patrick was once the CFO of the church and Reynonda was the executive assistant as it relates to your article or was this additional name dropping of people you know personally?
9) “The rumor was spreading that Jenkins had made these staffing changes because Mundi was a better choice to further the goal of the new Fellowship that was shifting quickly from the Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church my mentor Rev. Clay Evans had founded.” — Key word here, RUMOR. Again, you just debunked everything you stated in the paragraph before this, while trying to present it as fact. I call this irresponsible journalism. Funny thing is, the rumor was that Mundi was a better choice to further the goal of the new fellowship. The rumor sounds like a solid business decision to me. But here’s a caveat to consider, when I was growing up, I can distinctly recall several inappropriate conversations from elders about the beloved mentor Rev. Clay Evans, but of course that was in the time when Twitter and Facebook didn’t exist, and bloggers were really unheard of, you get where I’m going with this–Church folk hush talk.
10) RLT says, “Let’s be clear, Mundi Griffin left a six figure job to run the operations at Fellowship, and while she was making $106,000 it was a significant pay cut. The fact of the matter, all of her entrepreneurial businesses also suffered as she devoted more and more time to the projects at Fellowship and of course even more time to Pastor Jenkins, which according to her was his number one priority.” — What does her leaving a six figure job for a lower six figure job have to do with this? Oh, wait, as an informed business woman in “the ivy league of Corporate America” companies, she made an informed business decision that was conducive for her and the needs of her family? She chose to leave her company. But, is the real question the following: Was her leaving a well paid position about money or was it to be closer to her lover? And the “fact” that her other entrepreneurial businesses suffered as she devoted more time to Fellowship was a choice and not a fault. She chose to devote more time to Fellowship and Pastor Jenkins, obviously outside the scope of her defined positional duties. Her businesses suffering is a result of choices she made. The affair with Pastor Jenkins was more important to her than being a successful entrepreneur with a high -powered church position. RLT says that in MG’s words, projects to Fellowship and even more of her time to him, was his number 1 priority. Well, let’s be clear on one thing, when you’re someone’s number 1 priority, then you’re no one’s secret! We have to know the difference between someone’s greed (Pastor Jenkins) and someone’s need. Shame on them both because they knew better.
11) RLT says, “I now know he was making a way for his lover and creating a partnership in plain sight, how could she not believe him, trust him? He had used his power as pastor to elevate her. This partnership would last 5 years as his employee and lover and another 3 years as his lover, once she left Fellowship.” — Pastor definitely created a partnership in plain sight. He created a partnership with a woman he believed could help take the church to the next level. Fellowship didn’t fold. Our memberships increased. Visions were becoming realities. She did her job, as an employee. She was also in a position where regular contact with his wife was a reality too. He didn’t use his power as a pastor to elevate her. According to RLT she was already at the top of her game, remember, the Ivy League of Corporate America, which means that any “Pastoral Power” could’ve been used to sway her business savvy Fellowship’s way, which we had for 5 years.
12) RLT says, “I was disappointed when Rev. Jenkins announced from the pulpit that Mundi was extorting him. NO the truth of the matter, her lawyer sent him a letter for breach of contract in 2013, which I have seen.” — And you say all that to say what exactly? Have you reviewed all communications between MG and her attorney or just what MG chose to show you? Are you a part of the legal proceedings? So if it comes out that MG is being sued for extortion on behalf of the attorneys representing Pastor Jenkins, what will your response be? Wait, you knew her personally and you saw a letter that had nothing to do with extortion. That’s right. By the way, is the world supposed to know that Pastor Jenkins received a breach of contract letter? This is an awful lot of personal information being divulged that I should think only the parties to the matter should be privy to. Well if you’ve seen the letter, why can’t we? I mean, you’ve shown us text messages with no name. But then again, you may have another legal issue at hand if you did that.
13) RLT says, “I sat there puzzled, how did Rev. Jenkins make the leap to extortion? There is no lawyer on the planet, unless they want to be disbarred and go to jail, who would participate in extortion.”– Well now here’s the thing, he’s accusing MG of extortion, not an attorney. Secondly, I can research quite a few names of disbarred attorneys that have participated in illegal activities, one being extortion. I only state this because you said, “No lawyer on the planet” There’s quite a few actually. They’re human and fallible too, you know.
14) RLT says, “I was even more disappointed at a missed opportunity for a pastor to be as authentic as he could be for both his healing and for the church. Pastoral abuse is a serious issue. He had already used his leadership authority to further his relationship with Mundi, now he was using it to flip the script.” — Who made you the authority on authenticity? Did you have that same judgmental authenticity radar when MG was pouring her heart out to you a year ago? But then again, that’s your opinion. In your heart, you felt he wasn’t being authentic. Well, he didn’t have to admit that he had an affair with his wife by his side to his church, but he did. He also said that she (his wife) knew about it and they’ve worked to repair. Pastoral Abuse/Spiritual Abuse, I wouldn’t call it this. He’s still the Pastor of a church. He will still stand in the pulpit and speak to his congregation. That’s his job. It’s no different than a CEO of one of these Ivy League Corporate America companies you speak of, that falter and send a mass email to his employees or a video conference to state what needs to be said and no more. See here’s the difference, you keep stating that he used his pastoral ways to further his relationship with her, but he didn’t need to, if you also state that long after she was gone they continued their affair, 3 years after in fact.
15) “Flipping the script never works for me.” — Wow. So what does, truth? Because I’m not too sure if that works for you either. You’ve added to the script, chopped the script, erased and rewrote the script, drew a line threw the script, then renamed it. The bottom line is, this woman is not innocent and nor is Pastor Jenkins and this article reads a lot like you want us to believe she was bamboozled and so mesmerized into sleeping with this married man for 8 years and not waking up from this lust stupor until his wife was pregnant with their third baby. But here’s one for you…what if his wife never got pregnant again, then when will it have ended? Did you ask her that one too?
16) RLT says, “While I was in seminary, clergy abuse was a serious topic. I learned that the greater burden of moral responsibility falls on the one with the greater power.” — That’s what you learned in seminary and that’s an amazing thing to try and live by but it doesn’t make the affair solely his fault because he’s a Pastor nor is it an excuse for her to hide under. At the end of the day, it’s all immoral. They were wrong. Neither of them are innocent.
17) RLT says, “For me this cannot be reduced to the common themes I hear when a pastors affair is made public in the Black Church” — So what do they say in the White church? I mean this happens everywhere right? I’ve heard a few variations but is he wrong in asking for forgiveness? No, we’ve all sinned, we do so daily. For some of us, sinning just comes so naturally. We are an imperfect people and only God is of perfection. But that doesn’t stop us from repenting and continuing to seek his face, even when we stumble and fall.
18) RLT says, “That relationship began at the same time as the BoardRoom. During that time Mundi was in and out of my home, she had become close friends with Davita who became another one of my children when I first started speaking. Looking back, I remember all those times, Davita would tell me that she was at a hotel on the Mag mile with Mundi hanging out. I get it, Davita was Mundi’s cover in this affair. He would leave the hotel and Davita would come and hangout with Mundi, to at first defray suspicion from Mundi’s own husband, Yes I said husband. This was one tangled web. That’s another story.” — So again, why do we need to know about Davita? Does Davita want her name mixed up with this mess? So does Davita know all the personal details and should we look out for her point of view too, soon? Can we please just stick to the people involved and stop it with the name dropping of people we just don’t need to know about? And wait a minute… POW POW, shots fired, alarms are buzzing– SO SHE’S MARRIED, TOO! So she really knew what she was doing and she liked it. It had nothing to do with charismatic charm. She found Pastor Jenkins more interesting and possibly fulfilling than her own husband and instead of working it out with him or divorcing him, she hung on to the promise that Pastor Jenkins would divorce his wife first? Whewwwwww. So, what’s the purpose of the article again, to tell us what most of us didn’t know? Wait, let me see if I can pull it together, smart and savvy married businesswoman has 8 year affair with successful Chicago Pastor, goes to great lengths to hide affair from husband while using friend Davita as a cover up, waits for pastors divorce that never came after Pastor’s wife becomes pregnant with third baby, pastor apologizes for sleeping with employee, he and wife are rebuilding. Did I miss anything?
19) RLT says, “The truth is, Rev. Jenkins had an eight year affair, a picture got out, he have no idea where it came from, so he took a leap with no verification what so ever. He used his pulpit authority as a weapon. There is nothing from Mundi asking for money. NOTHING! and the truth of the matter, if there were I know I would have gone to the police the day it began. But all we have is a half confession and a scape goat for his shame.”— I liked Wikipedia’s simple explanation of extortion and blackmail, a lot simpler than my law books, so I’ve used it here: Extortion (also called shakedown, outwresting, and exaction) is a criminal offense of obtaining money, property, or services from a person, entity, or institution, through coercion. In blackmail, which always involves extortion, the extortionist threatens to reveal information about a victim or their family members that is potentially embarrassing, socially damaging, or incriminating unless a demand for money, property, or services is met. — So, money may not always be the object. It could’ve been services, property, or action. So just because she didn’t ask for money, according to RLT, doesn’t mean she’s not extorting him.
20) RLT says, “On the other side of the coin, Mundi has been accused of extortion by Rev. Jenkins from his pulpit and Mundi has remained silent. Today I am giving her this voice in a unedited one on one interview.” — So first we have an unedited opinion and now an unedited interview, says the woman that knows her personally. Well, it’s obvious that she didn’t know her morally.
21) “RLT: Mundi, lets cut to the chase. Are you extorting Rev. Jenkins
Mundi: Hell No! If that were the case this conversation would be taking place with me behind bars.” — Not immediately. That’s why there’s a court system in place.
22) “RLT: Have you had any correspondence with Rev. Jenkins regarding this incident?
Mundi: Yes, he called me a few times on the Tuesday after he made the announcement from the pulpit but I didn’t answer. Instead I sent him a text and we had a heated exchange.” — Why? Didn’t your lawyer tell you not to communicate with the person you’re involved in legal matters with? Be quiet and if you must speak, tell him to contact your attorney. WTH
23) “RLT: From reading these text, it seems he was trying to get you to admit to extorting him. This was the first contact you had with him in any fashion regrading this matter of extortion:
Mundi: Yes” —- I didn’t get that at all from reading the pictures with no name at the top. But I’m willing to bet that taking a snap shot of the whole thing could become yet another legal issue. Who’s to say that the texts itself are even…wait for it… “Authentic”?
24) “RLT: So let me ask you this, do you know this guy from the Obnoxious Blog where the picture was posted or have ever had any contact with him?
Mudi: No, I was just as shocked to read the blog as everyone else.
RLT: What did you think when you read the blog?
Mudi: Here he goes again, in yet another relationship with a woman other than his wife.” — I take issue with MG’s statement of “Here he goes again, in yet another relationship with a woman other than his wife” REALLY! YOU DARE SAY THAT! I call that audacity. Here he goes again, Ms. 8 years. There you go again in a relationship with someone other than your husband. Shame. Shame on them both.
25) “RLT: When did it shift?
Mundi:Well, in one planning meeting regarding the BoardRoom he asked me to step out of the meeting in the middle of the meeting. Once we were on the other side of the door, he looked down at my finger bearing my wedding ring and asked,
“What is that”
“My wedding ring,” I said.
He then asked, “Does he know what he has?
I said “I hope so,” Now, knowing damn well that my husband didn’t know what to do with me. My marriage had really ended before it started and my growing relationship with Charles Jenkins didn’t help it one bit. We were only married a little over a year.” —– So many issues to touch on. MG was flirting and playing into the hands of a man she welcomed the attention from. She says that her husband didn’t know what to do with her. Really? Her marriage ended before it started? Well then what does that say about her? Didn’t say she fought to stay in. It says she went into her marriage already mentally divorced. Then she tries to soften it by saying her growing relationship with Charles Jenkins didn’t help it one bit, because as we’ve learned from this article, she wanted another woman’s husband more. She tries to justify it by saying, they were only married a little over a year, ONLY being the operative word, and in the end it all still means that SHE WAS MARRIED, an adulterer, and so was he. Greed.
26) “RLT: Why did you kept the relationship a secret even after it was over? Some women are vindictive
Mundi: We actually ended on peaceful terms at first but there was nothing to talk about publicly. I confided in a my close girlfriends but that was it. To what benefit would I have gained from discussing it publicly?”—- So you told your close girlfriends who could’ve told their close girlfriends, who could’ve told the original blogger… or just to be vindictive you could’ve told your girlfriends to tell the blogger. It’s just another perspective people.
27) “RLT: Why are you going public now?
Mundi: Because he has given me no other choice. He’s made our affair public and has painted me as a scorned woman that is extorting him. He has fabricated a story to deflect the larger issue at hand. He has misused the pulpit on an Easter Sunday to push his messy circumstances of infidelity and has lied while doing so. This is an abuse of power and a misuse of the pulpit. I want my name cleared and I want a retraction. People trust their pastor, because of this trust no one is asking the tough questions and its suppose to fly and thats some bullshit. If I am extorting him, why hasn’t he filled charges? Where is the proof? This was inflammatory and in fact, he defamed my name.” — Her response sounds a lot like RLT doesn’t it…misuse of the pulpit, abuse of power. I’m not too sure that it’s so much as slander here because she’s admitted to being an adulterer, having an extramarital affair with the Pastor. She’s also privately confided in “Auntie Rae” that she’s participated in and has misappropriated employer funds alongside her pastor for personal gain, which Auntie Rae publicly admitted to. Trying to make a case, though I don’t have all the facts, would be possible. I do believe that charges may soon be filed or some kind of agreement will soon be met. These things don’t happen over night. Clearing her name, well…
To touch on the fact that Pastor painted her as an angry and scorned woman, well, is that such an impossible picture to paint? She said herself that once his wife became pregnant with the third baby she knew he wouldn’t leave her, for her. Wouldn’t the average woman, so enthralled with a man she’s been sleeping with for eight years, and long after her employment, be upset and angry that he’d rather stay with his wife than her? That she’s no longer good enough, or worth his time, even? I’m just throwing things out there because these are things that I hear from women I’ve spoken to who’ve had extramarital affairs. Usually, they’re pissed. Another baby was MG’s reality and she couldn’t handle it. So what did she do? I don’t know but someone leaked a photo. Somehow the world found out about it. Somehow she’s at the center of a shit storm. But somehow, she ended amicably with this man after 8 long years of being the other woman. Something to think about.
They were both wrong. Being a Pastor is his job, just like hers was to be the VP of Operations. There was an employer, employee relationship that turned into a real HR issue. She slept with her boss and he gave her gifts. He cheated on his wife repeatedly and she cheated on her husband, repeatedly. Some people knew about the affair, others didn’t. Some chose to look the other way, some didn’t. They are adults who put their own physical needs ahead of what’s right, and that was an allegiance to their marriages and respect to God. She’s no less responsible than he is. It takes two…two consenting adults. They agreed. Now here we are.
Here’s my question, what about Dr. Tara Jenkins, his wife? How must she be feeling right now? She has to put on the brave face and relive all of those moments. There was no real consideration for her when this article was written and it’s obvious that MG didn’t care about her feelings either. She has to watch this public fallout and humiliation while protecting the ears, or at least trying to, of her three beautiful children. This whole situation saddens me.
RLT’s Blog can be found at http://www.raelewisthornton.com/