A Pastor’s Ego on Display

Some of you may remember David Trotter from our site in 2007. He was a pastor in So Cal who was giving away a car to promote Easter at his church, Revolution. If you go back and read the comments, you will see that Trotter was pretty much unwilling to join our conversation, yet instead chose to egg us on and tell us to “keep it coming” with our criticism and attacks, as he labeled them.

Well in light of recent developments, I’d be careful what you wish for David.

A few weeks ago, I received an email from an SCP reader that filled me in on what’s been going on in David’s life and church. Several people, close to the situation and church, report that Trotter has left his wife after having an affair with another married woman in the church whom he is apparently still in a relationship. He has resigned his position at the church and has moved on to another entrepreneurial venture.

Below, I’ve provided links to the sites that share the story. They seem fairly consistent and honest, but I will let you read them and draw your own conclusions.

Michelle’s Ramblings
A Little Bit of Us…
Sharon’s Daily Cup Of Life
RagamuffinSoul
Meanderings of a Restless Wanderer (A pastor at Revolution Church)

Since leaving his church and, from what I can gather, his wife only a few short weeks ago, David has not been a shrinking violet. On his personal website, he posted pictures of him and his new girlfriend with their children all together playing in the pool and hiking…just another new blended and happy family. On the site he wrote:

As I think about the season of life that I’m walking through, my heart is filled with hope, anticipation, love, peace, longing, and grief. May the photos that appear each day allow these same emotions to emerge in your heart once again as well.

When I saw these pictures (one with his girlfriends’ head on his shoulder and another with his girlfriend holding his son), I was shocked. It was a bold and brazen display showing a lack of sensitivity for his wife of so many years. It was not only in bad taste, but it was also bordering on cruel and unusual punishment. (About a week ago, the pictures on the site were removed – so either a sense of decency crept in or possibly his lawyer suggested such actions might not be in his best interests moving forward).

I have thought long and hard about what I should say, if anything, about these developments in this man’s life. I don’t know David Trotter, or anyone in his family… so why do I care? Originally, I was going to write an open letter to David (much like the one I did to Ted Haggard) encouraging him and admonishing him to not lose heart in the midst of this season of life he is facing. Looking back on that letter, I think it certainly applies to David Trotter as well. I hope he will read it.

However, after seeing his personal site and this damaging attitude that he has displayed publicly on the world wide web, I just couldn’t in good conscience muster up the decency. I am not sure what it is that occurs in the life of someone when they leave their family to pursue another relationship… but from what I have observed first-hand it is the ultimate in selfishness – call it temporary insanity. As I wrote in my journal recently about this very subject:

In meeting your needs at the expense of others needs, you have to “turn off” thinking about how your actions effect the other person. You might feel sadness or pain at hurting someone later, but in the moment of choosing what is best for you, you cannot consider the other person’s feelings. There’s a certain disconnect that occurs at that very moment.

Feeding of an ego at the expense of other people’s pain becomes a vicious and destructive cycle. Once you venture down that path, there is no turning back. Things will never be the same again. David Trotter knows this first-hand now better than anyone.

At the same time, I believe that David (and again I speak from personal experience) in many ways, feels more at peace, fulfilled and happy than he has in years. While I am sure he is sad at the pain he has caused, there is probably a sense of freedom that has enveloped him in the midst of no longer having to live a dual life. I no doubt imagine that David feels that, in many ways, his life is better than it was prior to this coming to the surface. And on several levels that might even be correct.

His level of ego and selfishness, once hidden behind doing the “Lord’s work”, is now being lived out in the open for all of us to see. Even now on his personal website is this quote that speaks volumes:

“The mark of a great player is in his ability to come back.
The great champions have all come back from defeat.”

Certainly Trotter has shown that he is a great player. I knew that from the very first day I was introduced to him regarding the car giveaway. But, for even one moment, thinking that he was a great champion on any level in his prior life as a pastor is an inflated ego gone mad.

This story has captivated me since I heard about it. I can relate from so many angles. Mostly, I keep coming back to the Trotter I observed approximately one year ago on this site, and honestly, I wasn’t surprised that it has led him to this point. However, I am a bit surprised at how he has reacted to it.

There’s no judgment in these statements. Just an honest opinion from years of observations.

What guys like Trotter don’t understand is that although I am critical of pastors and churches in my writings here on SCP, it’s because I feel I often know them better than they know themselves.

David, I am almost certain you are reading this and I want you to know and believe this – the Stupid Church People site was created by guys like you for guys like you. Take your mask off and stay awhile. You are welcome here anytime…just check your “pastor ego” at the door.

NOTE (4/28/08): An email from a reliable source informed SCP that the reason the pictures were taken down from Trotter’s personal site was that the woman had ended the relationship and returned to her family.

19 thoughts on “A Pastor’s Ego on Display”

  1. Having more to say on the topic, I resurrected my blog and < HREF="http://onefortruth.blogspot.com/2008/04/okay-one-more.html" REL="nofollow">posted.<>

  2. Steve, I just caught the note at the bottom that his new love went back to her spouse. Not to dominate the conversation, but this is all pretty poignant. People are capable, especially in these emotionally-charged love affairs, of making some disasterous decisions. I’ll bet he never saw this coming.Just really, really sad to see this happen to anybody. I just wish that there was a space of honesty and trust around us all so that these situations could be better avoided, or at least dealt with less painfully.There’s nothing, I suspect, that the principals endured in this crisis that isn’t common to most of us. It can happen to anybody, anywhere, anytime. I think part of the reason it does happen is because nobody has the space to deal honestly with their needs, so they have to run around in the dark and get caught up in phony feelings. Sad, sad, sad.David Trotter, you may have acted like an ass but welcome to the club. My heart goes out to you and everyone else hurt in this affair.

  3. Steve, great post. there are many less mature approaches that could have been taken to this subject, so I appreciate your insight.Two quick thougths.As some of you might know, I was on staff prior to all this (basically right after the car thing and I left a few months shy of this deal). And what I never noticed until after I had quit, was that this church didn’t have any established elders. After making some inquiries on the subject I got vague and “hip-languaged” responses, but ultimately: no elders. Guess what one of the first things was that happened after he dropped the bomb? Yep, they selected elders. Say what you will on the subject, the church design according to scripture is not just a novel idea. It’s there for a reason!The other thing is the mysterious and non-human ways in which God uses people. That David had/has deep-rooted issues has become self evident, but what I can also personally attest to, are the many peoples lives that have been touched/changed/transformed as a direct and/or indirect result of his pastoral antics while he was still with Revolution. IOW though he lives in sin (as we all do btw) and seems to spit directly in God’s eyes via his actions, one can not deny the many lives he has impacted for good (equally not denying the many he has damaged/destroyed).This is not my lame attempt at defending him…in fact I have daily visions of what I would do or how I would react should I run in to him (let’s just say that he didn’t move very far away…)…the truth being that the love of Christ is not the first thing that comes to mind (just being honest)! However, I am amazed at how God works. It would be so easy for us to simply put him in the sinner box and convince ourselves that nothing good has ever come from him, nor will there (i’m not suggesting anyone said such a thing here, I’m just projecting my assumptions of popular “christian” belief). God is simply bigger than that.So to David I say this: Find some solid ground (whatever it may be), stand on it, and start working on being real. Stop dragging those around you into your twisted world of lies.

  4. What came to mind for me was a scene from a movie where George Segal’s character was confronted by a woman that he had impregnated and abandoned. His response: “It’s not my fault; my therapist says I’m just going through a selfish phase.”No matter how you psychologize it, everbody knows what an Asshole looks like.

  5. <>So to David I say this: Find some solid ground (whatever it may be), stand on it, and start working on being real. Stop dragging those around you into your twisted world of lies.<>Substitute “the evangelical church” for “David” and I’m with you, Lowend.

  6. I was considering what to even write concerning this whole issue and this ‘pastor’ and ‘what he did’…I have nothing. I feel sorry for the guy – he made some mistakes and now he has to make room to clear those up the best he can – he moved on from one relationship to another…he ain’t the first. He also won’t be the first to have to deal with the after-shocks of the breaking apart…I wish him the best there. Fact is, we live in that society where people switch others in for something they deem more ‘worthy’? This is not much different than society around him in that regards – and that’s a plain reality he has to face. Sir, you have fit into Western socoety quite well – blended into the fabric so to speak. But what I think people around him need to do is allow him to work on these issues and face up to the problems the result from it (ie: economic, physical, spiritual, or emotional). This guy has chosen a path that is ‘not easy’ – and repentance/taking responsibility in a scenario like this gets damn messy. I hope he has the authenticity to ‘man up’. The ideal is to be married to one wife…we all know that has slipped by the wayside in our Western culture of choice and greed.

  7. So I’m just currious, would we be having all this dialouge over this guy had he been the usher, or maybe the guy that stacks the chairs after church? Of course not, he was the pastor…but isn’t that the problem? Sure there must be leadership, but see what happens when it goes unchecked and with the proper support (ie. elders)?This might be a complete shocker, but I’m having a really hard time mustering up any kind of sympathy for this guy. Just being honest. I know that doesn’t fit with WWJD, but hey…that’s why I’m not him, nor have a church for that matter.So I can’t help wonder if-while he is obviously reading all of this, because he regularly checks his site hits and googles himself-he think this falls under the old “no press is bad press” category, or if the scales from his eyes might actually start pealing away. I genuinly hope the latter.However, to quote a famous philosopher:“What a douche.” – Josh S.

  8. For anyone pondering this or any other pastoral affair: they are always an issue of power and control. Reverend Pamela Cooper-White has written a powerful and authoritative article, “Soul Stealing.” I think it is the be-all and end-all on the topic: http://www.snapnetwork.org/psych_effects/soul_stealing_1.htmMany additional resources can be found on the excellent site, http://www.advocateweb.com, including this article, “Why It’s Never An Affair,” which echoes Dr. Cooper-White’s points. http://www.advocateweb.com/hope2/notanaffair.htmFor any who read this — it is vitally important that we begin to get this kind of information out there. It does God, Christ, the church (us) no good to see pastoral affairs as any other than the power plays described by these erudite women. How do I know? I was nearly there. Thankfully, for whatever reason, it did not come to complete fruition. But I did come close enough to know and experience what Dr. Cooper-White so eloquently presents. I have had a horrendous time trying to heal from it; I cannot imagine the pain and issues women who become involved at a more extensive level face. Might I add that many of these pastors most likely suffer from narcissistic personality disorder. The church needs to be vigilant in those whom it calls as pastors, so that these disordered and highly troubled people do not become leaders in the church. NPD is an extremely complex and, in all likelihood, unchangeable (as of now) malady; it is not just a big ego or even just an insecure person hiding beneath a big ego. It is much more than that; a complex web of defense mechanisms that wreak havoc on those who come too close to it. Part of what makes it particularly nasty for the church is that oftentimes it manifests as a spiritual “destiny” in the afflicted.Certainly not all pastors who “fall” suffer from NPD — but they do abuse the power of their office and they must be held accountable. Their victims (those with whom they have affairs) must be given compassion and healing and justice; and the pastors themselves must be made aware that their abuse of power destroys the healing capabilities of their office, their mission in Christ (to heal and bring God’s love to us and to bring us closer to Christ), and, most tragically, makes them their own victims. Again, I refer you to Dr. Cooper-White. We (society) hear far too much of this sort of thing to keep stumbling over it. Just how many times do we need to hear this story before we begin to take some informed action to prevent it? Women, congregations, and pastors themselves are all traumatized and victimized when pastors become involved with their members; and the world at large sneers at the church and feels justified in their opinion of “religious phoneys” and non-participation. It is high time we all begin to see and recognize this issue for what it is, and to plot a chart for growth, understanding, and action.

  9. Zeke… great post on your site. You stole my thunder a bit on a post I was preparing…but I enjoyed what you said.Lowend… the usher or chair stacker didn’t give away a car… that’s the only reason we are talking about Trotter. He loved the attention then…sought it out then… so it’s a two way street.For the record… Josh S isn’t Sager lest anyone be confused.

  10. See, here’s my beef with this guy. If this was just your average my-little head-took-over type situation, I would completely agree with you zeke. What won’t cool my blood temperature with this guy however, is the following: he has been claiming complete spiritual justification throughout this ordeal. He’s basically said that he is continuing to do God’s will, and the reason he left his wife was that she was getting in his way-I’m sorry I meant to say the will of God…but wait, it was cool because him and the other married woman-he’s no longer with-were not having sex! Unbelievable. And don’t get me started on his new “venture” of his…Did you guys catch this?He has taken the name brand of the church he started-and then left for married poon-and is promoting himself as a wise sage for all who are need of a “revolution”…including churches!!!!http://www.startarevolution.tvYou can’t tell me this guy just woke up one day and felt like chasing some married tail while leaving his church and starting a motivational speaker company!!! This guy has invented new categories of low I’ve never even heard of!I say we institute some kind of sex-offender-like registration for guys like this, but for not for the sex stuff, but to protect others and churches from buying in to this snake! Because if you didn’t know how to Google, and had this guy offering his serivces…you would have NO IDEA!Look, this isn’t about perfection. We are all sinners and have effed up more than enough. But if you want to jump off the deep end or try and run away from God…fine, do your best. Don’t stick around and screw up the church more than it’s already doing on its own! Leave it alone.I’m sorry for going so long…but this guy really pisses me off. Looks like Kharma might actually work, eh?

  11. This doesn’t surprise me much. In America, the church has become a media/entertainment outlet that worships the Gospel of Success. A church that isn’t cool, doesn’t give an adrenaline rush, doesn’t promote a great life, great feelings, or great sex isn’t worth much. With that comes the need for the pastor to be a media idol with the charisma of a rock star, and rock stars often have voracious egos and desires. The pious, modest parish priest that previously guided the flock of God is “so last year!” Everyone knows that God wants you to be successful and hip: forget that old fruit of the spirit crap. Who needs love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance?

  12. Hi Everyone,I am a former member of Revolution Church. I took off shortly after all the drama that went down with David Trotter. I suppose I might be the only one who will defend the man these days. Trust me, I was hurt and angry and bitter just like the rest of Revolution Church – but I got over it and forgave because that’s what God has called me to do. Though we’re all entitled to our opinions, I think the only ones who have any right to be angry are his wife and kids and “her” husband and kids. Dave left the church, yes. Dave hurt the church, yes. But, I rest easy knowing that God’s got it all taken care of. I can sit here and be bitter just like “lowendaction”, but I’ve chosen to rise above all that.Dave Trotter effed up – period, the end. Haven’t we all? He’s a man of God, and all men of God have stumbled. I think the thing that a lot of us have forgotten is the fact that Dave is STILL of the flesh. He’s a sinner just like the rest of us. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying what he did was right. I think cheating is the biggest betrayal… But, it’s done an over with – and it’s between Dave and God now.

    1. NOT SURE IF IT IS OVER. Sometimes our actions reap bad consequences. King David’s sin was like a ripple in the pond of his life and his family. The consequences followed him the rest of his life, even though he was forgiven by God and restored he still lost a great deal. One major consequence was his own son Absalom tried to kill him for his Throne and openly slept on the rooftop with his David’s own concubines the equal to being his wives in David’s day. I wonder how many people Pastors cause the spiritually immature to stumble and backslide when they commit adultery and scatter the sheep? I survived four church splits over 4 different Pastor’s gross conduct, three of which could not keep their pants zipped. It split the church and three of them never fully recovered! Some people never came back to organized religion (the church bldg)!

  13. So i’m probably not getting something… who’s the stupid church “people” you or “them?”Judging by that stack of books i’d only hope you’re “interested” in religion, rather than “practicing” any of it.I had recent experiences in make believe “churches” many which name-drop and associate many “denominational crests” to sound or seem something i guess. They sound and seem like the same hypocrites i grew up with.What’s your take?(if i may…)

  14. I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt till I read his book glorying in his affair giving every low down lustful detail with profanity to keep it real. I’m totally disgusted by it all. Ephesians 5:12 Said it is shameful to even mention what the disobedient do in secret! Do bad David Trotter didn’t read that verse before he wrote a diary and record of his shameful acts. I thought the book was going to be on repentance and redemption but most of it was spent on a blow by blow depiction of his lusting after this woman including how the first kiss and sexual episodes felt. Lord help him he has lost all credibility in my book I would never sit under his ministry, if he was the last preacher on earth!

  15. Did he even think of how that book he penned with the majority of it describing his lust, obsession and sex with this silly, sluttish married woman would hurt his wife and kids??
    He left a written record not sparing the ugly details. He spent more time talking about the other woman than his wife and their reconciliation! I’m not saying I’m perfect but since this man wanted to lead God’s people he should have led by example! Just goes to show you no one is infallible and we need to put our trust in the one who is called Faithful and True alone! Don’t make the Pastor your idol or your spouse. God alone should possess us!
    The one who is Faithful and True is Jesus> see Revelation 18:11-12

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