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June 30, 2009

Sanford: Spiritual Adviser Chaperoned Mistress Farewell Meeting

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford admitted today that he saw his mistress more times, including what was supposed to be a farewell meeting in New York accompanied by a spiritual adviser, according to an Associated Press report.

The governor told that AP that with his wife's permission, went to New York with a "trusted spiritual adviser" serving as chaperone to end the affair. The three went to church and dinner together and parted ways the same night. The AP article does not indicate who the adviser was.

The AP also interviewed the man Sanford referred to during his press conference as a "spiritual giant," who declined to say whether he had met Sanford's mistress. Sanford and his wife attended Warren "Cubby" Culbertson's spiritual "boot camp."

He thinks Sanford was simply caught off guard by "the power of darkness." Culbertson also thinks that the only thing holding his friends' marriage together right now is "their vow to God."

"Because it's not feelings - it's not emotions," Culbertson said, the smile fading from his tanned face. "For most Christians, at some point in your marriage, if you're married long enough, you do it because that's what we're called to do - out of obedience instead of out of passion. And I think that's where Mark and Jenny are right now."

As politicians and pundits discussed debate whether Sanford should resign, he apologized to members of his cabinet, referring to the story of David and Bathsheba in the Bible.

"What I find interesting is the story of David, and the way in which he fell mightily - fell in very, very significant ways, but then picked up the pieces and built from there," he said.

Sanford offered an apology on his website using words like grace, renewal, and the sin of pride.

So in the aftermath of this failure I want to not only apologize, but to commit to growing personally and spiritually. Immediately after all this unfolded last week I had thought I would resign - as I believe in the military model of leadership and when trust of any form is broken one lays down the sword. A long list of close friends have suggested otherwise - that for God to really work in my life I shouldn't be getting off so lightly.

The full letter is after the jump:

Dear Friends,

I write to apologize and ask for your forgiveness.

Well beyond the personal consequences within my own family, I know that at so many different levels my actions have upset, offended and disappointed friends and supporters and for this I am most sorry. As I mentioned in last week's press conference, I've always believed God's laws were there to protect us from ourselves, and what has transpired over this last week vividly illustrates the damage that comes personally, and to those you love and respect, in doing otherwise.

So in the aftermath of this failure I want to not only apologize, but to commit to growing personally and spiritually. Immediately after all this unfolded last week I had thought I would resign - as I believe in the military model of leadership and when trust of any form is broken one lays down the sword. A long list of close friends have suggested otherwise - that for God to really work in my life I shouldn't be getting off so lightly. While it would be personally easier to exit stage left, their point has been that my larger sin was the sin of pride. They contended that in many instances I may well have held the right position on limited government, spending or taxes - but that if my spirit wasn't right in the presentation of those ideas to people in the General Assembly, or elsewhere, I could elicit the response that I had at many times indeed gotten from other state leaders.

Their belief was that if I walked in with a real spirit of humility then this last legislative term could well be our most productive one - and that outside this term, I would ultimately be a better person and of more service in whatever doors God opened next in life if I stuck around to learn lessons rather than running and hiding down at the farm.

They have also made the point that a good part of life is about scripts - that the idea of redemption isn't something that Marshall, Landon, Bolton and Blake should just read about, it's something they should see. Accordingly, they suggested that there was a very different life script that would be lived and learned by our boys, and thousands like them, if this story simply ended with scandal and then the end of office - versus a fall from grace and then renewal and rebuilding and growth in its aftermath.

I won't belabor all these points, but I did want to write as expressed earlier to say that I'm sorry and that more than anything I personally ask for your prayers for me, Jenny, the boys and so many others who have been impacted by what I have done.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Take care.

Mark

Comments

Can we have less of this. This is quite a sordid mess already. We already know he's an adulterer a liar and a cheat. No need to further rake the bones over the coals.

The Christian thing to do would be to pray for his family and have Focus on the Family join forces with others for his removal as governor.

Just why did the Governor talk to AP today? Simple: he's paving the way for his next job.

He told reporters that he counseled Ms. Chapur on her failing marriage.

Look out Dr. Phil!

See:

http://notionscapital.wordpress.com/2009/06/30/mark-sanford-hes-back/

He has little politically to gain by staying in office if he has not been humbled by his 'fall from grace', if those who are commenting on his 'apology' are any indication of his support base. Rather to stay, his very astute advisers are allowing not only his family (sons) to see his humility at home, but his 'new life' in his elected position, affecting not only his family, his state, but believe me, the 'watchdogs', who will be critiqueing in minutia his every move from here on out. He had better be able to handle this with great humility and grace. Then he may yet prove that he IS capable of the position he has until recently been priming the public to elevate him to in the future.

he is not capable of the position and he needs to leave immediately.

he's an absentee governor
he's a liar
he's a cheat
he'a an adulterer
he's a hypocrite
he needs to be the ex governor
and evengelical christians need to stop prostituting themselves to these type of men!

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He has little politically to gain by staying in office if he has not been humbled by his 'fall from grace', if those who are commenting on his 'apology' are any indication of his support base. Rather to stay, his very astute advisers are allowing not only his family (sons) to see his humility at home, but his 'new life' in his elected position, affecting not only his family, his state, but believe me, the 'watchdogs', who will be critiqueing in minutia his every move from here on out. He had better be able to handle this with great humility and grace. Then he may yet prove that he IS capable of the position he has until recently been priming the public to elevate him to in the future.

We all fall short. I can't judge him. I know the thoughts I wrestle with that I know are wrong and have to push away should an opportunity present itself to act on them. Bottomoline, you have to know who you love more, God or the world. Going to "spiritual camp" and engulfing yourself in "spiritual things" does not mean that you have a right heart. God does not fail. He absolutely does not. Sanford needs to get honest with himself and figure out why he does not love God enough, yes, not enough. Is it a lack of belief or does he just love the world more at this point in his faith. Then once he is honest he can really pray for the kind of deliverance he needs and trust that God will hear him. Until then, his words are empty. Empty rhetoric to make excuse for getting caught and distract from the embarrassment living a two faced life brings. The wolf's sheep costume has been removed and his naked heart revealed. I feel sorry for him if he was just using holiness as a guise to hide corruption. God forgives anything if we repent with a sincere heart, but that is not something I'd want on my soul even for a moment.

I think it's interesting that it's so often the Christians who turn out to be the most base, hypocritical, dishonest and self-serving of all people -- and I'm referring to Culburtson as much as Sanford here. So the man who enabled Sanford's cheating to the point where he escorted the governor to NY so he could have dinner with his cheat-partner ... that man is a 'spiritual giant', eh? Another expose -- not surprising to anyone I imagine -- telling us that the most religious tend also to be the least ethical.

Evangelical Christians don't support him staying in office. He is an embarrassment. Let him resign and do some heroic heavy lifting to clean up his mess--out of the spotlight.

Well, yes Sanford surely committed an offense that warrants removal. I think you'll find in most employment situations if someone goes missing for, I think 3-5 days, with no word they are considered to have abandoned their position and are therefore fired. He's done this twice now. That most certainly qualifies him for removal.

Though, I don't want him removed and I don't want him to shut up either. I think he perfectly exemplifies the last 8 years of darkness this country has lived through with the attempted theocratic governance by the administration past. I don't see ONE Christian value displayed by any of the "Party of God" or their years of judgementalism. Mark Sandfor exemplifies the fake "Christianity" that swept the country and nearly destroyed it.

No, keep Mark Sanford right where his is. Let's have that reminder front and center as just why it is the United States is not a theocracy. And let's make sure we never go down that road again.

And these so-called "family values" guys think gay people threaten the institution of marriage????? But what the hey ... they have for years told us what kind of families they value. Certainly not all families. Not single-parent families. Only the so-called nuclear family that doesn't exist, that was only conjured up to sell us more products. Enough with the hypocrisy! The psalmist prayed for truth inwardly and yet the Pharisees of American Christianity prefer dishonest superficials to honest depth, closets to openness, and exclusivity to Christ-like evangelism. We preach that Jesus loves you ... unless you're gay, poor, divorced, or post-trib! The evangelical church needs to wake up and smell the coffee. The Republican party has used fundamentals only to further their political agenda. We need to get back to treating people with the dignity and respect Jesus called for.

Myrtle- You know what - I think you are right.
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Myrtle: "Well, yes Sanford surely committed an offense that warrants removal. I think you'll find in most employment situations if someone goes missing for, I think 3-5 days, with no word they are considered to have abandoned their position and are therefore fired. He's done this twice now. That most certainly qualifies him for removal.

Though, I don't want him removed and I don't want him to shut up either. I think he perfectly exemplifies the last 8 years of darkness this country has lived through with the attempted theocratic governance by the administration past. I don't see ONE Christian value displayed by any of the "Party of God" or their years of judgementalism. Mark Sandfor exemplifies the fake "Christianity" that swept the country and nearly destroyed it.

No, keep Mark Sanford right where his is. Let's have that reminder front and center as just why it is the United States is not a theocracy. And let's make sure we never go down that road again.

Yeah Beatrice. I am often ashamed. I'm even more ashamed at how so many evangelical christians keep silent on these issues. But oh just let it be the gays and abortions and liberals and all hell breaks loose. I've sent of an email to Focus on the Family asking them to help me call for the governor to leave office. I'm awaiting a response from them. I don't expect a reply, but stranger things have been known to happen
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Beatrice wrote :"I think it's interesting that it's so often the Christians who turn out to be the most base, hypocritical, dishonest and self-serving of all people -- and I'm referring to Culburtson as much as Sanford here. So the man who enabled Sanford's cheating to the point where he escorted the governor to NY so he could have dinner with his cheat-partner ... that man is a 'spiritual giant', eh? Another expose -- not surprising to anyone I imagine -- telling us that the most religious tend also to be the least ethical.

Beatrice, I think if you read all the information you will see that the spiritual leader went along to give him the courage to break up with the other woman. Kind of like, "you need to end this." "Will you go with me and help me?" "Yes." I think it's dishonest to implicate the spiritual leader here.

hmmmmmmm, well if he had any decency he would leave. has he so soon forgotten the moral high ground he took with former president Clinton and others in his party?

and that's what many Chrisitans don't ever seem to understand-that we have to be very careful when we are picking the speck out of our brother's eye...

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Gregory Peterson: "If the Gov. hasn't committed an impeachable offense under SC law, and won't resign, it's up to the voters to remove him in the next election. Perhaps they can get a recall election on the fast track, or something.

Except for the grace of God,Go I...

Why does one need to eat dinner with someone in order to break up with them? That shows the "breakup" was half hearted to begin with. I just hope Jenny can say strong with all these religious idiots leaning on her to supposedly keep her vow to god and take the man back. He broke the covenant, not her.

Stop giving this spineless excuse for a man the headlines, limelights and stage he so hopes to keep for the next campaign (or I should say, the still-running, perpetual campaign) and book deal and talk-show host job.

Gov. Mark Sanford, adulterer
Gov. Eliott Spitzer, prostitute user
Gov. James McGreevey, homosexual adulterer
Gov. Rod Blagodevich, serial liar and mob godfather
Sen. John Edwards, campaign-fund $ buyer of mistress while wife suffers terminal cancer
"Pastor" Ted Haggard, homosexual adulterer and methamphetamine buyer, and
Gov. & President Bill Clinton, serial liar, adulterer and cover-up artist

ALL have the same Narcissistic Personality Disorder that tells them they are ABOVE doing wrong, much less getting caught by the dozens of "dumb" people working for and surrounding the worms day and night.

And when they admit no wrong or call it a "simple mistake" or "isolated incident", there certainly is no godly sorrow nor true repentance. And then there are the Enablers - the pastors who con the wife into believing God sanctioned the marriage and SHE is not to put it asunder.

When are people going to wake up and realize these public idols are role models for our SONS we are trying to raise, to hold a job that pays the taxes for these creeps??????

America's attention span is now about 1 day long, and these slithering con artists know how to work the system.

Wake up and stop giving them the media attention they thrive on!!

Citing "the powers of darkness" is the same as saying "the devil made me do it". It is not taking responsibility. Mr. Cuthbertson appears to have been an enabler not an advisor; if his advice was worthwhile, or taken, the matter would have ended at the "dinner", and not covered up and continued for another six months. Did he ever hold Sanford to account? Even now, it is not clear that when Sanford left Argentina to return to South Carolina that he had broken it off. That decision, if it has been made, was not made until he was met by the reporter at the airport.

Any one of us in leadership (including spiritual/pastoral leadership) is capable of cheating on a marriage. I understand the post from Justin when he writes: "Except for the grace of God, go I ..." (selah!)

Taking responsibility for a moral failure goes beyond beyond oral and written apology (although that is important). It means accepting the consequences of that decision in the tempting situation, whick includes, among many things, the forfeiture of moral credibility. Mr. Sanford's role as governor is essentially over and the decent thing for him to do is to resign from public office ... period.

IT was wrong for the spiritual advisor to accompany Sanford on a break-up meeting. Any real mental health therapist (and the spiritual guy is NOT a mental health professional) will say there must be immediate and irrevocable end, period, as in never, ever seeing each other again, nothing to discuss, no boohoo goodbyes, not even phone calls. Jenny was a fool for allowing it. Who gave that bad advice? If Sanford still loves the homewrecker, then let them be together. Their fantasy will soon end in the hell they created and deserve.

IT was wrong for the spiritual advisor to accompany Sanford on a break-up meeting. Any real mental health therapist (and the spiritual guy is NOT a mental health professional) will say there must be immediate and irrevocable end, period, as in never, ever seeing each other again, nothing to discuss, no boohoo goodbyes, not even phone calls. Jenny was a fool for allowing it. Who gave that bad advice? If Sanford still loves the homewrecker, then let them be together. Their fantasy will soon end in the hell they created and deserve.

Was it really necessary to have dinner and "attend church" (seriously?!) in order to "break it off"? This couldn't have been done over the phone or whatever? Oh, I forgot, one would never treat a "dear, dear friend" that way (who also happens to be your mistress and married herself). How utterly polite and considerate of him.

Did he really take his spiritual adviser to help him break it off, or was there some other insidious plan involved. I don't believe anything hopefully ex-Governor Sanford says anymore and I wish his soon to be ex wife the best. I hope that she and the boys can find it in their hears to forgive him, but never forget how he tore this family apart by his deception and his lies. I will be glad when he is thrown out of office.

It's very, very sad when people lie. We need to pray for those in authority because they're on the "front lines" of the spiritual war we're all involved in. May God have mercy on all of us. Only God knows what is in our hearts. May we be humble and merciful.

It's too easy to misjudge, especially from a distance. It's wiser to remember to pray and to be willing to forgive. The governor's wife probably knows him far better than anyone else (except God!)

The one reason that Sanford can turn his self centered exploits into a bad serial day-time talk show is that he has "impeachment insurance". Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer is so crazy and unacceptable that few are temped to impeach Sanford because Bauer would be a train wreck.

This is what many said about Bush I's Vice President Quayle - the bar for impeachable offenses was raised quite high because nobody wanted the idiot Quayle to become president.

Absolutely Mark Sandord needs to resign. He's a disgrace to the state, to the faith and to manhood in general.

His "spiritual advisor" needs to be kicked out of whatever church he thinks he's in. Accompanying him to New York for "closure"? Closure is the biggest joke in the other woman world...it's code for continuing the affair.

What would Jesus have told Mark Sanford to do? Maybe, "Go and sin no more?" How about that for spiritual advice? I don't think he would have said, take your mistress out to dinner...

Since this site is called "Christianity Today", it puzzles me that so many people write in ways that do not come across as being Christian at all.

When a person falls, Christians need to have compassion on him/ her. At present it is hard to determine which direction Governor Sanford will go. His words & actions need to come together. However, gloating over his fall is not in keeping with Christ's teachings.

Yes, many of us had high hopes for Sanford in the leadership of our country. And he failed us miserably. But his wife and 4 sons are the ones he failed the most. And if he is truly a Christian, then also his Heavenly Father.

We need to pray that God will restore our nation to its Christian roots. We need to pray that God will raise up truly Godly leaders. Teaching what the Bible says about sin, such as homosexuality & adultry is not judgmental nor vengeful, but an act of love. And Christ died for all us sinners. Some of us are just sinners saved by grace.

I feel bad for what I said of this person in an earlier post. I didn't want to judge him, yet I did. We do all fall so far short, but thank God that He is merciful. I have no idea how much he does or does not love God. I had no place or right to say. If that had any merit, none of us would ever sin. This guy messed up. There is no doubt of that. But he sought help and as Christians our response should be to forgive him, pray for him and support him. Not to condemn him or help the secular world use his failure to justice homosexuality, atheism, or any other crime against God or Christians who in the majority spend much of their time helping people around the world live better lives.

This man is saved and regardless of what he has done, he has a place with God through Jesus. However, them, unless they repent of their sins, accept Christ as their Savior and allow God to change them, they don't have a place with Him and that is truly sad. Each one should teach one and instead of constantly hopping all over Sanford...maybe there should be more discussion on how to help those others see Christianity correctly.

Sanford could be an example of how much power the blood has because even this God will forgive through His son that died for all sins to be forgiven if he truly in his heart has repented. This is similar to King David's situation as Sanford said it is, so instead of how Christians aren't who they say they are, how about how the love of God reaches beyond our sins when we repent because Jesus death of the cross covered it.

I was just saying today how we as Christians are so very condemning when others fall. I am no "Sanford" fan, but I chose to pray for him and his family. It is for God to judge his heart. We can judge his actions, but it is God who must judge his heart. See what happens when our sins are exposed! Dropped like a hot potatoe instead of praying for and with the person. Remember..."go and sin no more." We can't change anyone! God is the one who is and will judge the heart of this man. I have no clue what goes through the minds of him and so many other prominent Christian men (especially when they have blantantly judged others in the past) to bring them to such a low level. I have a feeling this isn't it. There are more to come because GOD is exposing across the board hypocrisies. A sin is a sin, be it abortion, homosexuality, adultery, lying, etc etc. In the eyes of God, one doesn't overshadow the other. But in the eyes of man, we not only pick and choose our sins, but pick and choose who is allowed to commit them. I will pray for his deliverance and restoration. At some point as Christians, we must learn to walk in LOVE regardless of who the person is or was. This is why it is so hard for our light to beam through to a lost soul. We love people based on CONDITIONS that they do and be everything PERFECT! In no way does this vindicate or excuse Mr. Sanford's action, but he is still a child of God and our brother in Christ who has self-ensnared himself and those he loves. You are not a Christian based upon your views on homosexuality or abortion!! You are a Christian based on UNCONDITIONAL LOVE to ALL MEN saved and unsaved!! This is obviously a very tough task for all of us as believers to include and ESPECIALLY our Christian leaders who flames the fires (except when it's one of their own)!! May God help and deliver us ALL from such a sin!!

Ann-