Friday, May 22, 2015

a musician needs to stay close to the instrument, on Mark Driscoll having a crowd to work in lieu of actually being a local church pastor

Among musicians it is a commonplace that the time you spend away from the instrument will not take away from your understanding or mastery of music, but it will take away your body's ability to easily execute what you were once able to do.  Your body has to be trained and kept in discipline or you lose an important part of your art.  You need to stay close to your instrument. You need to be able to play at regular intervals to assess where your skill is at, what your limitations are, what you've mastered, and what has become second-nature.
 
Which gets us to Mark Driscoll.  Some have said the recent return to the stage is an attempt to control the narrative.  There's that possibility, too, of course, but a master violinist needs a fiddle to play.  Let's propose that Mark is going back to basics. He spiraled down hard in the wake of two year's worth of controversy surrounding his books, that a book was bought a place on a bestseller list and that his books were riddled with what have been euphemistically referred to as "citation errors".  Driscoll by now has to understand that the written word might as well be a toxin to him, at least for now.  
 
But he needs a camera and a microphone to get back on his feet.  He needs a crowd to work and as we're seeing there are crowds willing to let him work them over to make sure his playing hands still got it.  Mark Driscoll got a degree in speech communications and his wife trained in public relations.  Selling pep talks and branding isn't exactly in blood for this couple but it's what they've trained for, both of them, even if it doesn't always seem that way.  That, however, is a chamber in the heart of the sell, acquiring the ability to come off like you're not actually out there to just sell something.  As Alastair Roberts invoked Mad Men to describe the Ad Man's Gospel, the pertinent quote could be "You are the product, you, feeling something." 
 
It's less important to whatever crowd Driscoll speaks in front of that there are four distinct narratives for how and why he resigned from leading Mars Hill.  For the crowd that listens to him there's a ready-made proposal that, well, there are the three synoptics and John, right (and unbelievers question those, too)?  So the changes in Driscoll's story in the last year won't matter to whatever crowd he's talking in front of.  They don't care.  They don't need to.  They're not there in that audience for a footnoted history of Mars Hill Church and Driscoll's public ministry. 
 
The more Driscoll gets in front of a camera and takes a microphone the more he provides evidence that when given the choice to just be a local church pastor or to be a celebrity he not only chose celebrity when he resigned in October 2014, he's now added to that decision a retroactive clarification that that choice was vetted by a divine memo.  Had Driscoll truly been told God said it was okay for him to quit he could have led with that in his October 2014 resignation letter. 
 
The violinist can't be away from the violin too long without losing the touch.  From the sound of things, Driscoll's still got the ability to work a crowd and over time he's revealing that he's going to stick with what he knows. There's a good possibility that by the time the Driscolls talk with Brian Houston they'll have both refined the current narrative and that we're going to have a chance to hear the beta-versions of it throughout this year.  Driscoll's got an incentive to regain control of the message but in order to do this he needs to return to his medium.

Monday, May 18, 2015

don't have TOO much faith in Marvel ... "The On Screen Limits of Marvel's comic-book storytelling"


http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/05/the-on-screen-limits-of-marvels-comic-book-storytelling/392663/
Midway through Avengers: Age of Ultron, after a debilitating battle, Marvel's titular heroic team takes shelter at a quiet farm to recover and take stock of themselves. Joss Whedon's film, the eleventh in the increasingly overwhelming "Marvel Cinematic Universe," is a bombastic experience that lays several action sequences end-to-end, with only brief pauses for humor or character development. The most significant is the farm interlude: It’s a crucial moment, because it lets the team reflect on their failings and ponder their relevance to the world, which is the film’s core theme. But it’s not the Marvel Universe’s core theme, which is why, according to Whedon, the studio “pointed a gun” at the sequence during post-production
.
Studio interference is hardly a novel concept in Hollywood, and Whedon is hardly the first director to complain about the intersection of business and art in moviemaking. But Marvel’s approach to storytelling increasingly comes into conflict with the idea of a film being able to stand on its own, even as part of a series. Amid complaints of too many sequels, Marvel has largely dodged criticism because of the generally consistent output of its products, but while Age of Ultron has gotten decent critical notices, its seams are far easier to see. Nowhere is Marvel’s interference more obvious than a scene following the trip to the farm, where Thor the Avenger zips off to take a bath
.
 
it's been reported Marvel pointed a gun at the farm sequence (where character development moments actually happen) and told Whedon the cave-bath scene telegraphing Thanos and Infinity Wars had to stay or the whole farm sequence would get cut. 
 
So Thanos decided to finally get off his but and get his own soda out of the icebox.  This is not reason to look forward to more films, is it?  If someone were to say DC can't catch up with Marvel I'd say don't bother, the completely integrated cinematic universe is a bad idea.  Even with the Nolan Batman films, let's note that the weak link in the trilogy (generally considered The Dark Knight Rises) is the one film in the trilogy that depends on you having seen the previous installments, something that is actually not necessary for Batman Begins and even The Dark Knight.  Better to have films that are devoted to getting us to care about a few characters than films that are also required to deal with twenty future potential franchise films.  I really enjoyed the first Avengers film.  This second one felt too freighted by Marvel's expectation that we're all on the hook for five more movies.  No, we're not. 

HT Terry Teachout: an axiom on writers and artists, the ones who talk about it generally fail at doing it

http://www.artsjournal.com/aboutlastnight/2015/05/almanac-anthony-powell-on-self-consciousness-and-the-artist.html

“It is a rule, almost without exception, that writers and painters, who are always talking about being artists, break down at just that level.”
Anthony Powell, A Writer’s Notebook

Yes, it does seem to be common that writers who talk about being writers generally aren't writing.  The writers who talk about structural problems they're trying to solve and whether their solutions are congruent with the characters they have?  Those are actual writers. 

And the axiom about how writing about music is like dancing about architecture?  Polemical fluff.

HT Jim West, an observation about prophets.

https://zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/prophets-an-observation/

Prophets never resign or retire, they just die.

Seems generally applicable.  Anybody wanna try to come up with a counterexample of a self-described prophet who resigned?

How about Mark Driscoll? 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

staging a comeback, no longer the pretense of Reformed, but a charismatic without a seatbelt

Since Driscoll's resignation he's hit the stage at Gateway and at Thrive and lately is slated for Gold Creek Community (according to reports). 
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2015/05/16/former-mars-hill-church-members-protest-mark-driscolls-appearance-at-gold-creek-community-church-this-sunday/

As Wenatchee has written in the past, the most plausible guess as to what may happen next is Driscoll will stage a return but to pull this off he may have to make official what the actually Reformed have been saying for years, that he was never really one of them to begin with.  Driscoll has joked that he's a "charismatic with a seatbelt" for years, but in the wake of his resignation, particularly this year's retroactive imputation of a divine commission for his quitting rather than planting a church, Driscoll may be poised to stage his own comeback as a charismatic without a seatbelt.

There's no indication amidst any of this he's under anyone's spiritual authority or submitted to anybody; no indication that after decades of urging others to do that that he's doing so himself.  Driscoll may have his comeback but it will necessarily put him in a situation of preaching (if ever, again, on spiritual authority) "do as I say, not as I'm doing ... right now."

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2014/09/throckmorton-quotes-driscoll-i-made.html
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2014/09/24/eldersauthority/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9vbaq5cO20&feature=youtu.be
5:25
That's one practical thing is, I'd never been a member of a church until I started my own. So I didn't know a lot about church. But I wanted, I knew I was a big personality and pretty intense so I wanted to be under authority but I made a mistake of--how do I say this carefully?--trying to be under the authority of my elders but the truth is all my elders were new and young and green and they would want to help but they really didn't know what they were talking about.

And so what I should have had was a team of pastors outside of the church who were older and more seasoned that could, you know, help Grace and I put life together.

Driscoll had that, actually.  He had plenty of people vetting him and encouraging him early on, and many of them were older than him.

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2014/01/driscoll-preaches-james-1-and-talks.html
http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2014/06/a-question-about-narrative-of-real.html
http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2014/09/throckmorton-quotes-driscoll-i-made.html
http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2014/12/becky-garrison-spots-greg-kappas-as.html
http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2014/09/throckmorton-quotes-driscoll-i-made.html

perhaps ironically from Slate, "Why the Far Left and Far Right are Stuck in Echo Chambers of Their Own Making"

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2015/05/facebook_news_feed_study_why_the_far_left_and_far_right_are_stuck_in_their.single.html

Well, okay, not quite that ironic, since based on the chart you can see over at the piece, Slate may be Slate ... but it's not Salon.

Wenatchee The Hatchet has observed that the echo chamber effect sure seems to be real.  It was years that progressives repeated the old canard about how Mark Driscoll said Gayle Haggard let herself go.  Driscoll never said that. What he did was simply use the Haggard controversy as a pretext from which to pontificate on his usual grab bag of subjects.  It probably wouldn't have mattered if the wife of the leader in question looked like Carla Bruni, Driscoll's soapbox was going to be what it was.

And the echo chamber was what it was.  Even now there are probably some progressives who have bought the story that Mark insulted Ted Haggard's wife.  The echo chamber effect at the other side of the spectrum might well be going on now.  People want to believe the Driscoll narrative about family persecution.  It's an easily pitched story. But the gap between the stories Driscoll has liked to share and the ... well, constructed mediated reality of Instagram might one day need to be accounted for.

Friday, May 15, 2015

B. B. King has died

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/16/arts/music/b-b-king-blues-singer-dies-at-89.html?_r=0

it's in the news and it would not be a week at Wenatchee The Hatchet without noting the passing of the blues musician. 

Thrive in Context: Driscoll says in 2015 the media blocked his driveway and had a chopper; in 2014 he denied to a KOMO reporter, while camera rolled, the place was even Driscoll's residence.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2015/05/13/transcript-of-mark-driscolls-speech-at-the-thrive-leadership-conference-2015/
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wYBTnRpPHRb8N1nqtgP2FcHcdnBeMIqCYy2SyQCEWBg/edit
Transcript | Mark Driscoll | Thrive 2015-05-01
See Links to Timestamps at the end of this doc.

[4:04]
Things really escalated when the media showed up and blocked the driveway to the house, seeking an interview and brought a helicopter overhead to flush me out for an interview.  My kids had been outside playing and, uh, all of a sudden we heard this helicopter over the yard and so we pulled the family into the house and tried to figure out how to not be in front of a window because we didn’t want to be on the news and didn’t know what was going on, to be honest with you. 


Okay, so the recent account was that the media showed up and blocked the driveway to the house and brought a helicopter overhead to flush Driscoll out for an interview.

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Mars-Hill-pastor-terminated--273144811.html

Driscoll's reaction to enquiry sounded like "Sorry, bro. Wrong address. I don't know."

And yet this year, well, for some reason Driscoll's willing to admit that the press found his address and that the press wanted to interview him.  What Driscoll said for the record, while cameras were rolling was to deny it was the right address.  It's obviously Driscoll's voice.  Driscoll didn't seem to mention that police were called but they found nothing wrong with a member of the press asking a pastor to give thoughts on a recent incident, and Driscoll didn't mention that a dog was released.  Does it play as well for sympathy to a crowd to say a German shepherd got released in response to a second enquiry from a journalist as to whether Mark Driscoll would respond on record to a question? How does Wenatchee The Hatchet get that detail about the German shepherd?  Because the dog is featured on Mark Driscoll's Instagram. So while it may play for the sympathy of a conference crowd to treat the press as adversarial let's not forget that Driscoll omitted mention of cops being called and a dog being released.  Considering that Mark Driscoll used to boast of being a professional journalist himself ...


http://pastormark.tv/2012/04/16/an-official-response-to-the-kerfuffle-at-liberty-university

The trouble started with a Southern Baptist blogger . . . yes, you should have seen that one coming. Now, to be fair, the blogger quoted an anonymous “source.” And, we all know that almost everything bloggers say is true. But, when they have something as solid as an anonymous “source,” then you can rest assured that when Jesus talked about the truth over and over in John, this is precisely what he was referring to. I have a degree from Washington State’s Edward R. Murrow College of Communication and worked professionally as a journalist, and I can assure you that The Kerfuffle is a very serious matter to be taken with the utmost sobriety and propriety. In fact, one anonymous “source” I spoke to said that Watergate pales in comparison.

One can only ask how it is that after being broadcast on screens across the world and having boasted in having worked as a professional journalist Mark Driscoll would present the press in such an adversarial way in the Thrive presentation. 

If Driscoll only in the last year and a half came to feel that answering direct questions from journalists was traumatic what happened to the bravura with which he boasted in his credentials back in 2012? 

Driscoll's put himself in a pickle.  He can't plea for sympathy from the conference crew about the press trying to "flush me out for an interview" if in 2014 he denied to a member of the press, cameras rolling, for the record, that he even lived at his own house.  For Driscoll to make the plea for sympathy now is to admit he lied back then as a simple process of elimination.

Thrive in context, a blast from the past, Driscoll repeats the crazy guy in underwear story/late night visit, but the best documented incident fitting that profile dates back to 2001.

http://theresurgence.com/2013/10/26/the-hardest-part-of-ministry
The hardest part of ministry
October 26, 2013
Mark Driscoll

The hardest part of ministry
Mark Driscoll   » Church Leadership Heart Culture Suffering 
...
For me, the answer is simple: family safety. By far and away, this is the most constant, soul-aching concern that I deal with. Those ministering in more family-friendly suburban communities that welcome megachurches and gated neighborhoods may not understand the complexities of a ministry that is more urban and the dangers it can pose.
...
* On one occasion, a man tried to get into my home in the middle of the night. Demanding to meet with me, he woke up and frightened my family. The police arrested him and put him in a mental health facility. The man escaped and started walking back to my home in his underwear. The police intercepted him when he was not far away.

Driscoll never even touches on how the guy could have even known where the Driscoll residence was.  That in itself would be a detail that's worth considering, but let's go back and consult a few things.  The thing about the incident is that it's not that there's no evidence of a weird late-night incident, it's that it dates back to about 2000.  We've discussed this in the past at Wenatchee The Hatchet but it's apparently worth revisiting if Mark Driscoll's going to keep coming back to it on the conference circuit.

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2014/06/mark-driscoll-on-hardest-part-of.html

CONFESSIONS OF A REFORMISSION REV
Mark Driscoll,  Zondervan
copyright (c) 2006 by Mark Driscoll
ISBN-13: 978-0-310-27016-4
ISBN-10:0-310-27016-2
CHAPTER FIVE: JESUS, WHY AM I GETTING FATTER AND MEANER?
350-1,000 people


At this time, our church also started an unmoderated discussion board on our website, called Midrash, and it was being inundated with postings by emerging-church type feminists and liberals. I went onto the site and posted as William Wallace II, after the great Scottish man portrayed in the movie Braveheart, and attacked those who were posting. It got insane, and thousands of posts were being made each day until it was discovered that it was me raging like a madman under the guise of a movie character. One guy got so mad that he actually showed up at my house to fight me one night around 3 a.m. [emphasis added]
Note the detail from this screen cap about the one-year old boy with the flu.


To date Mark Driscoll has never publicly conceded that the way he conducted himself as William Wallace II could have even possibly provoked emotionally or mentally unstable people to react in an adverse way. It's not that crazy people should have been able to figure out where the Driscoll house was it's that the story has been shared by Driscoll as a plea for sympathy for his wife and children in the last two years. Driscoll's recycled the story in a few spots while scrupulously omitting in recent retellings that (per Driscoll's 2006 account) it was explicitly in reaction to discovering Mark Driscoll was posting as William Wallace II that the guy wanted to confront him.   So Driscoll's defenders think it's ridiculous for critics to mention an incident such as the collected posts of William Wallace II as indicative of Mark Driscoll's character and conduct ... and yet Driscoll's still trawling up a fourteen year old story while fishing for sympathy for the wife and kids? 

What showed up in the 2013 "The Hardest Part of Ministry" that has not made the rounds is a different account. Here's another bullet point from The Hardest Part of Ministry.

Twice I have arrived home from work to find a registered sex offender seeking to engage with my family while waiting to talk with me.

As discussed previously at Wenatchee The Hatchet, former Mars Hill attender Mark Yetman has added some potentially clarifying narrative about at least one of those two incidents.

http://welovemarshill.com/post/89384014008/mark-yetman
Mark Yetman

2000-2003
 Paradox

In 2000 my wife and I moved 3000 miles to Seattle. We didn’t know anyone or anything about Seattle but we rented an apartment on the Ave. Everything was new and exciting for us and we sought out to explore everything this city. I don’t remember when we decided to enter the doors of the Paradox but I think it was late that summer. Entering those doors we were exposed to something we had never seen. Team Strike Force was doing their best Nirvana impression with deep and heartfelt Christian lyrics (no Jesus is my boyfriend lyrics). The pastor was dynamic, edgy, and speaking the Gospel with strength and conviction. What was truly radical for me was an evangelical church that served communion and you went up when your heart and soul were ready to accept Christ. For me it was a personal altar-call every time.

We would mainly go to the Paradox but occasionally go to the Ballard church (house). I remember going to Mark’s birthday party/5 year anniversary party and going to a retreat where Damien Jurado was there (He did a great rendition of Pink Moon). I started going to Mark’s house by the Montlake bridge for a men’s bible study. His uber-macho/hyperbolic public persona practically disappeared. He revealed a man that was Christ-filled caring and compassionate man. I remember one time him speaking about having a child-molester in his house and was uneasy about it but believed that Christ had changed this man’s heart. ... [emphasis added]
It's terrible that Driscoll's wife and children have had to deal with unbalanced, violence and harmful people.  It's also a shame that Driscoll has been rolling out some stories he's been sharing off and on over the last nine years on the conference circuit and not providing any historical grounding for a timeframe in which some of this stuff may have occurred. 












the Thrive speech in context,"we had an eight year conflict that really went public the last year" except that it was public at the time, and Joyful Exiles went up 3-2012

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wYBTnRpPHRb8N1nqtgP2FcHcdnBeMIqCYy2SyQCEWBg/edit
From Mark Driscoll's 2015 Thrive presentation

...
And I don’t want to take this opportunity to talk a lot about me, I want to take an opportunity to serve you. We had an eight year conflict that really went public the last year, but it’s been eight years, and some of you struck shepherds know what that’s like.  By the time everybody else knows, you’ve already been dealing with it for a long time. [emphasis added]

There's a simple, big problem here.  It's false for Driscoll to assert that the conflict that came up in 2007 over by-law revisions and terminations "really went public the last year".  Joyful Exiles has been up since March 2012.
http://joyfulexiles.com/2012/03/

And The Stranger was covering the conflict the year it happened, see this article from November 22, 2007
http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/fired-and-brimstone/Content?oid=445277

Driscoll's statement is so ostentatiously disprovable only those with no history of Mars Hill over the last decade could have overlooked its inaccuracy.  So not only was the conflict discussed in the local press the year it happened, Paul Petry published a timeline of documents at Joyful Exiles, which has been up and running since March 2012. 

POSTSCRIPT

If Driscoll is only lately conceding what happened in 2007 was important he should be willing to explain why the firings of 2007 were, as Jamie Munson put it at the time, necessary and inevitable.  Why it was necessary for two of twenty-four men to be fired because they didn't agree with the direction the by-laws were taking has no rational explanation.  What would have made more sense would have been having the by-laws voted through by the simple majority necessary by the older bylaws to approve the newer bylaws; let those who objected to the bylaws voluntarily resign; and let things move forward.  That anyone "had" to be fired at all over the 2007 governance changes might as well be an admission that the firings were not only political but probably also punitive.

Furthermore, if Driscoll's going to bring up the conflict from 8 years ago ... let's bring up the weird part where the story about who actually wrote those 2007 bylaws changed.  The documentary evidence at Joyful Exiles indicates Jamie Munson wrote the 07 bylaws that made himself president but in 2013 Driscoll was presenting himself as having rewritten the constitution and the bylaws because he wanted to spend more time on being with his wife.  Yet the bylaws from 2007 consolidated power and simplified decision-making toward the executive group.  More power was condensed into a smaller group that had more direct decision-making over more daily business. 

That was the governmental system in place by Turner's arrival that by Turner's recent public account led to disastrous fiscal policy and foolish decisions to back Result Source as a promotional campaign.  So if Mark Driscoll since 2012's wanted to say he redid the bylaws now no less a figure than Sutton Turner has mentioned that by 2011 the church was in a terribly unhealthy financial and governmental position. 

So it would seem Sutton Turner's public criticism vindicated the 2007 criticisms Meyer and Petry had made of where those by-laws would take the church.

the Thrive speech in context, how does one 8-year old boy become the oldest and then the youngest son inside of a twelve-minute sequence?

Mark Driscoll once opined that the ear is more forgiving than the eye.  Well, that could be, but for alert listeners it might still come up, Driscoll's narrative about the boy and the Air Soft rifle stays steady on an age, but not on birth order.

Let's consult the earlier version of the account from the Gateway Leadership conference:

http://wp.production.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/files/2014/10/Transcript-Robert-Morris-Mark-Driscoll.pdf
Transcript of Robert Morris and Mark Driscoll from the Gateway Leadership + Worship Conference
on the evening of Monday, October 20, 2014, as broadcast live via DayStar Television:


Uh a few days later. I think it was, I don’t remember, the media flies overhead with a helicopter and is trying to flush us out for a story. And uh that night uh we’re hiding in the house, my 8 year old son comes down and he’s wearing a military jacket, he’s loading up his Air Soft rifle [emphasis added](laughter)and he uh (MD chuckles) he looks at me and he says ‘hey dad is this uh is this jacket bullet proof? (soft laughter)and I just started crying and said, ‘why’s that little buddy?’ and he said, ‘Well it’s bad guys in the helicopter coming to shoot the family, right?’ He didn’t have any concept of, of media coverage, he thought it was bad guys coming to kill his family and he was gonna defend his sister (faint laughter) and so uh praise God he’s finally sleeping in his bed again, but it’s been a while to get him to do that with night terrors and so...

This was apparently in reference to this incident, coverage by KOMO back on August 28, 2014
http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Mars-Hill-pastor-terminated--273144811.html

Russ Bowen visited the Driscoll house (which, since county records are county records, could be looked up) to get Driscoll's side of the story.  Driscoll's voice was audible but he declined to even admit he was Mark Driscoll or that the house was in any way his. 

Well, at Thrive this year Driscoll revisited the story about the press chopper.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2015/05/13/transcript-of-mark-driscolls-speech-at-the-thrive-leadership-conference-2015/
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wYBTnRpPHRb8N1nqtgP2FcHcdnBeMIqCYy2SyQCEWBg/edit
[4:04]
Things really escalated when the media showed up and blocked the driveway to the house, seeking an interview and brought a helicopter overhead to flush me out for an interview.  My kids had been outside playing and, uh, all of a sudden we heard this helicopter over the yard and so we pulled the family into the house and tried to figure out how to not be in front of a window because we didn’t want to be on the news and didn’t know what was going on, to be honest with you. 


That night my oldest son, he was 8 at the time, he came to me downstairs, my wife Grace was cooking dinner and uh, he had on this jacket, it was a military jacket with patches down the side.  He had his AirSoft gun and I said “What are you doing little buddy?” He’s nine now.  And he said, “Dad is this jacket bullet-proof?” (crown groans) And I said, “Why’s that little buddy?” And he said, “Well, if the bad guys come, I want to be able to protect the family.”

[4:59]
I didn’t know that he – he didn’t know it was a news crew. The only thing he’d ever seen were the uh, um, the bad guy movies 
where they come in helicopters and shoot everybody.  It took months.  He would have night terrors. He wouldn’t sleep in his room.  He wouldn’t take a shower, get dressed in his bedroom by himself. Something we’re trying to encourage him through.
  [emphases added]
Wenatchee The Hatchet will come back to that a little later.

[8:13]
So, we’re sitting with the kids explaining to them that dad had resigned and that we were going to continue forward and that God had released us very clearly.  And my middle son -- he is really the pastor’s heart of the family, he’s a shepherd -- his first question, I just lost it, he said “Who’s going to care for the people?” We stayed there for a few days. Drove them into school for their tests. I went home and checked the security footage and yeah, there was a lot of people at our house taking photos.  It was a good thing we weren’t there.  We finally came home.

[8:47]
I think it was on Saturday. And, uh, none of us slept very well.  We were all pretty rattled.  And uh, woke up on Sunday.  Slept in. And, uh, my family… it dawned on me, like we’ve helped start 400 churches, we pastored a church, shepherd a church that had like 15 locations and now we don’t have a church to go to. So, here I am in the house with my wife and kids and we’re all just kind of zombies, and my, uh, my kids are like, well, we’re going to do church. 


And so, when your wife’s a pastor’s kid, you’re going to do church. (crowd chuckles). And so, my uh, my middle daughter -- the one child that can sing -- she got a lovely voice -- she decided she would lead us in song.  My young… my middle son set up Communion. My other son set up prayer buddies -- we break off into prayer. My oldest daughter oversaw the scripture reading. And my youngest son, who was eight at the time, came down with a bucket to collect the offering. [emphasis added]

Notice the sloppiness here.  One and the same kid was the oldest son at about 4:04 in has been remembered as the youngest son at just before the 10:00 mark.

Somehow one kid managed to become the oldest and the youngest in the birth order within a continuous verbal presentation. The youngest part checks out.  The oldest, not at all.  The oldest male in the Driscoll brood was listed internally to MH records as older than 12 years old three years before the Thrive presentation.

And since Mark Driscoll uses this thing called Instagram
January 20, 2014https://instagram.com/p/jaSYOpsgjP/
Gideon recently turned 8. Today we have a party with around 12 boys. I say around because they move so fast counting is tough.

If Driscoll wants to get sympathy for how rough his kids have had it because of his reputation and his critics, does Driscoll want to explain why he plastered so many photos of his kids on Instagram for the world to see?

And for that matter, Driscoll devoted a chapter to Gideon in one of his books.  Gideon was described as the youngest and also as a child born in part because though Grace wanted to be done with childbearing after four C-sections and a miscarriage, Mark Driscoll did not wish to do anything at the time to prevent God from giving them another child.  Thus ... well, Driscoll explained it himself plainly enough.

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2014/03/mark-driscoll-on-ordinary-demonic-not.html
DEATH BY LOVE
Copyright (c) 2008 by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears
Published by Crossway Books
PDF ISBN: 978-1-4335-0423-5
ISBN-10: 1433501295
ISBN-13: 9781433501296

page 164
My wife, Grace, and I love Gideon and thank God for him often. My wife is petite, and I have a big head, which resulted in C-sections with the birth of each of our children. Having endured one miscarrage and four C-sections, Grace was ready to be done with pregnancies. But I was not yet ready to do anything to prevent God from giving us a child. So, we left it in God's hands and we were given Gideon, whom I affectionately refer to as Guppy, for being the youngest, and as Flip Flop, because at a very young age he decided he only wanted to wear flip-flops on the wrong feet for the rest of his life.  To her credit, Grace often gives me a hug and thanks me for not stopping at four children, because Gideon has been an absolute blessing and a joy to our family.

And the kid has featured on Driscollian social media plenty over the years.  What's new in the Thrive narrative that wasn't mentioned in the earlier Gateway account is this:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2015/05/13/transcript-of-mark-driscolls-speech-at-the-thrive-leadership-conference-2015/
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wYBTnRpPHRb8N1nqtgP2FcHcdnBeMIqCYy2SyQCEWBg/edit

[4:59]
I didn’t know that he – he didn’t know it was a news crew. The only thing he’d ever seen were the uh, um, the bad guy movies where they come in helicopters and shoot everybody.  It took months.  He would have night terrors. He wouldn’t sleep in his room.  He wouldn’t take a shower, get dressed in his bedroom by himself. Something we’re trying to encourage him through.
 

Here Mark Driscoll recounted recently that the boy's reference point for helicopters flying over houses was watching movies where bad guys would come in choppers and shoot everybody.  Choppers just showing up and blasting the house away sounds a teensy bit like Iron Man 3, a 2013 release.  In the earlier account Driscoll said his son had no concept of media coverage. In the newer account the explanation for the failure to understand that the chopper was just a news chopper was the cinematic menu viewed by the Driscoll household. These two narratives don't really have any tension between the two of them and they even seem complementary.

Except for the part where the 8-year old was described as the oldest and then became the youngest.

Now perhaps Driscoll's been rattled enough that he could just forget the birth order of his own children while sharing a story about them at a conference.  If so, maybe he's not yet ready to get back on the speaking circuit or plug into a ministry yet. 

the Thrive speech in context, first question--who told Mark Driscoll to quit? Comparing the three (wait, four) narratives given since Driscoll's 2014 resignation

Wenatchee The Hatchet could delve into the theological/historical matters of Mark Driscoll's Thrive presentation but that is best saved for some time later.

The first and most rudimentary question that emerges between the Thrive speech, the Gateway performance with Robert Morris, and the resignation letter published at RNS, is who exactly told Mark Driscoll it would be a good idea to quit?

Let's take them in chronological order.  First, the published letter from Mark Driscoll to Michael Van Skaik regarding his resignation.

http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/2015/05/may-2015-driscoll-said-god-audibly.html
http://www.religionnews.com/?p=109053
 October 14, 2014
Michael Van Skaik
Chairman, Board of Advisors and Accountability
Mars Hill Church
Dear Michael:
 ...
That is why, after seeking the face and will of God, and seeking godly counsel from men and women across the country, we have concluded it would be best for the health of our family, and for the Mars Hill family, that we step aside from further ministry at the church we helped launch in 1996. I will gladly work with you in the coming days on any details related to our separation.
...


So there's an unspecified number of men and women across the country there in the resignation letter. That's the first account.

Second, the Robert Morris/Mark Driscoll moment at Gateway in October 2014.

http://wp.production.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/files/2014/10/Transcript-Robert-Morris-Mark-Driscoll.pdf
Transcript of Robert Morris and Mark Driscoll from the Gateway Leadership + Worship Conference
on the evening of Monday, October 20, 2014, as broadcast live via DayStar Television:
Robert Morris:
 Uh, it was publicized that we cancelled him; that’s not true, we did not cancel. I’m speaking of Mark Driscoll. We did not cancel him. He and I decided together uh that he was going to step out of ministry for a season and get some healing. [emphasis added]

So according to Robert Morris it was he and Mark Driscoll who decided together Mark Driscoll was going to step out of ministry for a season and get some healing.

Now on October 19, 2014 Warren Throckmorton published this:
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2014/10/19/mars-hill-church-board-of-elders-mark-driscoll-resigned-instead-of-enter-restoration-plan-to-deal/
Driscoll submitted his letter of resignation on Tuesday, Oct. 14 and the BoAA issued a statement on Oct. 15.

Throckmorton went on to quote a statement regarding Driscoll's resignation
...

The investigation of formal charges against Mark Driscoll has revealed patterns of persistent sin in the three areas disclosed in the previous letter by the Board of Overseers. In I Tim 5:20, it requires that an elder be rebuked for persistent sin. Our intention was to do this while providing a plan for his eventual restoration to leadership. The Board of Elders in agreement with the Board of Overseers are grieved, deeply grieved, that any process like that was lost to us when Mark Driscoll resigned in position and left the church. [emphasis added] Now is the time to move on and consider what God is calling us to next as a church as we participate in Jesus’ mission to make disciples in His name. Today begins a new chapter in the history of our church which has proceeded in one direction under one leadership for many years now, but I want you to understand this, God is our Father. That does not change. Jesus is the chief shepherd of the church and that has not changed.
So according to a statement reported by Warren Throckmorton the day before the Gateway presentation, Mars Hill's Board of Overseers seemed to have had a process, a plan to restore Driscoll to leadership, eventually.  The Board of Elders, in agreement with the Board of Overseers, were sad that such a process was lost to them when Mark Driscoll resigned his position and left the church.  So Robert Morris' account was he and Driscoll decided it would be good to take a break.  Driscoll's own account was he and Grace had consulted a number of godly men and women.  Everything up to this point seems to indicate some kind of networked/polling process on Driscoll's part.  Remember, by the time Driscoll's resignation had been announced, he'd notified the BoAA he'd gotten godly counsel from men and women across the country.  Keep that in mind when we get to the newest account.


https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wYBTnRpPHRb8N1nqtgP2FcHcdnBeMIqCYy2SyQCEWBg/edit
Transcript | Mark Driscoll | Thrive 2015-05-01
[6:34]
It finally came to the point where God released my wife and I from our responsibility to ministry. He spoke to us audibly. It wasn’t what we were expecting. It wasn’t what we had agreed to. We were both pretty shocked and the announcement was going to come out that week. [emphasis added] And, uh, our server, our e-mail and things apparently were hacked and there was no way to get anything done without it being a public situation. And so the Board, which are good, godly people in authority, which I appreciate -- they released a statement earlier than we were anticipating, so um, but that meant, and I agree with that decision, I’m not critical of it.  But that meant that I hadn’t told my kids that I had resigned and they were in school, taking test, it was a test week, …. we threw some stuff in a bag and ran to school to grab the kids and within minutes it was on TV, I think it was on CNN. 

We pulled the kids out of school, and they already knew because of social media -- media moves so fast.  So we told them they couldn’t go back to the house for a few days so we jumped in the car and went to a hotel and it was just kind of a emotionally wrecked.  We’d served in that city for 20 years.  Founded that church in our living room. And served it for 18 years.  (loud applause) Baptized somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000 people. (audible amens from crowd).

First, if you're the legal president and iconic speaker beamed across screens at fifteen sites a week and you resign, odds are pretty high that will be announced as soon as possible.  Driscoll's comment that the Board released a statement earlier than the Driscoll's were anticipating seems dubious. To invoke a historical comparison, Richard Nixon could not resign from the presidency of the United States without it being news.  Ergo, Mark Driscoll could not quit being president of or a member at Mars Hill without it being news.

Second, this thing about Driscoll saying "it wasn't what we were expecting" merits a comment all its own.  It wasn't what they expected but the letter that was sent to Michael Van Skaik and released to RNS showed Mark Driscoll explicitly stating that after he and Grace had sought godly counsel from men and women across the country they decided it was in the best interest of Mars Hill to leave ministry there.  Let's go back to that letter again:

http://www.religionnews.com/?p=109053
 October 14, 2014
Michael Van Skaik
Chairman, Board of Advisors and Accountability
Mars Hill Church
Dear Michael:
 ...
That is why, after seeking the face and will of God, and seeking godly counsel from men and women across the country, we have concluded it would be best for the health of our family, and for the Mars Hill family, that we step aside from further ministry at the church we helped launch in 1996. I will gladly work with you in the coming days on any details related to our separation.


In other words the stories are 1) we sought advice from a group of men and women and concluded it was time to quit for the health of family and MH; 2) MH leadership indicated they found Driscoll to have sin issues and were preparing a restoration plan that, if he'd followed it, would have restored him to ministry but Driscoll opted to resign before that was possible; 3) Robert Morris and Mark agreed between the two of him he should take a break; 4) Mark Driscoll told people at Thrive 2015 God audibly released him from ministry and independently confirmed this release with Grace even though it was not what either anticipated or expected.

These accounts seem ... kinda different from each other at a few points.

courtesy Throckmorton: Thrive transcript May 1, 2015 presentationi by Mark Driscoll

Some readers will have already read all of this.  It's important, however, to have the text available for consultation at the blog so that it can be read in a larger historical context.  We have an opportunity to collate and examine the various strands of narrative given to the public by Mark Driscoll and other figures who have discussed his ministry and activity.  But to most effectively do that, sometimes some otherwise redundant presentation needs to happen. Thanks to those who did the transcription work and made the presentation available for consideration. HT to Throckmorton and others.

So, now, here's the stuff they've made available.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2015/05/13/transcript-of-mark-driscolls-speech-at-the-thrive-leadership-conference-2015/
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wYBTnRpPHRb8N1nqtgP2FcHcdnBeMIqCYy2SyQCEWBg/edit

Transcript | Mark Driscoll | Thrive 2015-05-01
See Links to Timestamps at the end of this doc. [these omitted here]


[0:00]
Well. Who’s a shepherd?  Shepherds care for God’s people.  You’re all shepherds, right?


There’s a… There’s a verse in the Old Testament – you know it’s important when Jesus quotes it – see if you know this one, Shepherd. Strike the ______.  What’s the verse? Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter. 

You’re shepherds.  Jesus, of course, was the chief shepherd. And his goal is to bring a flock together around you.  People you can love and serve and protect and encourage. 

And the enemy has a plan to strike you so that that (sic) flock would scatter. And I want to spend some time today speaking, just trying to serve as best I’m able by God’s grace to struck shepherds.

And being a struck shepherd is difficult enough, but it’s even harder when you’ve got a family -- amen? And that’s why Paul says sometimes it’s easier to be single.  That’s what he tells the Corinthians. That’s why Jeremiah was single and Paul was single and Jesus was single.  They were shepherds that got struck and had they had families, it’s pretty terrifying to think of what would’ve occurred to their wives to their kids.  Some of you are struck shepherds and you have a double grief because not only are you a struck shepherd but it’s struck your family. You can’t talk about it because that would be gossip.  And you don’t want to allow that hurt to enter into the community and the relationships, so a lot of you just sort of carry that pain, that burden, that hurt with you.

And I don’t want to take this opportunity to talk a lot about me, I want to take an opportunity to serve you. We had an eight year conflict that really went public the last year, but it’s been eight years, and some of you struck shepherds know what that’s like.  By the time everybody else knows, you’ve already been dealing with it for a long time.  

 Um.  And the hardest part has been how to love and serve my family.  I don’t want to talk about my perspective.  I think God gave me 1 Peter 3:8-12 early on, sort of as a North Star for how I’m to conduct myself, but I’ve got a great family.  My wife Grace and I, we’re 44.  We met at 17. She’s a pastor’s daughter now a – I would say pastor’s wife but I guess a former pastor’s wife. She’s still my wife, but I’m a former pastor so... (crowd laughs)
[2:57]
And, uh, we’ve got five kids, uh – three boys, two girls. 9, 11, 13, 15, 17. And uh, the last years have been very difficult for them.  They, uh, they’ve moved three times for safety issues. One house we had troubled people show up and some protests and stuff at the house.  And then finally, we had somebody arrested late, late, late at night that was a threat to the family. And they were institutionalized and they walked back to the home in their underwear.  They escaped from the institution. 


We moved to another location and every time I moved homes, some of the critics would post the address to my house online so people could show up and bring the grief to my family. So we built a safe room for Grace and the kids



[3:47]
And we moved from there, after someone went to the bathroom on the front porch and people started showing up.  I moved to, uh, another house where ultimately that house was discovered and we started getting hate mail.


[4:04]
Things really escalated when the media showed up and blocked the driveway to the house, seeking an interview and brought a helicopter overhead to flush me out for an interview.  My kids had been outside playing and, uh, all of a sudden we heard this helicopter over the yard and so we pulled the family into the house and tried to figure out how to not be in front of a window because we didn’t want to be on the news and didn’t know what was going on, to be honest with you. 


That night my oldest son, he was 8 at the time, he came to me downstairs, my wife Grace was cooking dinner and uh, he had on this jacket, it was a military jacket with patches down the side.  He had his AirSoft gun and I said “What are you doing little buddy?” He’s nine now.  And he said, “Dad is this jacket bullet-proof?” (crown groans) And I said, “Why’s that little buddy?” And he said, “Well, if the bad guys come, I want to be able to protect the family.”

[4:59]
I didn’t know that he – he didn’t know it was a news crew. The only thing he’d ever seen were the uh, um, the bad guy movies where they come in helicopters and shoot everybody.  It took months.  He would have night terrors. He wouldn’t sleep in his room.  He wouldn’t take a shower, get dressed in his bedroom by himself. Something we’re trying to encourage him through.  Just real fear came into him.  The kids wanted to sleep outside in a tent one night.  We told them no, because as soon as we had the tent set up and were going out to sleep in the tent, the media posted the address to my house as a new story which I felt like we were in danger again so I grabbed the kids and left for the night and went to a hotel for a couple days.  Then came back and I preached what would be my last sermon -- I didn’t know it would be my last.  The New York Times was there.  It was a big media situation.


So, the kids were like, “Dad, we just want to sleep in a tent in our house.” So we slept in a tent.  I didn’t really sleep, but the kids -- the younger kids slept.  Woke up in the morning and somebody on the other side of the fence was throwing large rocks at my kids at about 6:30 in the morning.  And at first, I didn’t know what it was and then the dog thought we were playing fetch and started picking up these rocks and it dawned on me, like rocks are flying at my kids in the yard.  So we filed a police report and went away for a little bit. Came back and there was a bucket of nails all over the driveway.  Picked those up um. 

[6:34]
It finally came to the point where God released my wife and I from our responsibility to ministry. He spoke to us audibly. It wasn’t what we were expecting. It wasn’t what we had agreed to. We were both pretty shocked and the announcement was going to come out that week.  And, uh, our server, our e-mail and things apparently were hacked and there was no way to get anything done without it being a public situation. And so the Board, which are good, godly people in authority, which I appreciate -- they released a statement earlier than we were anticipating, so um, but that meant, and I agree with that decision, I’m not critical of it.  But that meant that I hadn’t told my kids that I had resigned and they were in school, taking test, it was a test week, …. we threw some stuff in a bag and ran to school to grab the kids and within minutes it was on TV, I think it was on CNN. 


We pulled the kids out of school, and they already knew because of social media -- media moves so fast.  So we told them they couldn’t go back to the house for a few days so we jumped in the car and went to a hotel and it was just kind of a emotionally wrecked.  We’d served in that city for 20 years.  Founded that church in our living room. And served it for 18 years.  (loud applause) Baptized somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000 people. (audible amens from crowd).
[8:13]
So, we’re sitting with the kids explaining to them that dad had resigned and that we were going to continue forward and that God had released us very clearly.  And my middle son -- he is really the pastor’s heart of the family, he’s a shepherd -- his first question, I just lost it, he said “Who’s going to care for the people?” We stayed there for a few days. Drove them into school for their tests. I went home and checked the security footage and yeah, there was a lot of people at our house taking photos.  It was a good thing we weren’t there.  We finally came home.
[8:47]
I think it was on Saturday. And, uh, none of us slept very well.  We were all pretty rattled.  And uh, woke up on Sunday.  Slept in. And, uh, my family… it dawned on me, like we’ve helped start 400 churches, we pastored a church, shepherd a church that had like 15 locations and now we don’t have a church to go to. So, here I am in the house with my wife and kids and we’re all just kind of zombies, and my, uh, my kids are like, well, we’re going to do church. 


And so, when your wife’s a pastor’s kid, you’re going to do church. (crowd chuckles). And so, my uh, my middle daughter -- the one child that can sing -- she got a lovely voice -- she decided she would lead us in song.  My young… my middle son set up Communion. My other son set up prayer buddies -- we break off into prayer. My oldest daughter oversaw the scripture reading. And my youngest son, who was eight at the time, came down with a bucket to collect the offering. (crowd laughs)
[10:00]
And uh, he said, he said “We’re going to give our cash and then we’re going to pick a family that is a single mom and doesn’t have a dad.” He said, “I’m going to pick the family and then I’m going to give them all of the money so she can buy toys for her kids.” And that was his plan for our offering.


So, we sang, and we prayed, and read scripture.  And uh, then I looked up and uh I thought I gotta’ teach this family. This is the first time in 18 years I didn’t have a message prepared on a Sunday. And uh, as soon as I looked at my kids, I uh, I lost it. And so, I cried a lot.  And prayed. And I taught for a while and we had a big family discussion with our little church of seven at the house. That’s still our only church to this day. And what I taught them, I’d like to share with you
[11:05]
I believe it was a word that the Lord gave me for my family. And I hope that it’s a word, a word from the Lord for your family. And I’m really jealous for you shepherd and your well-being. And I’m jealous for the well-being of your families. 


And so, if we could all just sort of pretend that you’re on my couch and I get to be a little bit of dad and pastor.  I’d like to just share with you what I shared with them.  And what I taught on in that moment was forgiveness. And I didn’t want to raise children -- I don’t want to raise children -- who are embittered against the Lord.  Embittered against me. Or their mom.

And part of this was asking their forgiveness.  I won’t in any way say that everybody was Judas and I was Jesus in the (or this?) situation.  And to forgive those who were involved.  They saw their church picketed and protested by families that we baptized. They saw on the nightly news it was a big story ongoing locally.  People that they had known for years.

Taking an opportunity. It was an important opportunity for my kids to be taught on forgiveness.  It’s something we keep working on. And uh, to start with, we forgive because we’re forgiven. (crown acceptingly groans). We forgive because we’re forgiven. And the psalmist says it in Psalm 51:5 “Against you only, Lord God, have I sinned.” So, ultimately, when we’re hurt, we’re offended, we’re wounded, when the shepherd is struck -- we can think about all of the evil or perhaps, malice that is coming against us -- and ultimately though, we need to think about the Chief Shepherd, and all of the evil and the malice that has come against Him.
[13:04]
And, and you read in 1 John, when we sin against the Lord, we break His law. Well that’s true, but Genesis 6 says that God looked and saw that the inclination of man’s heart was only evil continually.  And it grieved God in His heart that he made man. So, when we sin -- we not only break God’s law, we break God’s heart. We have a broken-hearted God.


The Chief Shepherd is a broken-hearted shepherd. And rather than getting vengeance… wrath -- God devises a plan.  Or I should say He enacts an eternal plan. That Jesus would come. And that Jesus would come so that our debt could be paid.  And that our sin could be forgiven. And that our relationship could be reconciled.
[13:55]
And you know the story of the gospel of Jesus.  He lived without sin and he was opposed.  He had a… He had a Judas who betrayed Him. He had a Thomas who doubted Him. He had a Peter who abandoned Him. And dear shepherd, you are all three.


And Jesus goes to the cross. And as he’s beaten and scourged and clocked and destroyed in front of his own mother… his brothers, this affected the whole family.  That’s what happens.  When a shepherd is struck. The Lord Jesus then has a sponge shoved into his mouth.

And, my studies… archeological investigation in Turkey a couple of times. And Israel. It seems like standard issue military kit for a Roman soldier was a sponge. And they would dip it in wine vinegar as an anti-septic. And then put it on the end of a stick. And use it as it as toilet paper to cleanse themselves when they were out in the field. It seems like that’s exactly what they shoved in Jesus’ mouth.
[15:00]
And do you remember what He said? “Forgive them.” They struck the Chief Shepherd and, with the taste of the soldier’s bowel movement in His mouth, He said “Forgive them.”


And then Jesus died that we might be forgiven. And forgiveness is really, according to the Bible, it’s the paying of the debt. That why (where?) the Lord Jesus taught us to how pray “forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Um. When sin happens, someone has to pay. And forgiveness is where the offended party pays. Vengeance is where the offended party makes the other person pay. And vengeance makes great Hollywood movies. Especially with Liam Neeson. But… (crowd laughs).
[16:05]
But...it makes for a terrible ministry, amen? I don't know if I can get through them all but I'd like to share with you some compelling reasons why I want you to learn to forgive. And why I want you to help your spouse forgive, and to help your children forgive. To allow the forgiveness of God to flow through the cross of Jesus, through your heart and into your family and through your ministry.
[16:33]
And I think sometimes as shepherds we can preach a message of forgiveness without practicing it. But some of you have been struck in deep and profound and painful ways. And that forgiveness is very very difficult for you. The first reason I want you...and let me just...let me… let me pray right here.


Holy Spirit, we invite you to come to the shepherds, to reveal to them anyone they may be holding a grievance against, a woundedness that is unhealed, a bitterness that is festering, a vengeance that is rising. Lord, would you please bring to their mind right now that individual person who has struck them, and/or struck their family. Would you give them a name, would you give them a face? Would you give them the grace to take everything I have the privilege of teaching in my few short moments with them, and apply it to that person. In Jesus' name, amen.
[17:49]
Whomever the Holy Spirit brought to mind, I want you to forgive them. Number one, because it glorifies God. The most quoted verse in the Bible is in Exodus 34, where God discloses himself, and He says, "the LORD, the LORD, slow to anger, abounding in love and compassion, (the?) one who forgives sins". That person's quoted in the Bible more than any other verse in the Bible. God's self-disclosure is that he's a God who likes to forgive.


This is the unique claim of Christianity, that in karmic Eastern religions, you have to reincarnate and pay it back. If you believe in purgatory, you suffer for awhile and pay it off. In Christianity, God just forgives. And when we forgive, we glorify God. That is, to mirror, to image, to reflect God. I would submit to you that arguably the best way to glorify God is to forgive. Because it's something that our God alone does, and when we do it, others see the reflection of his goodness.

And so forgiveness isn't something that wells up from within us; it flows down from God. This is why, in his great section at the end of Ephesians 4, he says to forgive one another as God in Christ forgave you. Forgiveness always starts with God and it comes to us, and is to flow through us to others.
[19:18]
And we're not denying justice, we're just handing it off to the highest court. As the Bible says, we're leaving vengeance in the hands of the Lord. Number one, I want you to forgive them because it glorifies God. And some would say "You do not know what they have done to me." But I would say whatever they have done, it is not as vile as what you and I have done to the Lord. And if the Lord can forgive us, then we can forgive them. If not, we're saying that our sin against God is not as bad as their sin against us. It's a Gospel issue.
[19:53]
Number two, I want you to forgive them, because I love you. And it blesses you. It blesses you. There's a book written by a man--I do not have any indication that he's a believer--he's done a lot of research as a medical doctor on forgiveness and unforgiveness. Forgiveness blesses you physically, gets rid of stress, anxiety, depression, fear. Unforgiveness, bitterness, vengeance, wrath, clamor...whatever Bible word you would prefer--it is taking the hurt from the past and carrying it into the future. What that means is you're making your worst day your every day.


And Paul has this great line in Philippians 3, says "Forgetting what lies behind, I press forward". Let me submit to you--you can't do both. You can't both go into the future taking your past. You need to forget that which lies behind if you want to press forward. It has benefits for you physically, just your well-being and your stress and your sleep. It has great benefits for you emotionally, where you can overcome the hurt, you can heal to some degree, or your hope and joy and your energy can return.

Some of you even going to church, I mean, I can just SEE it--I see some of you going to church, and feeling anxious as you go into the parking lot. There's an anxiety and a stress that comes just even with the possibility of encountering certain people. What they will say, what they will do, how they will respond. Some of you it feels like your church is filled with people who are grenades with the pin pulled and you're just trying not to bump them.
[22:00]
Paul says, insofar as it is possible with you, seek to live in peace with all men. That begins with forgiveness. It will bless you relationally, you can start to trust people again, rather than working under the auspices of self-preservation. If you don't want to get hurt, you need to isolate yourself...but then you're too far away from also experiencing love. And forgiving someone, you can start to wisely approach people again and build relationships of love and affection, it's good for you relationally. It's also good for you spiritually.


Jesus tells a parable in Matthew 18, where there's a guy who, it's a denarii--that's a day's wages. Let's say he owes a million dollars. And this person who is indebted, comes and says "I cannot repay". And the person to whom he's indebted forgives the debt. There's forgiveness. Says "I will eat the loss." And sends him with his tremendous grace. And the story is, he goes home and someone owes him, let's say, ten thousand dollars. Remember the story? He says "I won't repay you a dime." I'll put the screws to you.  It’s all vengeance and justice -- no grace. What Jesus is saying is, if we're forgiven people, but we're not forgivING people, we're people like that.
[23:22]
And what he says is, that a person like that will get handed over to the jailor -- the jailor is Satan. You cannot lose your salvation, but you can be handed over for torment. And what happens is, those who are in this prison of bitterness and vengeance and wrath and clamor -- they may still be believers, but they have entered into the enemies' domain and they are in a prison of bitterness and unforgiveness.


The question is, how do you get out of a prison like that? And some would say they need to apologize, they need to repent, they need to see it like I see it, they need to feel it like I feel it!!!!   Friend, they don't hold the key, you do. And it's a demonic lie that they hold the key, to get you out of your prison. You forgive them, they walk away. Whether or not they agree, whether or not they see, whether or not they apologize, whether or not they change. It also blesses them. When you forgive them, you bless them, and Jesus says to bless your...enemies.
[24:44]
This is how we know that the Bible was not written by human beings. (crowd laughs) This is a… this is... this is not a natural thing, to bless your enemies. That it is a supernatural thing. Forgiving your enemies -- and you have enemies, shepherd -- it's a supernatural act of grace. And it is a blessing to them. But before you can even bless them, you need to bless them by forgiving them, and then they don't have to live under your condemnation, your scrutiny, the fear of your wrath, your vengeance and anger. Some of you have lived under that, and you hate that, and so you don't want anyone to live under that from you.


Remember the story of Joseph? One of the great forgiveness stories of the whole Bible? He blesses his brothers. But before he blesses them he has to forgive them. And it took awhile. The story of Joseph took about thirty years if my memory is correct. Not every relationship will be reconciled like a TV sitcom in twenty two minutes minus the commercials. Some things take time.
[25:52]
And then there's that great line, you remember the story of Joseph's brothers--they threw him in a pit, and he went from a pit to a prison, then he went from a prison to a palace. But it took a long time.


And as he has this great reunion with his brothers -- do you remember the story, Genesis 50:20 is the classic line we use, right? "What you intended for evil, God used for good. And the saving of many lives."
[26:17]
And we give that as a seed of hope from which a life of fruitfulness could blossom in a devastated soul. But the verse before that is what makes it all possible. Joseph looks at his brothers in chapter 50 verse 19 of Genesis, and he says “Am I in the place of God?” That’s the forgiveness question.
They were afraid that he would seek wrath and vengeance and bitterness on them. And instead he said, I am not in the place of God. Jesus says in John 5 that the Father judges no one, that he’s entrusted all judgment to the Son.
[26:57]
Some of us like to think that not only will the Lord Jesus judge in the end, but that we’ll sit on his lap and assist with the task. No one sits on the lap of the Lord Jesus at the white throne to help him judge the living and the dead. That’s His job.  To not forgive someone is to take the seat of God.
[27:23]
I’m pressed for time, I’ll give you one more. I believe that this is something that the Lord showed me, I’ve not read it anywhere. You’re Bible believing brothers and sisters, you can check it by your own systematics. I started looking, I’ve done about a six month study on forgiveness so that I could just talk with my family and process with Grace and the kids. And that includes forgiving me. I wanna be clear about this. I don’t wanna say “Mark is entirely (emphasis added) the victim.” You know. Sometimes when the Shepherd is struck it’s ‘cause they punched themselves in the head. (laughter)
[28:07]
So I started looking at the places in the Bible that talked about forgiveness, and unforgiveness, and bitterness, and vengeance, and wrath and what I found is -- often, if not always -- in the same orbit It talked about the demonic.
[28:24]
Give you some examples. It says in II Corinthians 2:11 Satan will not outwit us, providing we know his schemes. The verse prior -- it talks about forgiveness. Colossians 2:13-15 talks about how Satan had ownership of us through our sin and that record of debt was canceled.  That debt was paid through Jesus’ death on the cross. And that disarmed the powers, principalities, and spirits.
[28:54]
So our forgiveness is how we were delivered from Satan and demons to God and His kingdom. And then in Ephesians 4 the great section on bitterness and forgiveness. He says in 4:32, “Forgive one another as God in Christ forgave you. That this forgiveness would flow from the cross of Jesus through your life to others.”
[29:21]
And he says -- just prior to that -- in your anger do not sin and don’t give the enemy a ______. A foothold. So here’s my theses, shepherd. Struck shepherd.  Satan and demons have never been forgiven. For anything. And Satan and demons will never forgive anyone for anything. And when you don’t forgive, you’re trafficking in the demonic.
[30:06]
And when you do forgive, the grace of God, and the Holy Spirit flows. That’s why it says in Hebrews 12:15 “See to it that no one misses out on the grace of God, that this river of God’s grace would just continue to flow from the cross of Jesus that others would be forgiven and forgiven.” “See to it that no one misses out on the grace of God and that no (pause) bitter root bears unforgiveness grows up, and by it many become (pause) defiled.”
[30:44]
I’m jealous for your life. I’m jealous for your family. I’m jealous for your ministry. I want the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit to flow from you, joyfully. And the one thing that will dam up the flow of God’s grace, because of bitter roots that defile many, is unforgiveness.
[31:15]
So I’m gonna’ ask you to forgive them. I’m gonna’ ask you to forgive ‘em.
Father God, I pray for my friends. I pray for the struck shepherds. Lord, I pray for the spouses of struck shepherds. God, I could just see in my mind, wives who love their husbands and are so tired of what is being said about him. She sees it on his face and she knows what he’s like when he comes home. He’s a devastated, broken man. He is a shell of who he was.
Lord, some of the children are rebelling because they think it’s the Chief Shepherd who’s struck the shepherds -- their mom and dad. The enemy has told a lie. He’s got the children believing that God is evil and cruel. That church is unsafe. And that Jesus doesn’t work.
[32:27]
Lord God, there are people here that are wondering if they’re even going to be in ministry in a few months. They’re on the precipice of making a decision as to whether or not this is the end for them. Lord, there are some that have deep scars and wounds that are unhealed. They’ve been carrying them for years. Lord, there are people here who are hurting, they are broken. They are struck shepherds.
[33:02]
Lord, we wanna say first of all, thank you for forgiving us. We are so glad that right now, Lord Jesus, that you are planning a kingdom party and… and… and not a vengeance plan. That we can run to You in our time of need and we know that there is only grace that flows from You. And Lord Jesus we ask that you would send the Holy Spirit to help us to forgive. To forgive those who have struck us and struck our family and struck our ministry.
And Lord, I pray that this wouldn’t be used in any way to try and vindicate myself or justify myself. I just wanna serve these brothers and sisters. I want them to take the key of forgiveness and to put it into the lock of bitterness and to open the prison door and to walk out of that torment that they have been living in. I pray that they would be able to share this message with their spouse and with their children. And I pray, Holy Spirit, that renewing and refreshing and redeeming would come to the struck shepherds. In Jesus’ good name, Amen.

Thrive in context, revisiting Mark Driscoll's 10-26-2013 "The Hardest Part of Ministry"


http://theresurgence.com/2013/10/26/the-hardest-part-of-ministry
The hardest part of ministry
October 26, 2013
Mark Driscoll

The hardest part of ministry
Mark Driscoll   » Church Leadership Heart Culture Suffering 
...

aka
http://theresurgence.com/2013/10/26/the-hardest-part-of-ministry
October 26, 2013
The Hardest Part of Ministry
Mark Driscoll


What part of your ministry is the most difficult? As our culture becomes increasingly hostile to Christianity, ministry can place an adverse toll on your emotional well-being.

Upon occasion, I like to answer questions that leaders (often young) ask about ministry. One that often comes up: What part of your ministry is the most difficult? Nearly everyone who asks this question is someone who is new to ministry and seeking to anticipate a possible landmine in front of them.

The most soul-aching concern I face

For me, the answer is simple: family safety. By far and away, this is the most constant, soul-aching concern that I deal with. Those ministering in more family-friendly suburban communities that welcome megachurches and gated neighborhoods may not understand the complexities of a ministry that is more urban and the dangers it can pose.

In 1 Corinthians 7:32–35, the Apostle Paul speaks about how a family, though a blessing, can also be a burden. I used to assume that he merely meant that someone who was single would have more time for ministry, but now I know the issue is much deeper.

Paul worked mainly in hostile, urban contexts where the backlash against the gospel was so strong that he faced very real danger. Having a family in such circumstances would have been even more difficult and dangerous. It’s one thing if opponents seek to harm or kill a single man, but a husband and father holding hands with his wife and little girl prompts an entirely different level of concern.

Facing danger

I recently celebrated 17 years of ministry at Mars Hill Church in Seattle. Before that I spent a few years doing college ministry, which means I’m knocking on the door of 20 total years of ministry service, by God’s grace. Here’s a partial list of some of the dangers I’ve encountered so far:

On two occasions, men brought large knives into the church and started approaching the stage to stab me while I preached. Our security team prevented this and law enforcement was called.

On one occasion, a man tried to get into my home in the middle of the night. Demanding to meet with me, he woke up and frightened my family. The police arrested him and put him in a mental health facility. The man escaped and started walking back to my home in his underwear. The police intercepted him when he was not far away.

Twice I have arrived home from work to find a registered sex offender seeking to engage with my family while waiting to talk with me.

A few times someone showed up at my home to cuss me out in front of my family.
I received a letter from a troubled man who said he heard voices telling him I either needed to stop preaching or he was supposed to drive to Seattle and make me stop preaching. When I checked the address on the letter, I noticed it was from a state prison. He was incarcerated for a violent crime and, according to the parole officer we contacted, in the process of being released.


On multiple occasions, while I was traveling out of town, people would post directions to my house on social media and encourage my critics to come to my home. This caused great anxiety for my wife and children because every time I travelled they felt unsafe and in danger. Nearly everyone who has ever done this to me has claimed to be a Christian, and none have children but they’ve shown no regard for the safety of my own.

Last year I came home from a day at the office to find an enormous pile of human excrement on my front porch. Not in a bag or shovel in sight, someone apparently dropped their drawers to leave a “gift” on my porch. This happened while my family was home and unaware of what was going on.
Whenever there is a threat risk according to a police officer, my kids actually know the drill: don’t go near dad at the church or event, sit far away, and pretend like he’s not your dad in public.

I literally had to hold back tears when the reality of the safety issue hit me in a big way. My two younger kids asked, “Dad, is it safe to go out and play today, or are the people who hate you coming over?” The fact that my little kids have to worry about harm invading their own yard is something I grieve.

Cruel and unusual

Add to this the safety issues posed by technology. I cannot fathom allowing my two teenagers to be on social media for fear of the venom they would receive. When my kids have to report on current events at school, they’ve learned to ask before they click on to news sites, since I never know who is saying what about me where.

Add to this the gossip that surrounds me, which once compelled an older woman to approach me at church and ask, while our children listened on, why I beat my wife, Grace. The woman just assumed that what she’d read online somewhere was true, despite the fact I have never and will never raise a hand in anger toward my wife or children.

In general, going out in public has gotten tough. People feel free to interrupt family dinners out to sit at the table and either cuss me out or talk for a long time without permission. My kids have gotten so sick of strangers handing them a phone to take a photo that one of my kids recently told someone, “I’m his child not his photographer.”

The fact that my little kids have to worry about harm invading their own yard is something I grieve.
Some people are just cruel. I was running errands with my youngest daughter, our most sensitive and affectionate child. She was holding my hand as we were walking around a hardware store when an older woman who looked like a sweet grandma came up, smiled, asked if I was Pastor Mark, and then asked if this was my daughter. The woman got down on one knee to look my little girl in the eye and say, “I’m sorry you have such a horrible man for a father. He hates women, which means he probably hates you, too.” And she did not stop there. In fact, she would not stop at all and just kept going. I did not engage, but rather walked away holding my daughter’s hand, since she was bawling at this point from being startled.

Then there’s the downright bizarre. Some years ago I was standing in line to buy burgers for my kids when they noticed my face next to a column in one of Seattle’s alternative newspapers, and they asked why I was working for them. Apparently, the paper took my photo and name and started writing columns pretending to be me.

Just as odd was when an amateur porn film festival announced the criteria people could meet in order for their movie to qualify. One option was to feature me and/or Mars Hill Church. Yes, if you had sex at our church or in my presence, your porno film would be shown in a local movie theater and voted on for a prize. With so much video of me available online, I feared being edited into a film, and my staff had to check the church and bathrooms before I walked around on Sundays to ensure that I did not end up in a porno. I also had to explain all of this to my wife in case she heard any rumors that I was in a porno, even though I am completely faithful to her.

Where are we headed?

All of this is just another stressful day at work for me. But given the direction in which society is headed, other ministers may get to experience some of these same scenarios, and some already are. I’ve heard horror stories from other pastors who have a higher-than-normal profile. One had a critic post large “Wanted: Dead or Alive” posters of him around town. Another received a letter containing photos of his home along with a threat to rape his wife. Another had critics waiting to cuss him out at his child’s school since they could not get a meeting through his office. The list goes on and on and on and on.

The complexity of diminished safety that technology brings is unprecedented in the history of the world. What will things look like in 20 or 30 years if the culture continues to trend less friendly toward faith in urban areas, and if technology continues to encroach on privacy and civility? I predict we’ll increasingly have to “evangelize through suffering,” as I put it at the end of A Call to Resurgence. It’s hard to think about this without getting anxious.

Other ministers may get to experience some of these same scenarios, and some already are.
When people learn that my concern for family safety is the most difficult part of my ministry, I usually get the follow up question: Why don’t you just quit and go do something else or go do ministry somewhere else?

Honestly, I’ve pondered that question myself on the darker days. I love my family. I love Jesus—and so does my family. I love our church—and so does my family. And I love our city—and so does my family. On average, we have seen 100 people get baptized every month for about the last five years. We are seeing lives change, and we find great joy in that. That said, I do all I can to care for my family and protect them, without being paranoid, and the truth is if I were not called to this line of work, I would quit.

Yes, sadly this question is all too easy for me to answer, so your prayers are appreciated. I just turned 43. Lord willing, we have decades of ministry left to go, and honestly if I think about it too much I get depressed and anxious. For those ministering in similar contexts, I’m earnestly praying for you and your families as well.

The Mark Driscoll of late 2013 may be a mellower one than the one of 2004 who published Radical Reformission (recently republished as just Reformission, which might signal a lack of radicalness)

Radical Reformission
ISBN 0-310-25659-3Mark Driscoll
Zondervan
copyright 2004 by Mars Hill Church
page 14


... So I married Grace, began studying Scripture with the enthusiasm of a glutton at a buffet, and started preparing myself to become a pastor who does not go to jail for doing something stupid. To pay the bills, I edited the opinions section of the campus newspaper, writing inflammatory columns that led to debates, radio interviews, and even a few bomb threats--which was wonderful, because the only thing worse than dying is living a boring life. [emphasis added]

courtesy Throckmorton: Transcript of 10-20-2014 Robert Morris/Mark Driscoll presentation at Gateway



http://wp.production.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/files/2014/10/Transcript-Robert-Morris-Mark-Driscoll.pdf
Transcript of Robert Morris and Mark Driscoll from the Gateway Leadership + Worship Conference

on the evening of Monday, October 20, 2014, as broadcast live via DayStar Television:

Robert Morris: “Tonight’s been phenomenal. Would you agree? So far uh, we’re just getting started (applause). Part of our heart is that you’re refreshed in the presence of God, when you come. And I hope you, you were refreshed in his presence, uh, tonight. Uhm, I wanna before I uh introduce Steven, our our speaker tonight, I want to introduce you to a friend. A good friend of mine. And I’ve been um speaking with him for several months now. He’s going through uh a a difficulty that most of you’ve probably read about. Um, I know the behind the scenes story. Uh, he was supposed to speak at our conference. Uh, it was publicized that we cancelled him; that’s not true, we did not cancel. I’m speaking of Mark Driscoll. We did not cancel him. He and I decided together uh that he was going to step out of ministry for a season and get some healing. [emphasis added] Uh he asked me, ‘could I come to the conference and just attend’? And I thought that was very big of him. To just come and be ministered to and again I just want to say a couple things, first of all, I want you to know that everything you read on the internet is not true (laughter, applause). And there are some pastors, myself included, and some others that you would know, that we’re speaking into his life and he’s listening. And uh, uh uh most of what you read is not true. Some of it is. He did make some mistakes. Uh here’s what I figure. We’ve got two choices. One is we could crucify him (pause). But since someone’s already been crucified (hollering)for him (applause, hollering). The other choice is we could restore him with a spirit of gentleness considering ourselves, lest we are also tempted (applause). It is very sad that in the church we’re the only army that shoots at our wounded. And I want you to stop it. I really do. Thank you. I’d like for you to show your love for him and for you to just welcome him. Mark would you stand up. This is Mark Driscoll. (Standing ovation, extended applause, hollering, whistling). (murmuring between MD and RM) (more applause, hollering, whistling)”

Mark Driscoll (begins at 2:58): “Thank you Pastor Robert. Uhm. What do you want me to do? If you give a microphone to a preacher who’s been gone for a while, he could go for a long time (laughter). Uhm.”

Robert Morris (3:10): (points to floor): “Trap Door”.

Mark Driscoll (3:11): “Alright Uhm. Very, very - love you and thank you as well, thank you. Uhm. Yah, for me I’m in a season of just uh healin’ up, praying. Uh, asking the Lord Jesus through wise counsel to show me any blindspots where I can grow. And as Pastor Appreciation Month I just wanna say that Jee-Jesus really appreciates you and appreciates your family and uh, if you think of anything, just pray for my family. I think there’s a lot I could say that would make me feel better. I don’t know that it would make me look better, but I don’t think it would make Jesus look better, so I won’t say anything other than uh just pray for my family we’ve had a uh a very trying season and uh um, just trying to figure out how to be a good pastor to my family first. We all know that’s the most important thing and uh, um, (burp) would you mind if I shared a story or two? Uhm, is that okay, like?

Um. I, I’ve cried a lot lately uhm er it’s been a rough season for the family. I guess you could take a seat. Um, (laughter) and um, and for those of you, I would say don’t overlook your family as first ministry. Uhmm. And for me we’re just really appreciate your prayer for our family. We’ve got five kids, three boys, two girls, ages 8 to 17 and uh we’ve moved three times now for safety issues. [there is no explicit time frame describing whether the move was over the course of one or fifteen years] Uhm. People arrested at our home, death threats, uh address posted on-line, all kinds of things and uh more recently it’s gotten very severe.

We came home from break. There was rusty nails all over the driveway. We uh, we uh we had a night where the kids wanted to sleep out in the tent and uh I got a call that um my uh address was posted on-line by the media and um so, we, we, we went out of town for a few days, came back uh the kids said ‘no, we gotta sleep in the tent so I didn’t sleep. But we, we were in the tent all night and uh, woke up in the morning about 6:30or so and huge rocks about the size of baseballs come flying at my kids uh 8, 10 and 12 years of age. Call the police. Flee into the house for their safety. Uh a few days later. I think it was, I don’t remember, the media flies overhead with a helicopter and is trying to flush us out for a story.

And uh that night uh we’re hiding in the house, my 8 year old son comes down and he’s wearing a military jacket, he’s loading up his Air Soft rifle (laughter)and he uh (MD chuckles) he looks at me and he says ‘hey dad is this uh is this jacket bullet proof? (soft laughter) and I just started crying and said, ‘why’s that little buddy?’ and he said, ‘Well it’s bad guys in the helicopter coming to shoot the family, right?’ He didn’t have any concept of, of media coverage, he thought it was bad guys coming to kill his family and he was gonna defend his sister (faint laughter) and so uh praise God he’s finally sleeping in his bed again, but it’s been a while to get him to do that with night terrors and so, there’s just a lot going on for our family, I appreciate Pastor Robert and the team here. I just want to come here to uh sing, to pray, uh to learn, to grow, uh to repent, to heal and uh uh God is surrounding me with some great pastors and friends, and if I could just say anything, it’s ‘every pastor needs a pastor’. And and, uh you pastors, your family needs you to be their pastor. So thank you”. (applause, whistling)

Robert Morris (begins 6:34):

“Thank you, thank you for your graciousness very much and um, um., we’re grateful. Debbie and I’ve been able to spend some time with Mark and Grace and talking with them and uuhh, we were talking the night before he resigned and talking about that and um talking through the situation and you know he uh resigned the church he founded and pastored for 18 years. (draws breath) Uhm, he, he, you know, when I say he made some mistakes, he made some mistakes like he past- he preached ten to twelve years, 50 weeks a year. Sometimes six services a weekend. And uh it’s just not healthy and um, so I’m uh glad that uh he’s saying, ‘help me’. ‘Hel-help me learn uh to do it differently and do it better.” And so I love him very, very much and um I’m I’m glad that he’s here. Uh you’re going to be blessed. Uhm, tonight I was thinking though that uh we invited uh Mark and Steven to be at, a part of our conference and they both got bad media this year. Huh-huh-huh-uh-he, I uh-uh-huh-uhuh I just uh they’re buddies now. So huh-uh (laughter) Uh but uh but it is surprising how, how uh we believe so quickly something that we read, uh about a brother in Christ that we’ve never even met.”
7:55 Robert Morris goes into Steven Furtick’s introduction…