Monday, June 29, 2015

Throckmorton: Brian Houston interviewed the Driscolls after all [?]

Nothing to add but, certainly, it's curious that Houston decided to interview the Driscolls after all having made such a public show of saying he had changed his mind about that.

some more thoughts on what some call watchblogging, the Samuel James double bind on blogging--don't minimize bad stuff but never watchdog blog about it.

You'll have noticed Wenatchee The Hatchet was on something of a vacation from blogging for a while.  There were some things that were topics WtH aimed to address earlier but later suffices.  Let's get back to something that came up because a Christian blogger talked about how to not talk on the internet about stuff as a Christian.  Because, you know, it wouldn't exactly be a real Christian blog without posts talking about what it's immoral for people to actually do, which makes Christian moralizing sort of like Objectivist moralizing. :)

Cue, some links to Samuel James.

What started off with hectoring got worse in the sequel.

Thursday, Somewhere in Cyberspace
Scene 1: A humble, 20something blogger writes a short, probably simplistic post about how (not) to talk about the church.

Scene 2: Our youthful hero writes disparagingly about a certain genre of online blogging that he finds distasteful and generally unhelpful. He is careful, however, to mention no names and no real scenarios.

Scene 3: He publishes the post, expecting little feedback. After all, it is a brief post, and makes only one real point: That Christians should not be bitter towards the church.

Call it the experience of age that comes unbidden but it seems impossible to imagine a humble, 20something blogger.  "short, simplistic"?  Ah, yes, THAT is utterly believable!

The irony of Samuel James inveighing against watchdog blogging from a blog is probably not lost even on Samuel James' part.

Back when James formulated the axiom of don't start a watchblog, ever, it was before Wenatchee The Hatchet had a chance to read the soon-to-be quoted content.  It's a sprawling quotation but the reader's urged to read it thoroughly:
But back in 2013, the now-26-year-old Broockman, a self-identifying “political science nerd,” was so impressed by LaCour’s study that he wanted to run his own version of it with his own canvassers and his own survey sample. First, the budget-conscious Broockman had to figure out how much such an enterprise might cost. He did some back-of-the-envelope calculations based on what he’d seen on LaCour’s iPad—specifically, that the survey involved about 10,000 respondents who were paid about $100 apiece—and out popped an imposing number: $1 million. That can’t be right, he thought to himself. There’s no way LaCour—no way any grad student, save one who’s independently wealthy and self-funded—could possibly run a study that cost so much. He sent out a Request for Proposal to a bunch of polling firms, describing the survey he wanted to run and asking how much it would cost. Most of them said that they couldn’t pull off that sort of study at all, and definitely not for a cost that fell within a graduate researcher’s budget. It didn’t make sense. What was LaCour’s secret?
Eventually, Broockman’s answer to that question would take LaCour down.
This might seem like a strange, mafia-ish argument to a non-academic, but within the small world of political science—particularly within the even smaller world of younger, less job-secure political scientists—it makes sense for at least two reasons. The first is that the moment your name is associated with the questioning of someone else’s work, you could be in trouble. If the target is someone above you, like Green, you’re seen as envious, as shamelessly trying to take down a big name. If the target is someone at your level, you’re throwing elbows in an unseemly manner. In either case, you may end up having one of your papers reviewed by the target of your inquiries (or one of their friends) at some point—in theory, peer reviewers are “blinded” to the identity of the author or authors of a paper they’re reviewing, but between earlier versions of papers floating around the internet and the fact that everyone knows what everyone else is working on, the reality is quite different. Moreover, the very few plum jobs and big grants don’t go to people who investigate other researchers’ work—they go to those who stake out their own research areas.


Jason Peterson, then, was their man—he might be able to explain what was going on with their poor response rates. Broockman asked Kalla to call him; Kalla went upstairs and did. He came back a little bit later. “Holy shit,” he said. There was no employee named Jason Peterson at uSamp. An email to double check confirmed this: A uSamp staffer responded later that day, saying, “There was never a Jason Peterson at uSamp at any time.” (Not only had LaCour made up an employee, he’d promoted that made-up employee all the way up to vice-president—and note the weird capitalization in LaCour’s name in the forwarded message, which may or may not mean anything.) The firm also reiterated the message Broockman had received a year and a half prior, the one he hadn’t realized the significance of at the time: The firm couldn’t even do the research LaCour had described. This was now a far cry from vague concerns about artificial-looking data patterns and weirdly reliable thermometers.

 Later that night, Broockman hosted a Hawaiian-themed graduation party at his apartment. About 70 people came—a mix of grad-school friends, family, and friends he had made in the Bay Area. All day, Broockman’s boyfriend had begged him to help get the place ready, but he was too fixated on the LaCour and Green paper. Yet even with the revelation about Jason Peterson, Broockman and Kalla still thought they lacked the smoking gun they needed. “We were in a state of panic, not sure if we should keep looking, what we should look for, and what to do with what we had found,” Broockman says. Right as the party started, Kalla tried to get Broockman to chill: “No more talking about this!” he told Broockman. “Your boyfriend made a nice party for you!”

But it was now almost impossible for Broockman to stop talking about the paper. He was surrounded by his academic advisers and imbibed more than a couple of sparkling ros├ęs. He ended up talking to Malhotra some more. Yet again, Malhotra said: Be careful. Don’t expose yourself. But, in addition to the revelation about Peterson, Broockman was starting to feel moral concerns: “The Ireland referendum was coming up,” he says. “Big grants were about to be spent.” He hated the idea that people were being misled by “findings” that looked increasingly suspect. [emphasis added]

See, when it came time to decide whether or not to just "let it go" and "move on" over the prospect the vast sums of money were about to spent on activity inspired by the belief that a study was true when, in fact, the study was a sham, somebody felt obliged to say something, something for the record.

Meanwhile, it seems a bunch of evangelicals with blogs seem to think it's bad if evangelicals take up what's called watchdog blogging.

Which gets Wenatchee The Hatchet back to "don't start a watchdog blog, ever."

Samuel James' 7 can be read, basically, as a declaration that 1 doesn't really count in the end. 

Of course longtime readers of Wenatchee The Hatchet will understand that this is not, in fact, a watchdog blog. 

But when gay activists have the principles and intellectual integrity to debunk research that had been cited to lend creedance to their cause while Christians, in the wake of Mark Driscoll's plagiarism scandals, actually proposed that intellectual property isn't even really remotely Christian then, well, okay.  What's there to say to that? 

Well, if gay activists are better at policing fraudulent claims among their own peer group than Christians are that DOES tell us something ... but it may not be something evangelicals who would rather talk about gays than consider their own foibles might want to read.

For folks who don't read the Old Testament quite enough, the book of Judges is not a book that proposes that everybody in that book was a hero.  Sure, a few names made it into Hebrews 11 but if you read Judges on its own terms you get the distinct impression those heroes were still monsters.  A hero may well just be a monster whose expediency to a particular cause and effectiveness in promoting it is weightier to the constituency than the vices of the hero.  When the vices and damage outweigh the positive representation and expediency of the cause the hero becomes a liability.  Or, over time, it may turn out the hero didn't represent the values the group thought the hero stood for.  When that happens is the way to handle it really to not minimize that ... or is it to not start a watchdog blog, ever?  Every team, given enough time, will have its atrocities.  We live in an era where no one can pull the "no true Scotsman" defense for their team.  Let's be mindful of the possibility that the difference between a hero and a monster is his or her usefulness to a cause.

There's more that could be said about this as it could potentially apply to Driscoll, but this year WtH hoped to not have anything that seemed necessary to say about the nobody who's trying to tell everybody about somebody.

We live in an era where on the internet a lot of people want to police every team's thoughts and actions and words ... except for their own.  People at Mars Hill have no doubt not exactly appreciated Wenatchee The Hatchet over the years and that's understandable.  It should be said that as a moderately conservative Reformed not-cessationist Christian people at Mars Hill could at least have some confidence that Wenatchee The Hatchet's criticisms, admittedly at times severe, were intended to be constructive in spirit.  It's a shame Driscoll opted to quit but at this point the world is a big world, and it's a big world in which somebody the Driscoll kids might read "Pussified Nation" and "Using Your Penis".  Driscoll's gotta live with the reality of that possibility.  No honest accounting of Mark Driscoll's legacy can avoid that.

Ten years ago Wenatchee The Hatchet imagined spending a lifetime at Mars Hill.  Things change, obviously.  Driscoll used to tell us that if he ever went off the rails to leave.  So a lot of us did.  He apparently did not take that as a sign that he was going off the rails but that a bunch of us weren't on mission.  Now he has no church and his legacy is mixed at best. 

Here's something for people who are averse to watchdog blogging to consider, what if watchdog blogging is capable of being a demonstration of repentance?  Sure, it might awkwardly be a process of repenting for being part of a church culture the blogger has come to consider malignant and abusive ... but a watchdog blog does not have to be undertaken from a perspective of condemnation.  Wenatchee The Hatchet has never told people at Mars Hill to leave Mars Hill.  All Wenatchee has done is document things as carefully as humanly possible and has invited people to reconsider the narrative.  When controlling the narrative has been so much at the heart of how people were kept in line, giving people a chance to reconsider the narrative themselves has more power to effect change than telling people that if they have any ethics at all they should be on your side already.  The big problem with that approach is, well, it's kinda what we saw the top dog doing at the top of Mars Hill. 

If evangelicals cannot appreciate even the possibility that so-called watchdog blogging can be undertaken not from spite or envy but out of a love of neighbor, and out of a desire to serve not just the body of Christ but to try to contribute positively to the benefit of the greater public good and public discourse on the role of religion in civic life, then that's going to reflect badly on us.  It could tell the world at large we care quite a bit less about the truth (even if it makes us look like the sinners we so obviously are) than we care about the branding.  Not all of us who identify as Christians consider that the right path to walk.

link: Black Beethoven and the Racial Politics of Music History

One would have imagined that the whiteness of Beethoven would have been more or less a given but, well, not necessarily thanks to the internet's capacity to revive long debunked ideas.

This is a relatively breezy read.  The name George Walker gets dropped near the end and you should give some of Walker's music a chance.  His cello sonata is nice, for instance.  I learned of his work through the blogging of Ethan Iverson and have only gotten any familiarity with Walker's compositions in the last year or so.

That we could or should rethink how we approach the history of the Western musical canon doesn't seem like a bad idea.  It's not so much that the canon itself has to or needs to exactly change but perhaps we could make a few distinctions.  For some of the super Calvinists in Moscow, for instance, it'd be good to remember that the major/minor key system is not particularly "robustly Trinitarian" seeing as it's mere centuries old.  When you consider that we've only had that equal-tempered chromatic approach to diatonic scales for just a couple of centuries it might be reason to not tell ourselves that's all there is to music.  I tdoesn' tmean you have to, say, enjoy Partch or Carter (though ifyou actually do that's fine).

Anyway, an interesting little piece for those interested in polemics in musicology and music history stuff.

You are clothed in injustice, literally, an old Atlantic feature here about exploited labor and the clothes on your back.
Most if not all global apparel manufacturers exploit workers abroad, not only at companies that produce cheap or low-quality goods. And evidence of forced labor doesn't mean that a company is being willfully negligent. Patagonia’s admission stands out in that it comes from a brand considered a leader in the movement for ethical production, demonstrating the enormity, and the difficulty, of the task of protecting workers in massive, fractured supply chains.

“Labor trafficking is a huge problem globally. There really isn't any industry that is immune to this problem,” says Agatha Tan, a senior adviser on labor trafficking at the Polaris Project.

jazz, politics, and irrelevance, considering the cultural place of the worst-selling genre of music in America, just a little.

A few years back Terry Teachout wrote a piece called "Can jazz be saved?'
Teachout declared that however much jazz may be an American treasure, nobody's listening. The article inspired a few dissenting opinions, to put it briefly.
A couple of months ago Teachout revisited the article with an update by way of new numbers.
Contrary to widespread popular belief, I didn’t say anywhere in that column that jazz is dead. This is what I really said:

It’s no longer possible for head-in-the-sand types to pretend that the great American art form is economically healthy or that its future looks anything other than bleak. ...

and he had some numbers.  But he posted this year to note some newer numbers.
Jazz became the least successfully selling style of music in the land, basically, even more so than classical music.  If Teachout was as wrong as some said he was years ago he can't have been that wrong about noting the decline in buying customers.  You can talk about reification and commodification of music all you want.  If people aren't paying for it how does the art form survive in this cultural setting?  High school jazz bands?  Well, maybe in some places.
But in the last year there were little bursts of debate about the relevance of jazz as an art form and about its relationship to politics.  This may seem like the strange detour that it pretty much is but here's a few quotes for consideration.
By Justin Wm. Moyer August 8, 2014
 This music has retreated from the nightclub to the academy. It is shielded from commercial failure by the American cultural-institutional complex, which hands out grants and degrees to people like me
 Justin Moyer’s recent Washington Post hit piece on jazz provoked a lot of hostility, much of it deserved. It was, after all, pretty shoddy work.
 Based on the Left’s long history of embracing jazz and jazz musicians, we might feel we have a dog in this fight. But it’s been years since jazz had any claim to a counter-cultural, outsider, adversarial status, or communicated a revolutionary or even mildly reformist mindset. Any doubts on that score can be answered with a trip to the wall of corporate sponsors of jazz in Lincoln Center, followed by a visit to Dizzy’s Coca Cola club, the center’s flagship concert hall.
 If the Left is losing its affinity for jazz, that’s not really a problem: plenty of other musical styles can fill the void, and we can argue about whether they succeed in complementing a radical political and economic critique or even whether it’s important that they do so.
 The problem for jazz is that few on the left, right, or center care enough about it anymore to argue its merits — political, aesthetic, or otherwise. Moyer is an exception: he clearly cares enough to take the time to write about why it fails to move him emotionally and engage him intellectually.
 He’s right to point out the damage done to jazz by generations of uncritical consensus about its greatness, certified by a phalanx of respectability ranging from musicological mandarin Joseph Kerman and CIA operative Henry Pleasants to civil libertarian Nat Hentoff and black nationalist Amiri Baraka (not to mention the master of triangulation himself, Bill Clinton). The aesthetic status of jazz is reinforced through top-down institutional acceptance: the MacArthur awards, the endowed professorships, the Ken Burns documentary, the massive corporate and nonprofit support, and so on.
 Nonstop official consecration makes judging any given piece, performance, or artist superfluous — even risky. Listeners become anxious about expressing what they really think and feel about the music. You can’t find jazz boring and self-indulgent without appearing to be a boob. Machiavelli says that politicians should prefer the public’s fear to its love, but that’s a death sentence for an art form.
 Moyer pretty effectively slays one sacred cow implicated in this: not all improvised music is great. Yes, improvisation has produced some wonderful music, but it has also imposed plenty of tedium on audiences over the years. And given the cult of the improvisor created by generations of A-list intellectuals, listeners don’t argue, they vote with their feet — politely turning down invitations to the Village Vanguard, a university-sponsored gig by one of the remaining jazz icons, or a local band “blowing” on standards at a pizza parlor or coffee house.

Jacobin being the socialist publication it is if you don't happen to be socialist then the idea that jazz has become irrelevant by dint of a lack of political engagement on behalf of the Left might seem like the wrong reason to consider a musical art form dead.  But there's a sense in which the concern that jazz has become the music of the establishment could be a serious one for jazz fans in general.

...  Regarding jazz and the Left, Halle’s perspective is, if not distorted, severely limited. From what I’ve seen, jazz players and left-leaning politics remain naturally connected. Recall the concerts that jazz musicians staged in support of U.S. President Barack Obama’s candidacy in 2008, the various pieces such as Robin Eubanks’ Yes We Can that celebrated Obama’s victory, or Toronto saxophonist Rich Underhill’s performance for at the 2011 state funeral of NDP leader Jack Layton. Recall the anti-Bush statements of albums such as Charlie Haden’s 2005 album Not In Our Name, the World Saxophone Quartet’s like-minded 2006 disc Political Blues, or Montreal saxophonist Christine Jensen entitling her 2006 CD Look Left. Now try to name some meaningful right-wing expressions or shows of support by jazz stars.

 This is not to say that all music is politically charged or needs to be. When jazz musicians show their stripes, they seem to have skewed left (myself included), but at other times, the music is simply apolitical. As Iverson writes, sometimes pieces such as Without A Song “are just good tunes for a improvisor to dig into.”

Put it this way, sometimes the jazz musicians on my Facebook feed get political and decry Stephen Harper or climate change, and at other times they simply promote their gigs and post photos of cats
Socialist realism's never going to completely go away from socialists embarking on the arts.  That's not going to change. But perhaps the clearest indication that jazz has a kind ofe stablishment status hit Wenatchee The Hatchet while waiting on hold for some bureaucratic thing, mayhbe it was a government office or a customer service thing for some bill  The main take-away was the hold music was Miles Davis' Kind of Blue.  So what, literally!
When classic albums from jazz have become hold music you get to listen to while waiting to talk to someone who may or may not actually care about your situation then, well, jazz has become establishment music in the worst possible way.  This should not detract from the beauty of its art but it was a memorable occasion for Wenatchee The Hatchet to consider that those who resent jazz may not just resent it for musical reasons.  They may feel that jazz is aimless and snobby and that can be utterly true .. but those are extramusical values, too. 
To some degree Teachout pointing out what has since become more obvious did not need to be the occasion to point out that he writes for right wing publications.  Wenatchee The Hatchet obviously lkes reading stuff ranging from Commentary to Jacobin and is curious about stuff across the entire spectrum.  It's fascinating how much traditional and arch conservatives agree with some progressives on the innate evil of Jeff Koons, for instance. :)  But let's not dwell on that now.
We were writing about actual art, after all. :)
In light of the recent passing of both Ornette Coleman and Gunther Schuller we could ask how effective Third Stream fusions may be if classical and jazz are among the worst-selling styles of music out there.  Two of my favorite types of music, obviously, these are.  Even in the peak of my days being involved with Mars Hill "engaging culture" by knowing or caring what was going on in pop music at large was not exactly my thing.  The last album I got that was neither classical nor jazz would have been ... the third Portishead album, I suppose. 
It's been interesting reading about music and the state of music.  Wenatchee The Hatchet at one point considered the possibility of getting into the music business.  It seems a bit unlikely now.  But even if it were to happen it's interesting to read about the cries artists believe are upon us.  Perhaps the most striking crisis that has not been discussed quite as thoroughly as it could have in the wake of the "Blurred Lines" verdict is how very little of our musical mass culture is actually public domain.
The case for publicly sponsored music education has often hinged on the idea that promoting the arts is good for well-rounded citizens.  What if we playfully propose another reason for music education in schools, if you tell the kids these days what is and isn't public domain it helps them learn fro molder musical styles so they can have the musical literacy to draw upon source materials less likely to land them in court.  If corporations are going to sue infringers then it would seem a public service to citizens to let them know in school, while they're young, which music they can copy without fear of getting sued by massive corporate interests. 
And having spent the last few months blogging about the ways in which guitar sonatas from the early Romantic era can be easily transformed and mutated into ragtime, a more thorough-going musical education which treats Western music as a unified whole spanning European classical music as well as American pop music seems like a more honest way to approach music education.  You'll give people more fo a chance to suffer, maybe, if yu show that a Haydn string quartet and a Weezer song have the same linear pattern between Op. 76,2 and "Island in the Sun" if they don't like that music.  But if we can talk about music AS music and not just as lifestyle associations then some real fusion in musical culture can happen.  When the chords and tunes in early 19th century guitar sonatas can be changed into ragtime my personal take is that the boundaries between the two styles of music are not that big.  It's not a matter of the harmonic and melodic vocabulary, really, so much as it is about the categories of thought organizing the material. 

in the year of dissolution, some MH pastors continue with disclosures of material connections, case studies from Seth Winterhalter

Winterhalter is not a name that would probably mean that much even to people who have been inside Mars Hill Church, much less to outsiders.  However, the pastor is at a church plant spin-off/re:boot of the Mars Hill corporate entity and, as such, might be worth keeping at least some moderate tabs on.

The blog posts linked to below are fairly boilerplate.  In fact there's nothing about them that's particularly worth commenting on from the texts of the posts themselves.

But what is pretty new, compared to the sea of blogging done by MH-affiliated pastors and deacons, would be wording that's this specific:

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Depending on one's assessments of Winterhalter as a pastor one may or may not wish to purchase the recommended books by following the links.  Mileage may vary.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

the Benedict Option and the conundrum of the low church culture

Some of you readers may have some idea, at a glance, what the "Benedict Option" is supposed to be and why some Christians have been discussing it. It has been interesting in the last twenty years to observe an ascendancy of Christian American talk of cultural engagement at the period in which Protestant Christianity is no longer necessarily a given as a key ingredient in American civic religion.
For those who are not of a Christian practice or confession a paradox in the mere idea of the Benedict Option is that kind of perceived cultural withdrawal inherent in the enterprise when, at least amongst evangelicals in the United States, the evangelistic impulse within evangelicalism would seem to preclude a Benedict Option. 

But ... there's another, probably more serious problem, with evangelicals in the United States proposing a Benedict Option, such as it is.  If you're going to, to put this in the most polemical sense of the term for sake of conversation, create a cultural bunker, what kind of culture have you got that would be preservable?

It is on this note that Alastair Roberts' observation about the poor form of American evangelicalism may be salient.

Perhaps another little detail American evangelicals might need to bear in mind is that any culture that is preserving something distinct will, essentially by practical definition, be a cult.  The use of the term "cult" has been so pervasive in pejorative use that it might be difficult for anyone to attempt to use "cult" in a neutral sense, and yet it seems as though cult formation is the very essence of what humans do.  That contemporary progressive thought can occasionally forget this is understandable but evangelicals can also forget that it's true of them, too, just as it is true of all of us.  It's more dangerous to convince ourselves that cult formation is what we try to avoid than what we aim to do.

Perhaps due to a preference for lower liturgical forms and a suspicion of "dead religion" evangelicalism in the United States may have so gutted itself of cultural formation tools that even if those in evangelicalism attempt a Benedict Option, they have spent generations actively divesting themselves of the things that could have most served them toward the end of creating a cultural garrison of whatever sort they hope could be created.

Not that people haven't tried to create cultures in which values and aesthetics were preserved.  That was, arguably. what many observed was being attempted within the social system and corporate enterprise that up until recently was known as Mars Hill. 

There's considerably more that could be said about that enterprise but it won't be easily put into words.  Recent coverage of what's been described as Mark Driscoll's testosterone Gospel needs to be reframed a bit not in terms of what people think he was alleged to have been selling but by examining what social and economic difficulties he and his associates believed they were trying to solve.  It is possible to disagree with where a person goes on a particular issue; or to disagree with the methodology by which they propose to address an issue or goal; and yet at the same time understand the significance of the problem they have tried to solve.  Time and energy permitting, Wenatchee The Hatchet hopes to address a bit more of the "testosterone Gospel" to point out what the nature of its Social Gospel was (HT to Dan at City of God for formulating the idea of the Social Gospel of Mars Hill). 

Meanwhile, evangelicals talking about a Benedict Option may need to keep talking about what that even means and whether or not American evangelicalism has truly formulated the kinds of cultural tools with which to create such an option. 

And as culture stuff goes, we're going to get to writing about books on music later this year.  And revisit The Legend of Korra, which Wenatchee The Hatchet has recently renamed "The Legend of Entitlement".  But the music stuff will be more fun to write about.

But, as  noted earlier in this post, WtH isn't necessarily erupting with content for here just yet.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

correction/update, Lasting Legacy LLC not so expired after all

Having previously blogged about the expiration for this company over here ...

Well, turns out Wenatchee The Hatchet ended up being wrong (it happens, obviously).

UBI Number 603199549
Category LLC
Active/Inactive Active
State Of Incorporation WA
WA Filing Date 04/17/2012
Expiration Date 04/30/2016
Inactive Date 
Duration Perpetual
It was described as set to expire at the end of April 2015, really, but it got some kind of extension. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

there will, eventually, be a return to reviews

Andrew Durkin's book Decomposiion has been out for a bit and Wenatchee The Hatchet hopes to write about the book some in the upcoming weeks. There's some stuff that's interesting and persuasive about the book and there's some stuff that seems less persuasive and some stuff that's just weak sauce.  It probably doesn't help matters that I started reading Durkin's book shortly before I also picked up Leonard Meyer's 1967 work Music, The Arts, and Ideas and one of these two books is a marvel of esoteric and abstract thought on practical matters and ... I'm afraid Durkin's book is not that book.

But Durkin's book could have been a fantastic polemic on the cultural crisis we have in which there is no public domain in pop culture.  I just think he made a mistake of making his manifesto against "authenticity" and "authorship" about music when he should have made it about more that. Think less music than ... Episode VII.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

more incubation

there is a lot, a lot, that could eventually go up but this is more an incubation stage for Wenatchee The Hatchet.  Weaving together social science observations from Zimbardo, Baumeister and some folks from ribbon farm is time-consuming.  Throw in Hanna Rosin's "The End of Men" and some thematically pertinent ideas from that side and here's a question, if you have a generation or two of males who are educated in a globalized post-industrial economic scene in which they are more able than ever to realize how disposable they are; and if in the midst of that you have someone whose sales pitch is "legacy" and who promises explicitly or at least implicitly that if you join the cause you will contribute to and positively benefit from said legacy; wouldn't you by definition have a cult on your hands?

Isn't a culture, in that kind of way, simply a successful cult?  Evangelicals have  been so busy defining cultic dynamics in pejorative terms, usually terms that construe doctrinal error, that they fail to grasp that successful cult formation is the essence of all human social activity. 

While some in the press still talk about Driscoll's alleged testoserone gospel, it's important to get some sense of what the buyers of that Gospel thought they were being sold and what they would say the bought into.  Progressives have fallen short here because they focused more on the "what" of what Mark seemed to be selling than on the "how" of how he got it to work as long as he did.

He functionally promised young guys who may ahve come from fraught economic and social backgroudns a legacy if they hitched their wagons to his star.

There's far more that could be written on this matter but that may have to wait fo

Thursday, June 11, 2015

music videos--Ourkouzounov, Connie and Kruisbrink

Very longtime readers of Wenatchee The Hatchet probably already know that Atanas Ourkouzounov is one of my favorite living guitarist composers.  Well, here's another sample of some of his work

Atanas Ourkouzounov Guitar Sonata 2
Now back on the East Coast, formerly Seattle guitarist Meredith Connie has a trio you can give a listen

Seattle Colors
Meredith Connie

Finally, as chamber music for double bass and guitar goes my favorite composer would, hands down, be guitarist Annette Kruisbrink.  Time and resources permitting, hope to discuss this post-minimalist gem later this year ...
Cirex for double bass and guitar

Also hoping to sorta review/discuss Andrew Durkin's book Decomposition later this year, too. There's stuff I really like about the book and some stuff that's more literary treatise about literary treatises than musical discussion.  I can try to explain what I mean by that later on.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Driscolls interview at Hillsong cancelled, Mark Driscoll Ministries not "quite" updated there, a correction about a misrepresentation that Driscoll preached something he didn't

from May 28, 2015

Thank You for Your Continued Prayers and SupportWe want to thank those of you have attended speaking engagements and sent words of encouragement to the address. We also thank those that continue to pray for and support this ministry.Upcoming Events

Pastor Mark will be speaking at the upcoming Hillsong Conference in Sydney and London. Please be praying as he travels, for health and for open hearts to hear the Gospel. You can learn more about upcoming events where Pastor Mark will be preaching here.

As of ... right about now anyway, the Hillsong event is described as an upcoming event.  Seems like everyone except the web admins at Mark Driscoll Ministries got the memo?

Given how much sharing Driscoll died about crying a lot and recycling stories from the Gateway conference with a few additional details having the Driscolls at Hillsong might have been a distraction, it might also have been redundant.  Spoiler alert, thanks to Thrive we learned Driscoll cried a lot and had stories to tell about how the media blocked his driveway and had a chopper flying over a house he told Russ Bowen (camera rolling, microphone hot) that, uh, wrong address, bro.  There's nothing Grace could have (or should) add to that update.  Why bring her on for a Hillsong rerun when Mark Driscoll updated plenty?

Driscoll preached recently and tickets were even on sale for a simulcast presentation, though the forthcoming Luke content sounds like it's a recycling (perhaps?) of the Luke series from the old Mars Hill days.  An earlier Driscoll would have warned against guys who recycle their greatest hits because they don't have new stuff but new stuff is apparently also in the works ...

Something that needs correcting, Driscoll never mentioned penis homes in any sermon he has ever preached in the history of his ministry, not that Wenatchee The Hatchet can ever document as yet.  There were words about a penis and a home published by William Wallace II on the old unmoderate Midrash. You can read all that over here:

But that's not a sermon.  That doesn't mean Mark Driscoll doesn't ahve to live with the reality of stuff he wrote under a pen name but it does mean the folks in the press reporting "penis homes" as a sermon are utterly wrong and a fact correction needs to be made about that.  Who's reported the penis home stuff as in sermons?  Well ...

The Guardian, for one.  Wenatchee's enjoyed reading the Guardian for over a decade so out of consideration for correcting a factual error here's a word out to their editors that WtH has found no evidence "penis homes" was in a sermon. 

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

"9 practical reads like 9 pious bromides, we may need to review the scope of the legacy

While part 1 had Wenatchee The Hatchet cautiously considering that Turner is taking "baby steps" toward a healthier approach the baby steps, now that part 2 is up, seem smaller than they could have been.  We'll have to be brief and unfortunately sloppy here:

While eight people to whom Turner reached out to reconcile counts as "something" we need to bear in mind what havoc was at play.

Keep in mind Turner once wrote "How to Leave Well", discussed elsewhere at this blog.

Turner may not yet be coming to terms with the full scope of how things worked. 

A. The long term effects of any and all terminations or lay-offs instigated by Turner or under Turner's tenure  need to be understood.with this in mind:

1. people who quit frequently had to sign non-disclosure agreements that included spouses and predicated short term conditional medical coverage on compliance
2. Turner issued a public statement indicating that those quitting should neither ask for nor expect to receive severance pay
3. 501(c)3s don't pay into unemployment insurance, generally, so either way whomever was fired or laid off by Turner, or whoever quit, would have ended employment unable to collect unemployment insurance benefits

Van Skaik indicated more than 100 people were off-loaded from employment at MH in what turns out to have been the first couple of years of Turner's tenure in executive leadership
I.e the staff turnover rate when Sutton Turner arrived could be described as catastrophic.  Some (or many) who were fired or laid off) also got told they had to sign non-disclosure agreements.  Gag orders was how one former pastor described them.

 For an overview of that ...
Warren Smith at World Magazine has recently published the following words:
... I’ve obtained a copy of the Mars Hill agreement, it covers both the employee and the employee’s spouse, and it threatens legal action if the employee has “any intentional or unintentional violation” of the agreement. Dave Kraft, a former elder who refused to sign the document and subsequently left the church, said, “It amounts to a gag order.”

C. point 7 presents a strange mirror image to MH leadership having never conceded how they handled the 2007 firings may have had problems

It is very disheartening when you want to sit down with someone and practice Jesus’ instructions given in Matthew 18, but they do not believe they have sinned against you and refuse to meet. What should you do? Forgive them. You do not need someone to tell you they are sorry in order to forgive them. One of the most prominent teachers on forgiveness and redemption would not meet with me after he sinned against me. I had to decide whether I would become bitter and harbor resentment toward this person or if I would forgive and pray for him. By the power of the Holy Spirit, I obeyed Christ’s command to forgive, because this is exactly what Jesus has done with my sin against him.
As a leader, this point will not be easy for you, as it hasn’t been for me either. You are eager to sit down with someone with whom you had direct contact, who sinned against you, and discuss it with them. However, this is something you simply have to lay down at the cross of Jesus.

Tell that to Paul Petry, eh?

Now there are other things that have not been discussed much that might be worth keeping in mind. 

Let's keep in mind that Turner's account earlier this year was the BoAA split on the question of whether to scapegoat him and him alone over the Result Source controversy

Turner described how, it seems, he was effectively blackmailed into a resignation with the threat of disclosing pre-conversion sins that were not apparently bad enough to preclude his being appointed an executive pastor to begin with but that were bad enough he opted to resign rather than have them made public.
Turner has also indicated he was going to explain the Mars Hill Global situation and give numbers but former (or current) attorneys associated with Mars Hill asked him not to, and Turner at one point indicated he was threatened with potential legal action from the unidentified attorneys

Turner may have been threatened by present or former MH attorneys of some sort but it's tough to be clear what the details are. 

Should the people to whom Turner reached out are able and willing to clear up in a comment for the record that Turner has contacted them and made some things right they are, of course, welcome to visit Wenatchee The Hatchet with a comment.  Turner is saying more and clearing things up more than others, to b esure, and compared to the other executives that's at leas tsomething, but the sheer scale of the vocational destruction that happened to people who got fired or laid off during the last six years of Mars Hill isn't a small matter. 

Monday, June 08, 2015

Sutton Turner, part 1 of discuxssing repentance, forgiveness and failures of leadership culture

If Turner's part 1 seems to broadly and vaguely concede he sinned in how he treated people and that he continued the kinds of problematic leadership culture that was already at Mars Hill, and if that seems (understandably) to be not quite good enough for some people, let's keep something in mind.

First, Turner's blogging for the public and while that can be construed for many reasons to be bad it could also potentially be good.


Because nobody's sold tickets to have a simulcast of Turner even vaguely talking about what he said and did wrong, for starters.  Turner may still be a jerk but if he converted in 2005 and became an executive elder by 2011 he was possibly even more a baby Christian when he got executive level powers in a non-profit corporation than Jamie Munson was when he made himself president via the 2007 by-laws (unless Driscoll really wrote those by-laws ... depending on which version of MH mediated history we're talking about). 

Alert readers of Wenatchee The Hatchet may recall Sutton Turner came by to make a few clarifying statements about what he wasn't connected to from earlier this year, which were appreciated. 

And the thing to keep in mind for those who contest the reliability of Turner's account is that if you do contest it's reliability then burden's on yyou, whoever you may be, to set the record straight.  Wenatcheee The Hatchet had stopped attending MH years before Turner was on the scene and is not going to pretend to know if there are things in Turner's account that WtH could offer much correction to.  What is fascinating is after months of sharing his side of things on his blog Sutton Turner's account seems to have inspired nary a word from former MH president Jamie Munson, even though Turner's account seems to strongly imply that by the time he joined the MH executive crew MH was on the brink of a fiscal cliff and characterized by a toxic leadership culture he's now beginning to publicly say he contributed to.

Well, compared to former executive leaders Driscoll, Munson, Bruskas and Thomas it would seem that Sutton Turner admitting to having said or done anything wrong at all is more than what we've seen or heard from the others.  Turner may be covering his back side in how he broaches things, perhaps, but even those who suspect might recall that Turner indicated he was threatened with litigation from people who were or are lawyers for MH.  Why the corporation or its representatives should wish for that is mysterious and Turner may be understandably reticient to explain further what he mentioned at Throcimorton's blog.  And compared to Driscoll's Thrive performance Turner's story has not much contradicted or significantly retroactively altered the story that has taken shape about him and around him.  You don't have to exactly trust or like Turner to see taht his account does not having the same awkward holes and flip-flops in it Driscoll's stories have had in the last six years. 

Friday, June 05, 2015

as somebody who's not actually a pastor or observably a member of any church submitted to anyone has tickets for sale ... some kernels of thought from the Didache on traveling teachers

Somebody who's still not a pastor isn't just scheduled to speak, there's somebody willing to sell tickets for a simulcast.

There's also an organization that people can give to ... but who's getting the money for this?  Wasn't the Apostle Paul's boast that when he preached the Gospel he preached it free of charge or something like that?  Let's hope Driscoll's not asking for money because there's this warning from the Didache about traveling self-labeled prophets ...
Chapter 11. Concerning Teachers, Apostles, and Prophets. Whosoever, therefore, comes and teaches you all these things that have been said before, receive him. But if the teacher himself turns and teaches another doctrine to the destruction of this, hear him not. But if he teaches so as to increase righteousness and the knowledge of the Lord, receive him as the Lord. But concerning the apostles and prophets, act according to the decree of the Gospel. Let every apostle who comes to you be received as the Lord. But he shall not remain more than one day; or two days, if there's a need. But if he remains three days, he is a false prophet. And when the apostle goes away, let him take nothing but bread until he lodges. If he asks for money, he is a false prophet. And every prophet who speaks in the Spirit you shall neither try nor judge; for every sin shall be forgiven, but this sin shall not be forgiven. But not every one who speaks in the Spirit is a prophet; but only if he holds the ways of the Lord. Therefore from their ways shall the false prophet and the prophet be known. And every prophet who orders a meal in the Spirit does not eat it, unless he is indeed a false prophet. And every prophet who teaches the truth, but does not do what he teaches, is a false prophet. And every prophet, proved true, working unto the mystery of the Church in the world, yet not teaching others to do what he himself does, shall not be judged among you, for with God he has his judgment; for so did also the ancient prophets. But whoever says in the Spirit, Give me money, or something else, you shall not listen to him. But if he tells you to give for others' sake who are in need, let no one judge him.

Chapter 12. Reception of Christians. But receive everyone who comes in the name of the Lord, and prove and know him afterward; for you shall have understanding right and left. If he who comes is a wayfarer, assist him as far as you are able; but he shall not remain with you more than two or three days, if need be. But if he wants to stay with you, and is an artisan, let him work and eat. But if he has no trade, according to your understanding, see to it that, as a Christian, he shall not live with you idle. But if he wills not to do, he is a Christ-monger. Watch that you keep away from such.

Chapter 13. Support of Prophets. But every true prophet who wants to live among you is worthy of his support. So also a true teacher is himself worthy, as the workman, of his support. Every first-fruit, therefore, of the products of wine-press and threshing-floor, of oxen and of sheep, you shall take and give to the prophets, for they are your high priests. But if you have no prophet, give it to the poor. If you make a batch of dough, take the first-fruit and give according to the commandment. So also when you open a jar of wine or of oil, take the first-fruit and give it to the prophets; and of money (silver) and clothing and every possession, take the first-fruit, as it may seem good to you, and give according to the commandment.

In light of Driscoll's recent stories of woe and symapthy6 for his children suggest that any forthcoming inclusion of former PR professional Grace Driscoll could at least potentially icnlude more of the same it might be worthwhile to revisit Mark Driscoll's twitter theology. After all, an apostle once wrote that we comfort one another with the comfort with which we ourselves have been comforted.  How about this?

Pastor Mark Driscoll
Verified account
25 Feb 2011
You deserve hell. Everything else is a gift
10:25 PM - 25 Feb 2011

Well then, comfort away?

Thursday, June 04, 2015


Obviously not a whole lot of posting has been going on.  Some things have been incubating.  There's also such a thing as haing a creative life that isn't tethered to a blog.  So there's been activity, just not necessarily of the blogging kind.

Not yet anyway.

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"
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

“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.

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).

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."
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.

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

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

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

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.

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 ...

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.
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.

Mark Driscoll,  Zondervan
copyright (c) 2006 by Mark Driscoll
ISBN-13: 978-0-310-27016-4
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.
Mark Yetman


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
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.

And The Stranger was covering the conflict the year it happened, see this article from November 22, 2007

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. 


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:
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

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.
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.”

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.

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.

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, 2014
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.
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:

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.